Strategic Plan Updates

Since the Board of Trustees passed the 2016-2021 Strategic Plan in December 2015, faculty and staff have worked purposefully toward achieving each of the seven main initiatives. Check back for updates over the duration of the plan.

List of 5 items.

  • May 2020 Update

    ANNIE WRIGHT SCHOOLS IN TACOMA, THE REGION AND THE WORLD
    With an eye toward the completion of the IB self-evaluation this year, faculty in all divisions explored the different ways in which AWS participates in the IB world community, and the ways in which our program has developed and continues to improve.

    Areas of focus included:
      • Approaches to Teaching and Learning and the place of global education in our curriculum
      • LS service as action programs as part of the Units of Inquiry, including our place in the world
      • MS Journeys and experience days as reflective of the importance of service, local and global understanding
      • Curriculum in the USB and the USG - including further exploration of service as action and ‘glocal’ understanding across the curriculum, community impact projects, Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) programs, and after-school (s)Elective programming.
    • Spanish faculty participated in cross-divisional professional development days to further develop their scope and sequence for students across the school, and to enhance their cohesive approach to foreign language acquisition
    • Several all-school initiatives to encourage cross-divisional partnerships and begin to expand impact across the community, began this year, though were unfortunately put on hold with the advent of COVID-19. These remain an important task for the Assistant Head of Schools.  
     
    EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING 
     
    Onboarding
    A thoughtful and consistent process for onboarding faculty and staff was piloted in 2018-2019 and rolled out more deliberately in the fall of 2019 with the introduction of Colleague Ambassadors and a more coherent orientation process for new faculty and staff which included quarterly meetings and monthly touch points. A standardized onboarding calendar continues to be developed and has begun to be implemented for 2020-2021 hires. The goal of this process remains to ensure the culture and expectations of the school are clear and compelling to new faculty and staff from the start.

    Professional Development
    Teachers continue to benefit from enriching professional development opportunities that also deliver on institutional imperatives. These annual opportunities include DEI trainings, IB trainings at all levels, and workshops, seminars and conferences across a whole host of topics and areas of focus. 

    With the shift to online education, teachers engaged in significant one-on-one, divisional and individual professional development around best practices regarding on-line teaching and tools. A weekly “PD corner” provides access to timely webinars and online conferences, technological resources and wellness resources for faculty and staff.
     
     
    DIVERSITY
    The AWS Senior Leadership Team, Board of Trustees, and faculty committees continue to champion DEI, a key initiative of our 2016-21 Strategic Plan, and the Strategic Plan for Diversity which was adopted in early 2019.
     
    • At the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, the DEI Curriculum & Practice group presented a school-wide provocation to all faculty and staff: What does inclusivity mean to us? Throughout the year, faculty have been exploring this question with colleagues and students, with the goal of recognizing and augmenting meaningful inclusivity in our community.
    • Professional development also continues to be a key component in furthering DEI work. 
      • Alison Park, a San Francisco-based expert inorganizational diversity initiatives, held workshops with the Board of Trustees in September and all faculty and staff in February. 
      • The school also sent 11 people to the National Association of Independent Schools People of Color Conference in Seattle last December. Alicia Mathurin, Annie Wright’s Director of Auxiliary Programs, served as the conference’s local Committee Chair.
    • In February, faculty and board members collaborated on an official diversity statement for Annie Wright Schools. It was ratified by the Board of Trustees on February 28, 2020 and can be found here
    • In February, Annie Wright Schools participated in the first annual Independent School Diversity Career Fair. We hope and anticipate to continue to participate in this and similar events to continue to increase our reach to potential teachers, staff and administrators of color. 
    • The school continues to strive to diversify the faculty and staff, and the Board of Trustees and the Senior Leadership Team have added more people of color, and continue their efforts to expand.  
    • The committee continues to work on moving our hiring initiative forward, as well as creating a robust DEI resource board to provide content and resources for effective community growth. 
    • Prior to the COVID-19 closure, our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee was working to elevate the group to a full task force by including students, board members and alumni, as well as creating several affinity groups for students and faculty and staff. These are still in the plans, though the process has been delayed due to the closure. We anticipate final communication on these initiatives to be available by the end of June. 
     
