Upper School for Boys

Academics

Annie Wright Upper School for Boys prepares students extraordinarily well for college, offering small classes, independent-minded peers and an exceptional faculty. An International Baccalaureate World School, Annie Wright has offered the rigorous Diploma Programme, considered the gold standard in international education, for Grades 11-12 since 2009.

Our challenging curriculum appeals to motivated students with a variety of learning styles, with learning support experts to address individual needs. Most importantly, Annie Wright prepares boys for a lifetime of learning, instilling in our students genuine curiosity and the courage to ask questions, seek creative answers and meet the challenges of a rapidly-changing, complex and culturally-diverse world.

The Upper School for Boys is committed to helping each boy identify and define his particular passions within a context of service to someone or something beyond himself, turning learning into meaningful action. In Design courses in Grades 9 & 10, boys work on group projects (such as the building of a tiny house which, upon completion, becomes part of a village for the homeless) that foster creativity, collaboration and empathy. Out of the design experiences, Grades 11 & 12 students identify an individual project that will become a part of requirements for graduation and the IB Diploma.

Grade 9 Courses

List of 8 items.

  • Architecture & Design

    This unique course will offer opportunities to learn about the built world and its design. Students will investigate buildings from an array of perspectives: the architect, the engineer, the builder, the urban planner, the lawyer, the philosopher and even the burglar. Students will tour notable structures around the Puget Sound (and beyond), and meet with professional designers and planners to gain insights. Most exciting, the capstone project will challenge the first two entering classes to undertake the unique opportunity and important responsibility of shaping a vision for learning spaces in the new building that will house the Annie Wright Upper School for Boys. Winston Churchill once remarked, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Here is a chance to shape a future and a legacy.
  • Computer Science

    As a seventh course, students may opt after school to study computer science, first at the introductory level, then in a second year, in preparation for taking the Advanced Placement exam in computer science. This course is taught through a combination of direct and online instruction.
  • English

    In Honors English 1, students practice and refine academic and creative modes of expression, with particular focus on organization in critical and creative writing, public speaking and presentation, and close reading and analysis.  Students study and practice several genre of reading and writing including journalism, short stories, drama (Shakespeare), poetry, the novel and non-fiction with a thematic focus on storytelling and conflict. This course is designed to introduce boys to several of the skills and assessments they will practice during their two-year International Baccalaureate English course taken in eleventh and twelfth grades.
  • Languages

    Basic or advanced proficiency in a second language is a fundamental part of Annie Wright's college preparatory curriculum, particularly in the global context in which our students now live. Through language study, students will be well prepared to enter college second language courses at an advanced level. In all language classes, even eventually at the first-year level, classes are conducted entirely in the target language. All ESL, all classes at all levels are conducted 100% in English from the first day. Placement tests will determine course selection.

    Spanish

    Spanish I: This course is intended for beginners and covers all of the necessary introductory material, such as present and past tenses and essential vocabulary. Through dialogues, listening activities, grammar practice, and kinesthetic activities, students learn foundational listening, reading and writing skills. Authentic communication in the target language is emphasized from the very beginning, as is cultural learning.

    Spanish II: In this course, students learn new grammar concepts, specifically the past tenses, and broaden their vocabulary base to cover numerous aspects of everyday life. Within an immersive classroom setting, authentic multimedia activities and instruction touch on the essential skills of language learning (listening, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural competency), with special emphasis on receptive skills.

    English as a Second Language
    The English as a Second Language (ESL) program helps students improve their English skills to the level necessary to be academically and socially successful at Annie Wright. Students also learn more about their own and American cultures so that they become not only bilingual, but also bicultural in their abilities to communicate with others. 
    The ultimate goal of the ESL program is to prepare students for entry into an American university with little or no ESL support. 

    ESL II: This class provides non-native English speaking students with the English language skills they need to succeed in AWS classes. These skills include reading, writing, listening and speaking as well as grammar usage and vocabulary expansion. This class places particular emphasis on working with students to write clear and coherent paragraphs, basic multi-paragraph essays, journal entries, and letters. A special focus is placed on effective sentence structure, connectors, and transitions. Students develop the skills needed to be fast and accurate readers of English, particularly through extensive reading of novels. Students learn vocabulary and study the grammar of verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and nouns.

