The Rumor is True: Annie Wright to Launch Upper School for Boys


The rumor is true: Annie Wright Upper School for Boys is going to launch for the 2017-18 school year. The current upper school will now be known as Annie Wright Upper School for Girls.

The boys’ school will start in this building, but a couple of days a week they will have classes in an off-campus location in downtown Tacoma. Within the next two years, they will be in a separate two-story-building that will be on the lawn between the Great Hall and the road.

The school is starting with just 9th grade, and each year, a new grade will be added. Next year, the school will have between ten and eighteen 9th grade boys. When it is full, it will grow to a maximum of 160 boys. Over time, Annie Wright Upper Schools for Girls will shrink to be 160 girls as well.

“We have done an amazing job with our girls, and for years and years the families of boys have asked to have a similar experience for their boys,” said Head of Schools Christian Sullivan. At the same time, he emphasized that we are maintaining an all-girls environment. “A girl that wants to come to our school and have a single gender experience will still be able to have it,” he said.

Mrs. Bauska, formerly the Director of the Upper School (for Girls) and currently Assistant Head of the whole school, is going to be the Director of the Upper School for Boys. New teachers are going to be hired, some current teachers may transfer to the boys’ school, and there may be one or two who teach in both divisions. “We have to be fair, so we are going to advertise. If there are any current teachers who are interested, we have to consider them, but we are not going to just poach them,” said Mr. Sullivan.

Academic classes and sports are going to be separate. Some activities, including most arts, are going to be combined. “We think there are going to be some opportunities for girls that they wouldn’t have previously had; for example, a new class is going to be woodshop, which is going to be available to boys and girls,” said Mr. Sullivan. Many traditions, including tie colors, will be extended to the boys.

The boys will have separate P.E., and they will have the choice of either strength and conditioning or fencing. The team sports will start as basketball and ultimate, and golf will be offered for individuals. As enrollment increases, they will offer more sports based on interest, such as soccer and flag football. If any boys are interested in playing a team sport not offered at Annie Wright, they can play at their local public high school (as the girls can).

Some programs and classes will only be offered in one division. The tennis and business programs are still only for girls. The course “Architecture, Design, and Government: A Case Study” will be offered only to boys, who will have the opportunity to help design their new building, learning everything from architecture to security to zoning to design.

The boys who board are going to live in their own separate hall (the art hallway) in our current dorm. As it grows, the plan is to renovate the 4th floor. Boys and girls will eat meals together.

Mr. Sullivan said that starting the Upper School for Boys this fall was the unanimous decision of the Board of Trustees. “It is the right thing for the school, the right thing for our families, and the right thing for Tacoma,” he said.



The following rumors have been circulating in the Upper School. We offer the real story.

Rumor: It won’t open for years to come, maybe by 2020.
False: The Upper School for Boys is going to open for the 2017-2018 school year.

Rumor: The school is planning to buy the Weyerhaeuser mansion to house the boys’ school.
Partly True: The school looked into buying the Weyerhaeuser house, but it wasn’t ideal and needed too much work to make it right for Annie Wright.

Rumor: There will be a new building next to our current one.
True: The boys will help design a new building next to the Great Hall.

Rumor: Only archery and fencing, and no team sports will be offered.
False: The school will offer team sports for boys as well as other sports; see article above for further details.

Rumor: Morning meeting will be together but classes will be separate.
Partly True: As far as we know morning meeting will not be together.

Rumor: There is no way we will see them throughout the day; they will be a totally separate entity.
False: We will see the boys during common times such as lunch and arts activities if we choose those.

Rumor: Boys will be living in the art hallway section of the dorms.
True: The boys will be living in the art hallway and will be completely separate from the girls. Boy and girl boarders will have different fobs that get them into their own wings of the dorms.