    EDUCATING OUR BOYS
    • The new Upper School for Boys building opened on August 28, 2019, the first day of the 2019-20 school year.
    • The school year began with 58 freshmen, sophomores and juniors in the Upper School for Boys, with the first class graduating in 2021.
    • As the school grows and develops its own sense of community within the walls of AWS, faculty and dorm parents continue to engage in professional development to address the intellectual, social, emotional and mental strengths, challenges and needs of boys. 
     
    ATHLETICS
    The curriculum in physical education classes has been geared toward the health and well-being of our students while also developing the physical tools needed to excel in sports, continuing to maximize the use of our new facilities. 

    The new gymnasium and pool, which opened in December 2019, has expanded our ability to provide multiple programming options for physical education, recess, school-wide assemblies, after school practices, workouts and community tournaments, as well as the opportunity to pursue swimming as life-long exercise and/or as a competitive sport option.

    As members of the 1A Nisqually League, the Upper School for Girls offers eight sports and the Upper School for Boys offers seven after-school competitive sports options. Each of the sports offered to Upper School students is also offered to younger students. 

    In recent years, Annie Wright basketball, golf, volleyball, and cross country teams have gone to state championship tournaments, with golf finishing in 2nd place in 2018 and 3rd place in 2019, and basketball placing in 4th in 2020 and in the top 8 in 2019. The goal is to create at least one sport per season that consistently competes at the state level.
     
    INSTITUTIONAL SUSTAINABILITY
    The school transitioned to a new investment manager in early 2020 with an eye toward continuing to grow and safeguard the endowment. Given the COVID-19 situation, we remain confident that the work done to build institutional sustainability through the last ten years has put AWS in a strong situation as we face the headwinds of an uncertain period in our history.
  • August 2019 Update

    ANNIE WRIGHT SCHOOLS IN TACOMA, THE REGION AND THE WORLD

    Middle School
    In Middle School, the Journeys program continues, through a deliberate progression, to challenge students in Grades 6-8 with studies of new climates, biomes, cultures and governments, culminating in a trip to Costa Rica in Grade 8. The Middle School also continues to develop and refine its service program. Community Engagement Days in the spring provide students a chance to engage in direct service experiences planned by faculty and students.

    Upper School for Girls
    The USG has developed strong programming to engage students in their community, broadly defined. These include two programs:

    s(Electives) and (a)Electives
    These are a vibrant after-school program in which students choose to invest time, build skills, and pursue experiences relating to the arts, civic engagement, and/or STEM related fields. Students enroll in a single (s)Elective or (a)Elective on a quarterly basis. The program asks advisors to work with students to identify subject-specific initiatives that encourage student interaction with Tacoma, the region and the world through two main lenses:

    • Ventures: local or global partnerships which facilitate meaningful impact between members and the world around them. Recent examples include partnerships with Tacoma Community House and working with Tacoma City Council to rename Columbus Day Indigenous People’s Day.
    • Adventures: Immersive, off campus experiences, designed to meet at least two of the following objectives: build context, develop a particular skill or practice area, engage international perspectives, extend impact beyond the local community. Recent examples include travel to Mexico, Vietnam & Cambodia, Boston, Washington DC and San Francisco.
    Class level Programming

    • Community Impact Projects help freshmen understand how to identify problems and design solutions through working with local community organizations. Students engage in these projects through advisories, with the dual goal of helping the local organization with an issue with which they may be struggling, and helping students practice design-thinking as a problem-solving tool. Sophomores repeat this process with a more individual focus: identifying problems and designing solutions for issues that are important to them whether in school, locally or more globally.
    • Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) is a component of the IB Diploma Programme for juniors and seniors. The service component encourages students to continue engaging the work they identify during their sophomore year and make authentic choices regarding community engagement.

    Upper School for Boys
    The USB’s signature Tiny House project, part of the Architecture & Design course, introduces students to the design-build process while helping them engage in the community and turn their learning into meaningful action. The boys began by studying the factors that lead to homelessness and elements of the homeless experience, including visiting Nickelsville Georgetown Tiny House Village in Seattle. Incorporating this research, as well as a study of built tiny homes, exercises in empathy, the relationship between emotions and architecture, and conversations with professional architects the boys designed and built tiny homes which were then delivered to Nickelsville for use by their residents.

