Since 1884, Annie Wright Schools have served as a touchstone in the lives of thousands of students from around the world. Here, boys and girls aged three to Grade 12 reach their highest potential by engaging in rigorous academics and pursuing their interests at the only International Baccalaureate (IB) continuum school in the state of Washington.
Lower and Middle Schools offer co-educational programmes up until Grade 8, after which two Upper Schools for boys and girls offer single-gender academics alongside opportunities for shared co-ed activities, co-curricular programming and social interactions outside of the classroom. This unique coordinate model of education allows the teachers at Annie Wright to zone in on individual passions.
Possibilities are endless when it comes to the structure of the IB programme at Washington’s #1 Boarding school and #1 Private K-12 school. Learn how to speak Spanish in Grade 6. Cultivate your acting skills on stage with the Theatre subject in Grade 7. Hone your reading, writing, and speaking skills by taking up the Language and Literature course in Grade 8. Travel to London in your senior year. Push your boundaries and explore athleticism through sports like volleyball, soccer, cross country and basketball in the Upper Schools.
Annie Wright pupils design their own pathways on a campus voted the most beautiful private school in Washington by Architectural Digest. The curriculum — which encourages student inquiry, critical thinking, intellectual risk-taking, and global-mindedness — is what makes international students love this day and boarding school found within the beautiful North End neighbourhood of Tacoma. Live vicariously through an Annie Wright student’s eyes to get a sense of what the academy can offer:
When Ava Filiss started out at Annie Wright, she was the new kid on the block. She was scared that she would not fit in. “One of my biggest fears was that friend groups would already be tightly formed amongst students and that it would be hard for me to fit in,” she says.
Filiss buried this thought as soon as it proved to be untrue — it wasn’t long before she made friends. It helps that the school’s orientation activities were geared toward helping students connect with each other. This way, support networks are forged very quickly as they move on to Grade 9, where students are split into advisory groups for further bonding.
the Annie Wright graduate explained.
“We also were paired with Homestay partners, where a boarding student would be paired with a day student. On select nights throughout the school year, the boarding student would spend the night at the day student’s house, or the day student would spend the night in the dorms.
As part of the IB Diploma programme, Filiss joined classes like Theory of Knowledge, English Language and Literature, Spanish, Global Politics, Biology, Mathematics Analysis and Approaches, and Music Performance. Due to the well-rounded education she received at Annie Wright, she had the chance to dive deep in a subject that had always fascinated her. “The subject of my Extended Essay was Biology, where I compared and contrasted various immunotherapy treatments,” she says.
Filiss, who aspires to become a doctor, found a group of like-minded students who were interested in healthcare jobs. They worked together on several research projects and even arranged for a neuropathologist to visit Annie Wright.
Now, Filiss is in an accelerated medical school programme at Brown University. This was possible thanks to the supportive environment at Annie Wright:
“I knew that I was interested in medicine before I entered Annie Wright, but the school truly allowed me to explore this interest and gain a greater understanding of it. I began speaking with our Dean about developing a Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) Programme at the school when I was in Grade 9.”
“One of the great things about Annie Wright was the fact that I already knew and worked with many of my teachers before I began IB classes in Grade 11. This helped me find out what classes I was most excited to take as well as how to tackle the teacher’s instruction style once I was in the class,” Filiss says.
The IB coordinator at Annie Wright, according to Filiss, was especially helpful when it came to determining whether the student needed to go for a Standard Level (SL) subject or a Higher Level (HL) subject. This built Filiss’ confidence to make her own decisions. “She held multiple information sessions, as well as provided information via email and other formats, as to the requirements of each course and the differences in requirements between SL and HL,” she says.
Though Filiss was not part of the unique five-day or seven-day boarding programme during her time at Annie Wright, she was “envious of the girls who were.” In her teenage mind, it was the equivalent of having sleepover parties every school night. “The dormers usually take part in a lot of fun activities on the weekends, like going to Point Ruston (a local shopping/activities centre) or playing paintball,” she recalls. “It was a very close-knit community.”
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