    ESL III: This course focuses on writing, reading, grammar and vocabulary. For writing, students engage in the research process and learn note-taking skills, research writing, and source citation. Students also learn persuasive techniques in oral debate and writing and develop voice and perspective through personal essay writing. Grammar studies include structures necessary to make connections between ideas for fluent and complex expression. In reading, students continue to refine their skills through a variety of authentic texts. Work on Greek and Latin roots comprises vocabulary study.
  • Math: Algebra I, Geometry or Algebra II

    Math instruction will be in a "flipped" classroom, in which lectures generally take place by video for homework and class time provides the opportunity to work through problems directly with the teacher, at a pace appropriate for each individual. A placement test will determine course selection for Algebra I, Geometry or Algebra II.

    Algebra I

    This begins with a pre-algebra review: adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing integers, fractions, and decimal numbers, simplifying expressions, and studying the properties of real numbers. Students then move into solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities, solving systems of equations, factoring, and solving quadratic, exponential, and rational equations. Students become proficient with all basic skills, with and without the use of calculator, and learn to apply mathematical concepts to real life situations.

    Geometry
    This course covers the topics of lines, angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, similarity, trigonometry, area and volume. There is an emphasis on deductive reasoning and formal proofs as well as coordinate geometry. Through the course, students also strengthen their algebra skills, including systems of equations, quadratics, radicals and polynomials.

    Algebra II
    The course includes a review and extension of Algebra 1 concepts, including linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic functions. The course also introduces the unit circle and the basics of trigonometry. For students in 9th grade, this course is often taken concurrently with Geometry.
  • Physical Education & Athletics

    The Upper School for Boys athletics program will address physical fitness, team play and good sportsmanship. Our faculty and coaches identify and support each boy’s individual aptitude and skills, whether he is an elite athlete or has never played a team sport. Opportunities both in and out of school will specifically address the athletic goals of each individual.
     
    The physical education program integrates exercise into the academic school day and offers a choice of strength & conditioning or fencing. Team sports will grow as the program expands. In the fall season, boys can participate on the cross country team or in the tennis program. In the winter season, we have a boys' basketball team. In the spring season, boys can run on the track & field team or play on the golf team. Additionally, Ultimate (Frisbee) will be offered as a year-long co-ed club sport starting in the fall and ending in late April. Commitments to varsity athletics are typically five days per week, while club sports and JV athletics require a 60% participate rate to maintain a roster position. The boys will compete in the Nisqually League with Vashon Island, Charles Wright, Cascade Christian, Seattle Christian and Bellevue Christian. More sports, for example soccer and flag football, will evolve with increased enrollment, and team sports not offered at Annie Wright will be accessible at local high schools.
  • Physics

    In this course, students develop math skills using physics, apply the scientific method in laboratory experiments, and practice critical thinking skills. Topics include linear and projectile motion, Newton's Laws of Motion, work and energy, simple machines, and waves (light and sound). Electricity and magnetism may also be covered.
  • Social Studies: Exploring World Issues

    This course focuses on world history and cultural geography with an emphasis on how the past has shaped contemporary global issues, particularly with an eye toward global conflict and war. Students will learn to examine cause and effect as they trace political, social, economic and cultural developments in several key regions around the world. They will be challenged to approach controversial issues and cross-cultural value systems objectively and will develop effective methodologies for the investigation of these value structures. Heavily project based, this course will also foster cogent and effective self-expression in both written and spoken formats.
     

Grade 10 Courses

List of 9 items.

  • Arts & Design

    Tenth grade arts and design builds upon concepts of the ninth grade arts and design course with an end goal for each boy to develop an individual action plan for creative service. Successful completion of a Creativity-Action-Service (CAS) Project is a graduation requirement, as well as a requirement for receiving an additional (optional) diploma from the International Baccalaureate Organization.
  • Chemistry

    In this lab-intensive course, students conduct experiments, practice problem-solving skills, and learn about the fundamental building blocks of matter. Topics include atomic theory, the Periodic Table, bonding, stoichiometry, Gas Laws, and acids and bases.
     
  • Computer Science

    As a seventh course, students may opt after school to study computer science, first at the introductory level, then in a second year, in preparation for taking the Advanced Placement exam in computer science. This course is taught through a combination of direct and online instruction.
  • English

    In Honors English 2, students continue to practice and refine their close reading and analytical skills as well as sharpen their writing and editing with analytical, creative and personal pieces. Public speaking, including poetry recitation, elevator pitches and debate, helps students become confident, cogent and compelling presenters. A range of genres, including novels, short stories, poetry, drama (Shakespeare) and non-fiction, focuses on the theme of identity. This course continues to prepare students for the two-year International Baccalaureate English course taken in eleventh and twelfth grades.
     