    Baishan AWS
    Head of Schools Christian Sullivan hired Robert Hinman, an experienced international school administrator with start-up experience, as director of the Annie Wright’s program at Baishan School in Qingdao, China, last spring. The school opened in late August, with Chair of the Board Michele Cannon Bessler and Director of Business Development Rex Bates in attendance.

    Additional Opportunities
    Opportunities to partner with local organizations, particularly with an emphasis on service, continue to expand. Partnering across divisions and with the different division-level initiatives will remain an important task for the new Assistant Head of Schools.  
     

    EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING 
     
    Faculty Compensation
    The school continues to recognize that faculty is its most important resource. Faculty compensation is an ongoing issue, and the school continues to focus on this topic as it works to recruit and retain excellent teachers.

    Onboarding
    A thoughtful and consistent process for onboarding faculty and staff was piloted in 2018-19 and rolled out more deliberately in the fall of 2019 with the introduction of Colleague Ambassadors and a more coherent orientation process for new faculty and staff. Further work is planned, including creating a standardized welcome process to send to faculty at the time of hire - especially when those hires are often done a full six or more months before arrival on campus. The goal of this process remains to ensure the culture and expectations of the school are clear and compelling to new faculty and staff from the start.

    Professional Development
    Teachers continue to benefit from enriching professional development opportunities that also deliver on institutional imperatives. These annual opportunities include IB trainings at all levels, gender-specific teaching workshops, a variety of subject-specific and topical trainings, workshops, seminars and conferences. In addition, divisions have begun to create intentional cohorts to more effectively access professional development opportunities beyond external trainings/conferences. These include reading groups, school visits, and peer and director class observations. Teachers in the observation cohorts will also receive specific and direct verbal and written feedback from their directors culminating in an official performance review.

    NWAIS Fall Educators Conference
    Annie Wright Schools will host the NWAIS Fall Educators Conference in October 2019.  This opportunity not only brings the most important regional educational conference to campus, allowing the school to showcase its facilities, including the new academic building, but also it allows AWS faculty discounted access to the conference and significant professional development opportunities. Eight faculty and staff will lead or co-lead presentations during the conference, and several others will lead affinity sessions.
     
    SIGNATURE PROGRAMS
    After piloting the two initial signature programs, tennis and Girls’ Business & Entrepreneurship, the school has found that the (s)Elective and (a)Elective offerings in the Upper Schools have organically evolved into a compelling signature program, offering a wider breadth of options but still with intensity, rigor and extraordinary opportunities. The tennis program throughout the school continues to be very strong, with a dedicated director, extensive use of the USTA Galbraith Tennis Center, and students who are nationally ranked players and go on to play college tennis at all levels. Girls interested in business may still focus on this area through IB business courses and/or the business (s)Elective. The communications department continues to work with the Upper Schools to market all of these programs.
     
    DIVERSITY
    During 2018-2019 several strands moved diversity initiatives forward at AWS:

    • The Board adopted the 5-year Strategic Plan for Diversity, incorporating Board-specific goals around recruitment and training, including specific training on difficult conversations. At the behest of the Board, the school has contracted with diversity trainer Alison Park to provide a day-long training for the Board in early September and a separate training for all faculty and staff in mid-February.
    • The school year began with training on facilitation and encouraging difficult conversations by Meg Bolger, a social justice and inclusion trainer and facilitator.
    • The Diversity, Inclusion, Multiculturalism and Equity (a Curriculum and Practice group) began to work specifically on three strands within the strategic plan for diversity. Specifically: engaging all employees in professional development in diversity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism each year; identifying and/or developing a tool for teachers to use for curriculum analysis through the lens of diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education; and prioritizing recruitment and hiring of faculty & staff that reflect the diversity of the student body.
      • Through the work on these initiatives, the DIME committee identified obstacles and opportunities for progress. To move the community forward, the committee proposed a school-wide infusion for the 19-20 school year on the topic of inclusivity as a catalyst for the strong community we espouse in our mission statement. Together with a DEI resource board, the committee hopes to address the first two initiatives, above. 
      • The committee will continue working with the school to move the hiring initiative forward, and will continue to pursue further work on the rest of the strategic plan.
      • In August this committee led a DEI workshop focusing on inclusivity and the year-long provocation “What does inclusivity look like at AWS?” in all-school faculty/staff meeting.
     
