Residential Life Overview

Students from around the state, country and world love to live and learn at Annie Wright Schools, where they develop deep friendships that last a lifetime. 

List of 4 items.

  • 132

  • 33

    5-Day Boarding Students
  • 8

    Full-Time Dorm Parents
  • 99

    7-Day Boarding Students
Welcome to Residential Life at Annie Wright Schools!

Boarding at Annie Wright is fun, safe and educational and a lot like living in a giant family. Our community makes up around half of the Upper School population, and our residential faculty – dorm parents – are dedicated to each student's well-being and academic success.

In addition to the convenience of living at school, where you have a short commute to class, easy access to your teachers, and a campus full of athletic facilities, life as a boarder provides unique social and educational benefits. Ask a boarder to identify their favorite thing about the dorm and they will probably say, “my friends.” Because they work, play and live with their peers around-the-clock, boarders form uniquely deep relationships that lead to lifelong friendships.
Many students will note the independence they gain as a boarder. In the safe and supportive environment of the dorm they quickly learn to manage their own lives, problem solve and advocate for themselves. This leads to advanced personal competence and confidence levels.  
Perhaps most importantly, boarders learn how to integrate with and navigate in a larger community of people different than themselves, often from around the world. They gain interpersonal skills, figure out how to manage challenging relationships, gain cultural competence and understanding, and learn how to be thoughtful, contributing members of a close-knit community. This all happens in a uniquely safe environment, where mistakes can be made but readily learned from, and growth is fast and substantive compared to the experience of non-boarding students. 

We invite you to read on to learn more about our program and, when you can, come visit!


Jeff Barber
Director of Residential Life

Annie Wright Schools are thrilled to announce that we have been recognized as the #1 Boarding School and #1 K-12 Private School in Washington State for 2024 by Niche! While we’ve always known that AWS is a wonderful place to learn and grow, we’re so proud of our students, faculty and staff for earning this national distinction. Check out the full suite of rankings and where we land here.
    • Jeff Barber, Director, Residential Life

Boarding at a Glance

List of 6 items.

  • Location

    Annie Wright Schools are nestled on a beautiful campus in the North End neighborhood of Tacoma, Washington, overlooking the Puget Sound. Shops and restaurants are a short walk away, and the city is near majestic national parks and Mt. Rainier. Tacoma is about 45 minutes south of Seattle and just 30 minutes from Sea-Tac airport.
  • Rooms & Facilities

    Dorm rooms are each unique, comfortable and spacious. Students enjoy shared kitchen facilities, media lounges and study spaces around the dorm. Its location right in our main building makes access to the dining hall, classrooms, library, gym and other campus amenities as easy as walking down the hall.
  • Dorm Parents

    There are eight residential faculty who supervise and care for the boarders. Dorm parents provide expert tutoring in a variety of subjects, transportation and other logistical services, cultural and recreational trips, leadership training, mentorship and constant support. Most importantly, dorm parents help create a culture of warmth, fun, security and belonging. 
  • Prefects

    Boarding prefects are selected in their senior year to work closely with resident staff to build a vibrant, inclusive and nurturing dorm community. Each prefect is responsible for leading a specific dorm group, by way of facilitating weekly check-ins, planning community-building activities, and being an active listener, role model and advocate for all resident students.
  • Weekends

    Residential life offers a wide variety of fun and engaging activities. Examples include:
    • ice skating, skiing and snowboarding
    • camping, hiking and rock climbing
    • museum and city tours
    • theater shows and sports events
    • sushi making, tie-dying and even a real trapeze class
    • spontaneous and planned game nights, movie nights, cookie baking, parties, shopping trips and more
    • "All-Dorm Fun” events, which have included a Halloween murder mystery, a spring carnival, roller-skating, an evening at a water park and a trip to the Washington State Fair.
  • Five-Day Boarding*

    In addition to its seven-day boarding program, Annie Wright offers a five-day boarding program to cater to students who live just outside practical, daily commuting range. These students go home after school Fridays and return Sunday evenings, but otherwise are full members of the boarding community and are even invited to stay on campus one weekend a month to take part in the various weekend activities.

    *Students requiring F-1 visas or green cards may only be accepted as 7-day boarders.  Exceptions may be approved only by the Head of Schools and will only be made for students who will spend weekends in an established residence where they are living with their natural born or adoptive parents. Weekend residences must be within reasonable commuting distance from the school.