  • Languages

    Basic or advanced proficiency in a second language is a fundamental part of Annie Wright's college preparatory curriculum, particularly in the global context in which our students now live. Through language study, students will be well prepared to enter college second language courses at an advanced level. In all language classes, even eventually at the first-year level, classes are conducted entirely in the target language. All ESL, all classes at all levels are conducted 100% in English from the first day. Placement tests will determine course selection.

    Spanish

    Spanish I: This course is intended for beginners and covers all of the necessary introductory material, such as present and past tenses and essential vocabulary. Through dialogues, listening activities, grammar practice, and kinesthetic activities, students learn foundational listening, reading and writing skills. Authentic communication in the target language is emphasized from the very beginning, as is cultural learning.

    Spanish II: In this course, students learn new grammar concepts, specifically the past tenses, and broaden their vocabulary base to cover numerous aspects of everyday life. Within an immersive classroom setting, authentic multimedia activities and instruction touch on the essential skills of language learning (listening, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural competency), with special emphasis on receptive skills.

    IB Spanish (Standard Level): Spanish III: In this course, students further increase their grammar proficiency with the introduction of the subjunctive and imperative modes, while simultaneously expanding the breadth of their vocabulary usage around relevant thematic concepts. Within an immersive classroom setting, multimedia activities and instruction touch on the essential skills of language learning (listening, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural competency), with increasing emphasis on productive skills.

    English as a Second Language
    The English as a Second Language (ESL) program helps students improve their English skills to the level necessary to be academically and socially successful at Annie Wright. Students also learn more about their own and American cultures so that they become not only bilingual, but also bicultural in their abilities to communicate with others. The ultimate goal of the ESL program is to prepare students for entry into an American university with little or no ESL support. 

    ESL II: This class provides non-native English speaking students with the English language skills they need to succeed in AWS classes. These skills include reading, writing, listening and speaking as well as grammar usage and vocabulary expansion. This class places particular emphasis on working with students to write clear and coherent paragraphs, basic multi-paragraph essays, journal entries, and letters. A special focus is placed on effective sentence structure, connectors, and transitions. Students develop the skills needed to be fast and accurate readers of English, particularly through extensive reading of novels. Students learn vocabulary and study the grammar of verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and nouns.

    ESL III: This course focuses on writing, reading, grammar and vocabulary. For writing, students engage in the research process and learn note-taking skills, research writing, and source citation. Students also learn persuasive techniques in oral debate and writing and develop voice and perspective through personal essay writing. Grammar studies include structures necessary to make connections between ideas for fluent and complex expression. In reading, students continue to refine their skills through a variety of authentic texts. Work on Greek and Latin roots comprises vocabulary study.
  • Math: Geometry, Algebra II or Precalculus

    Geometry
    This course covers the topics of lines, angles, triangles, quadrilaterals, circles, similarity, trigonometry, area and volume. There is an emphasis on deductive reasoning and formal proofs as well as coordinate geometry. Through the course, students also strengthen their algebra skills, including systems of equations, quadratics, radicals and polynomials.

    Honors Algebra 2
    The course includes a review and extension of Algebra 1 concepts, including linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic functions. The course also introduces the unit circle and the basics of trigonometry. For students in 9th grade, this course is often taken concurrently with Geometry.

    Pre-Calculus for International Baccalaureate Higher Level Mathematics
    This course strengthens students’ understanding of the elementary function families: polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric. New topics introduced in include vectors, statistical analysis, probability, and calculus. Students also examine student-authored exploration problems in order to prepare for their own exploration paper in the subsequent HL course.
     
  • Physical Education & Athletics

    The Upper School for Boys athletics program will address physical fitness, team play and good sportsmanship. Our faculty and coaches identify and support each boy’s individual aptitude and skills, whether he is an elite athlete or has never played a team sport. Opportunities both in and out of school will specifically address the athletic goals of each individual.
     