    EDUCATING OUR BOYS
    The Upper School for Boys enrolled its second cohort of students, continuing to use dedicated space on the main campus and rented space in the former Children’s Museum downtown.

    Construction began in June 2018 for the new building, which opened on August 28, 2019, the first day of the 2019-20 school year. The 2019-20 school year began with 58 freshmen, sophomores and juniors in the Upper School for Boys, with the first class graduating in 2021.

    Faculty and dorm parents continue to engage in professional development to address the intellectual, social, emotional and mental strengths, challenges and needs of boys. 
     
    ATHLETICS
    While we are not focusing on “signature sports” at Annie Wright Schools, there are certain sports including volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, tennis and basketball that maximize the use of our growing facilities and interest level of our student body. The curriculum in physical education classes has been geared toward the health and well-being of our students while also developing the physical tools needed to excel in the sports mentioned above. We will continue to offer golf, track and fencing to our students but need to be creative with the ways in which use neighboring facilities.

    The addition of a second gymnasium and a pool will further our current programming options for physical education, recess, school-wide assemblies, after school practices, workouts and community tournaments. The new pool will give all AWS students the opportunity to pursue swimming as life-long exercise and/or as a competitive sport option. During the two years the athletics department will build and grow a comprehensive swim program for all students in an effort to elevate this sport to the level of the previously mentioned sports. Additionally, the new tennis facility has opened a multitude of offerings for students from Grades 1-12.

    As new members to the Nisqually League, the Upper School for Boys already offers seven after-school competitive sports options. Each of the sports offered to the USB students is also offered to younger boys.

    In the past three years, Annie Wright basketball, golf, volleyball, and cross country teams have gone to state championship tournaments, with golf finishing in 2nd place in 2018 and 3rd place in 2019. The goal is to create at least one sport per season that consistently competes at the state level.
     
    INSTITUTIONAL SUSTAINABILITY

    Baishan-AWS
    AWS signed an agreement with the Baishan Educational Group in Qingdao, China, to provide an immersion English high school experience for a group of Chinese and other international students living in Qingdao. A new division director with international school start-up experience, Bob Hinman, was hired to recruit students and faculty and run the school, called Baishan-AWS. The program opened in August 2019, growing eventually, in a fully developed program, to an anticipated enrollment of 160 – 180 students. Opportunities for other international programs continue to be explored.

    Residential Camps & School Store
    Derek Zhao, the Executive Assistant to the Head of Schools, segued into a new role to promote alternative revenue streams. These include residential course and camps for Chinese students during the summer (started summer 2019) and a new approach to Gator Alley, the school store, with enhanced online merchandise.

    Upper School for Boys
    The development of the new Upper School for Boys division and the opening of the new building offer new and enhanced opportunities for recruitment and retention of great students and families.

    Ongoing Efforts
    The head of schools committed to active and ongoing efforts for institutional sustainability, no matter the apparent state of school finances.
  • May 2018 Update

    ANNIE WRIGHT SCHOOLS IN TACOMA, THE REGION AND THE WORLD
    • With the authorization of MYP in the Middle School, AWS is now the only International Baccalaureate Continuum School in the state of Washington and one of fewer than 20 IB Continuum Schools in the United States.
    • Opportunities to partner with local institutions and organizations, particularly with an emphasis on service, continue to expand. Increasing local service partnerships will be an important task for the new Director of Academic Affairs.
    • Exchange opportunities continue to expand, with a new connection made with a school in Argentina, in addition to existing Upper School exchanges for girls in Spain, France and New Zealand. We anticipate our first Upper School for Boys student to participate in the Madrid exchange in the 2018-19 academic year.
    • Spanish teachers from all divisions have been trained in the AIM (Accelerated Integrated Method), providing a consistent approach to teaching language and enhancing oral proficiency. AIM incorporates scaffolding techniques which use story-telling, gestures, active collaboration and repetition of high-frequency vocabulary. More language teachers, including those in Mandarin and French, will be trained beginning in the summer of 2018.
     
    EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING
    • Teachers continue to benefit from a robust professional development program that honors teacher choice while also delivering on institutional imperatives. In 2017-18, teachers participated in AIM training (see above), IB trainings at all levels, and a variety of subject-specific and topical trainings, workshops, seminars and conferences.
    • While each academic division of the school continues to refine evaluative instruments, a Curriculum and Practice (CaP) Topic Group formed to create a school-wide self-assessment vehicle, one that could be used consistently by all employees. This instrument will be put into use during the 2018-19 academic year.
     
    SIGNATURE PROGRAMS
    • The Girls’ Business & Entrepreneurship Program, the single current signature program, continues to evolve. Beyond hiring a director for this program and funding for travel, however, the school has not focused on the program as an urgent area of growth. Further resources might enable growth and refinement of signature programs. There may be a need, as well, for discussion with the Board regarding value, expectations and rationale. (No specific student has enrolled at Annie Wright, to our knowledge, because of the Girls’ Business & Entrepreneurship Program, for example.) The Upper School for Girls, therefore, has not moved forward with additional signature programs. 
     
    DIVERSITY
    Following last year’s review of the NAIS AIM (Access, Inclusivity, Multiculturalism) survey and the creation of a draft five-year plan for diversity, the committee for Diversity, Inclusion, Multiculturalism and Equity (a Curriculum and Practice group):
    • Set the stage by inviting national speaker Rosetta Lee to open the all-school faculty meetings last August with a presentation about diversity.
    • Reached out to several other private schools (local and national) and diversity experts to gather best practices and lessons learned.
    • Planned to move forward by defining annual strategic initiatives, starting at the end of this year, and incorporating scaffolded and structured discussions about diversity into regular faculty meetings.
     
    EDUCATING OUR BOYS
    • The Upper School for Boys officially opened in August 2017 with its first class of 9th grade students, housed on campus and in a specially designed classroom space in downtown Tacoma. This group of boys will be joined as tenth graders by a new 9th grade cohort in August 2018.
    • AWS completed the permitting process for construction of a new academic building to house the Upper School for Boys. Construction will begin in June 2018 with plans to open it for the 2019-20 school year.
     
    ATHLETICS
    • The Director of Athletics believes “signature sports” should not exist and plans to develop well-rounded student-athletes who can contribute to all seasons of sports. With that, MS and LS athletics programs have been created to mirror the USG and USB offerings in an attempt to create a continuum of offerings and opportunities from K – 12th grade. Additionally, the LS PE curriculum has evolved to highlight the skills necessary to excel at specific sports prior to the start of that sport season so that the students are more proficient with the sport at the start of practices.
    • James Memorial Field has already allowed for our field-based sports to flourish while also showcasing AWS’s beauty to the outside community. The new field has allowed for a girls’ lacrosse program to grow into a huge spring sport that has seen 84 girls from 1st – 8th grades turn out for the 5 different AWS teams in its inaugural season. Additionally, the new field has enhanced the PE curricula. The second gymnasium will allow for more developmental opportunities for our younger teams who are currently only able to practice 1-2 times per week due to space restrictions. The second gym and pool will also be used to host tournaments and summer camps that can prove to be revenue generating endeavors for the school.
    • Based on our facilities, the best sports to develop talent within are soccer, volleyball, basketball and lacrosse. We will continue to offer programming and opportunities for these sports from K – 12th grades in competitive and non-competitive environments. We can offer great opportunities for our golfers, tennis players and runners as well, but need to be creative with how we take advantage of neighboring facilities.
     
     
    INSTITUTIONAL SUSTAINABILITY
    • Since the advent of the Strategic Plan we have looked at several overseas schools with an eye toward developing a relationship which would be advantageous to our students, would spread the Annie Wright brand abroad and provide a financial benefit to the school.  We are currently working with the Baishan Educational Group in Qingdao, China, a school with which  Annie Wright has enjoyed a relationship since 1996.  Currently we are looking at providing an immersion English high school experience for a group of Chinese and other international students living in Qingdao.  In a fully developed program, we anticipate an enrollment of 160 – 180 students.  Students successfully completing the course of study would receive a Basihan-Annie Wright Schools diploma, and those intending to further their education overseas would receive college placement assistance from us.
  • May 2017 Update

    Annie Wright Schools in Tacoma, the region and the world
    • The authorization visit for the IB Middle Years Programme took place last month, and we are on target to become an IB Continuum School, accredited to offer all three academic IB programs, by summer 2017.
    • Opportunities for national and international travel have expanded in 2016-17. In addition to Upper School exchange opportunities in Spain and New Zealand, we added an exchange program in France. Additionally, the Upper School activities program sponsored trips to such places as Los Angeles, Washington DC, Santa Fe and Cuba this spring.
    • Working toward student proficiency in an acquired language, Spanish language teachers of preschoolers to high schoolers met twice monthly as a group, visited Spanish classes throughout the local region, and will attend a workshop to train them as a unit in Accelerated Integrated Methodology for language instruction.
    • A faculty topic group is finalizing a definition of Global Education at AWS that crosses all divisions and departments and creating a planning/reflection tool to help teachers build appropriate global curricula.