    In Grade 10, the PE offering is strength & conditioning. In the fall season, boys can participate on the cross country team or in the tennis program. In the winter season, we have a boys' basketball team. In the spring season, boys can run on the track & field team or play on the golf team. Additionally, Ultimate (Frisbee) will be offered as a year-long co-ed club sport starting in the fall and ending in late April. Commitments to Varsity athletics are typically five days per week, while club sports and JV athletics require a 60% participate rate to maintain a roster position. The boys will compete in the Nisqually League with Vashon Island, Charles Wright, Cascade Christian, Seattle Christian and Bellevue Christian. More sports, for example soccer and flag football, will evolve with increased enrollment, and team sports not offered at Annie Wright will be accessible at local high schools.
  • Skills for Life

    Students engage in active and practical real-life activities during a four-part course throughout the academic year, gaining skills and knowledge in personal finance, digital literacy, cooking and nutrition and health and wellness.
  • US History & Civics

    This course combines historical and civic content with attendant skills such as critical inquiry and discourse to interpret and analyze how and why the United States came to be the country it is today. Students analyze primary and secondary sources and discuss contemporary and historical civic debates, relating them to foundational documents and historical precedents. Students gain a better understanding of key historical and political events of the United States from its founding to the current day. Themes explored include religion, colonialism, industrialism, republicanism and other government systems, economies, and international relations.

Grade 11 Courses

List of 10 items.

  • Computer Science

    As a seventh course, students may opt after school to study computer science, first at the introductory level, then in a second year, in preparation for taking the Advanced Placement exam in computer science. This course is taught through a combination of direct and online instruction.
  • Electives / International Baccalaureate “Sixths”

    Eleventh-grade students have the option of taking five or six courses, but those students planning to sit for the full IB Diploma in addition to their Annie Wright Schools diploma must take six academic courses.  The sixth course is an elective course. In 2019-20, we will be offering “sixths” that are on-line (Music Theory, Business) or direct instruction (economics). In addition, students can opt to take two sciences (IB Bio, IB Chemistry, Environmental Systems and Societies).
     
  • Environmental Systems and Society, Year One (IB, Standard Level)

    IB Environmental Systems and Societies (ES&S) is a two-year course integrating earth sciences and social studies. In the first year, students explore the foundations of ES&S including systems thinking, ecosystems & ecology, biodiversity & conservation and aquatic systems & food production.
  • Global Politics, Year One (IB, Higher Level)

    This two-year course is designed as an elective to satisfy the Group 3 requirement for the IB Diploma candidate. The focus of this course includes an exploration of fundamental political concepts such as power, equality, sustainability and peace/conflict in a range of contexts and through a variety of approaches. It allows students to develop an understanding of the local, national, international and global dimensions of political activity and provides them an opportunity to explore political issues affecting their own lives. The four core units include power, sovereignty and international relations, human rights, development, and peace and conflict.
  • IB / Advanced Chemistry

    This advanced chemistry course allows students to build on the skills they learned in tenth grade chemistry and go on to develop a wide range of practical skills and to increase facility in the use of mathematics. By studying chemistry students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the scientific method may take on a wide variety of forms, it is the emphasis on a practical approach through experimental work that characterizes the subject. Teachers provide students with opportunities to develop manipulative
    skills, design investigations, collect data, analyse results and evaluate
    and communicate their findings.
     
  • IB Biology, Year One (Higher Level)

    IB Biology is a two-year course. In the first year, it provides an excellent foundation of biological knowledge, covering the topics of cell biology, biological molecules, cellular processes, genetics, and evolution. Included is extensive laboratory work that aims to instill a true passion for biology.
     
  • IB Language and LIterature, Year One

    In this course, students will read and interpret texts across a range of genres. At the start of the year, students will review techniques for literary analysis. In later units, they will explore how these techniques can apply to traditional literary works as well as mass media texts (including film, advertisements, works of journalism, and Internet sources). Students analyze literary works and mass media texts in terms of both context and global significance, and they are evaluated on analytical writing, creative writing, and speaking and presentation skills.  Students have the opportunity to augment teacher selection of media texts with appropriate selections that they may know of or discover, thereby participating in the shaping of the course.
  • Mathematics

    In addition to algebra 1 and 2, geometry and pre-calculus, eleventh grade USB students have the option of furthering studies in mathematics through advanced International Baccalaureate courses in both theory and application, including work in calculus and advanced calculus.
  • Physical Education

    Two full credits in physical education are required for graduation. The Physical Education program strives to help boys understand the inherent value of "healthy living." Students can earn PE credit through designated courses, through participation in athletics (in or outside of school) or through a combination of these options.
     
  • World Languages

    The Upper School for Boys offers Spanish, years one through five, including an option for International Baccalaureate credit at levels four and five; Mandarin, years one through five, including the option for IB credit, and English as a Second Language.

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 co-ed 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.