    Excellence in Teaching
    We have made strides in the support system we have in place for new teachers as a focus for this strand in 2016-17. As a pilot program, we welcomed new teachers in August with clearly assigned mentor faculty members and handwritten notes which thanked them for helping make Annie Wright the special school it is. We continued with bi-monthly meetings focused on three key elements of new teachers’ school lives: clarifying upcoming events and expectations, eliciting feedback about support systems currently in place, and offering a place where teachers could find constant moral support.

    Regarding the strategic goal of becoming a center for teacher training, we are currently the South Sound home to the spring “unconference” called EdCamp for the second year in a row. This event pulls together teachers from throughout western Washington and Oregon to discuss issues and topics identified by the teachers who attend on the particular day—an active example of teachers teaching teachers.

    Annie Wright’s Curriculum and Practice Committee (CaP), in its third year, comprises nine teacher leaders facilitated by Middle School teacher Kyle Price and Asst. Head Susan Bauska. Each spring, they identify issues out of the strategic plan or curricular topics requiring deep study; these teacher leaders form committees of other teachers to make demonstrable progress toward a goal approved by the facilitators and the full committee. Kyle and Susan presented this model of teacher-leadership at this year’s NWAIS fall conference to a full house of colleagues from other schools.

    For the 2017-18 school year, the Curriculum and Practice Committee will be charged with creating a manageable, consistent faculty and staff evaluative, with recommendations to administration by spring, 2018. Compensation also remains an ongoing focus.


    Signature Programs
    There are four girls currently committed to the Upper School Business and Entrepreneurship Signature Program under the direction of Sandra Bush and Joe Romano. While four girls represent a smaller interest percentage than hoped for, the two faculty leaders are recruiting from current Grades 9 & 10 students, as well as from new students who attended Scholar Search Weekend. The program is in process of development/prototype phase.


    Diversity
    Last year a Curriculum and Practice (CaP) Topic Group led by Jamie Parrott was formed to explore global mindedness and diversity. Over the course of the year, the group researched relevant instruments and identified the Assessment for Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM), a multi-layered tool developed by the National Association of Independent Schools to help schools understand the climate of inclusion and to provide benchmarks for progress in this important area of independent school life.

    In May 2016, with the support of the Senior Leadership Team, the Topic Group implemented the climate survey portion of the AIM instrument and invited participation from students in Grades 4-12, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, alumnae and parents. This year the topic group interpreted the data collected through the AIM Survey, communicated initial results and invited dialogue from Faculty, Staff, and Administrators. 

    The diversity committee spent much of this year analyzing results and predicating the beginnings of the 5-year plan for diversity. Initial recommendations include:
    • Professional Development: Annie Wright will provide training in diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education for faculty, staff, and administrators. This will begin officially in the opening faculty / staff meeting of 2017-18 with a keynote speaker on the topic of inclusivity and diversity and continue throughout 17-18 with visits by designated individuals to peer institutions farther along in diversity initiatives for ideas, networking, and support.
    • Formalized opportunities for collegial dialogue, internal community building, and reflection on issues related to diversity, inclusivity, and multicultural education.
    • Identification of local agencies and institutions in Tacoma to partner with around diversity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism initiatives and with teaching training programs that recruit and support underrepresented groups.
    In addition, the hiring process for the 2017-18 academic year includes interviewing and, when possible, hiring quality candidates of currently under-represented populations within the teaching faculty.
     
     
    Educating our Boys
    Thirteen boys are contracted (five from our Middle School) for the new Upper School for Boys opening in the fall, with more in the admissions pipeline. We are meeting with architects, engineers and the city regarding the new academic building to open in 2019. In the meantime, the school has leased a downtown space, the site of the former Children's Museum, for classes two and one-half days each week.

    All academic subjects teachers have now been contracted, including Jeremy Stubbs and Dianne Mattaei. Mr. Stubbs, current Upper School teacher of math and physics and dorm parent, has been hired to be the Dean of Students and will teach math, physics and robotics to the boys, as well as continue his dorm work. Former Upper School Learning Support specialist Mrs. Matthaei will provide learning support with some teaching responsibilities.

    The uniform, including a shirt and tie in class color, has been solidified. The schedule is in the process of fine tuning.


    Athletics
    The Director of Athletics, now part of the Senior Leadership Team is focusing on volleyball and tennis as signature sports. A tennis director and a volleyball director have been hired to oversee their programs in every division. The directors are charged with developing skills in the youth players, forming Middel School teams that will resemble Upper School teams (terminology, philosophy, etc), and challenging Upper School teams with appropriate competition and tournament opportunities. Similar roles are being examined in other sports such as soccer, basketball, and track & field/cross country.

    With the completion of James Memorial Field and a second gymnasium becoming a reality, the PE faculty will place more emphasis on development of an enriched Lower School athletics program that mirrors sport offerings in the Middle School and Upper School. The field, in addition to allowing AWS to host Upper School and Middle School soccer games, will give the Lower School space to form soccer, cross country, ultimate, and track & field teams. It will also provide a safe place for play during recesses and summer camps. A new gym will equally benefit all 3 divisions, also allowing for “play” but also for AWS to host tournaments and better display our facilities to the local community through sport competitions.
     
    A new fencing program will launch this fall with the opening of the new Upper School for Boys. In the winter, we will evaluate the possibilities of offering fencing to boys and girls in a more competitive after-school sport option.


    Institutional Sustainability
    The school has implemented:
    • an institutional sustainability model (with Jennifer Haley as Director of Advancement)
    • a campus master plan
    • a part-time position to leverage opportunities in revenue, curriculum and strategic plan advancement for the 2016-17 school year. We will not staff this position for 2017-18 but will continue to seek non-tuition sources of sustainable revenue.
    • a multi-year plan for philanthropy to create a culture of philanthropy and a concrete five-year development plan (in process)
    In addition, the From Strength to Strength campaign, a significant milestone for the school, is near completion.
  • May 2016 Update

    Annie Wright Schools in Tacoma, the Region and the World
    Annie Wright Middle School continues the process of implementing the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. An IB World School since 2009, Annie Wright is already authorized in the Primary Years Programme in Lower School and Diploma Programme in Upper School. When the Middle School receives full authorization for the MYP, Annie Wright will be one of the few IB continuum schools in the United States.

    Excellence in Teaching
    Annie Wright holds conferences and workshops for area teachers, establishing our faculty as leading experts in their fields. In May the school hosted EdCamp, an “unconference” where teachers from a range of schools and colleges present, discuss, collaborate and share their knowledge and experience on a range of topics decided that very day. Topics ranged from Mindfulness in the Classroom to Virtual Reality.

    Signature Programs
    The Upper School is establishing the parameters, programming and staffing for two signature programs, Girls’ Business & Entrepreneurship and Tennis, starting in the fall of 2016.

    Diversity
    The diversity committee enlisted the help of the National Association of Independent Schools to administer a comprehensive survey, the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism, to our community. These results along with in-depth conversations and consultation with experts will help guide Annie Wright to improve diversity and inclusivity.

    Educating our Boys
    Faculty and administrators are engaging in professional development to learn how boys and girls learn differently and how they can best meet students’ specific needs. This knowledge already informs teaching practice in the coed Lower and Middle Schools. Conversations about establishing a parallel Upper School program for boys have become a strategic priority.

    Athletics
    The administration is elevating the new Director of Athletics to the senior leadership team and empowering him to make major improvements in the physical education and athletics programs, hiring elite volleyball and tennis coaches, establishing teams for Lower School students and acquiring a range of new equipment through the 2016 Gator Gala Fund-A-Need. New facilities, already in the works, will also provide ample spaces for year-round sports and play.

    Institutional Sustainability
    Faculty and staff are developing and exploring alternative revenue streams, a campus master plan and a culture of philanthropy at Annie Wright. The Board of Trustees and administration

Contact

Annie Wright Schools
827 North Tacoma Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403
253.272.2216

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Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower  and Middle Schools offer coed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for girls  and boys offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School.