Realize Tacoma is a no-cost, week-long residential program for Tacoma-area students entering Grades 11 and 12. It is a joint-venture between Tacoma Public Schools (TPS) and Annie Wright Schools (AWS) with two specific goals:
  • Help Tacoma’s youth deepen their understanding of Tacoma’s challenges.
  • Provide participants the opportunity to develop a network of like-minded peers who share in the desire to see Tacoma thrive.

Realize Tacoma Speaker Series

The Realize Tacoma 2023 cohort of students will host a series of discussions on October 25, January 24 and April 24. Drawing on their learning during the summer institute, the students will moderate panels of city leaders discussing Financial Instability & Housing in Tacoma.

Open to the public. See below to register.

Realize Tacoma Application

Students entering Grades 11 and 12 from any Tacoma Public School, Chief Leschi, or Annie Wright Schools are eligible to apply.

Students will need to provide 2 personal references:
  • One from a school administrator 
  • One from another adult who knows the student well
To apply, click the button below.

Additionally, please print the forms at the bottom of this page, sign and submit with the application.

2024 Program Specifics

List of 6 items.

  • Who Can Apply?

    We encourage students entering Grades 11 and 12 in the fall of 2024, who attend Tacoma Public Schools, Chief Leschi or Annie Wright Schools and who are:
    • Effective in engaging in positive relationships with peers; 
    • Excited to experience Tacoma on a deeper level; and
    • Eager to make an impact.
  • What are the Dates of the Program?

    This all-day residential program begins Sunday, July 14 and concludes Saturday, July 20, 2024. Students are expected to participate and be present for the entirety of the program.
  • How Many Total Participants Will There Be?

    30 students total. Approximately 20 from Tacoma Public Schools and Chief Leschi and 10 from Annie Wright Schools.
  • How Much Will This Cost Participants?

    No cost for participation. All costs will be borne by AWS and TPS.
  • Where Will The Program Take Place?

    Tacoma. Students will explore our city, spending time with local governance, visiting leaders of nonprofit and for-profit institutions, discussing financial instability with Tacoma residents. The Residential Program will occur on the AWS campus, in the North End of Tacoma.
  • What About Food And Transportation?

    Students will receive three meals per day for the duration of the program and all transportation during the week-long retreat will be provided by Annie Wright Schools.

The Program

Academic Program

The academic program (Monday through Friday) will generally take place between 9:00 am and 4:30 pm. 

During the academic program, students will spend time on- and off-campus. They will not only engage guided discussion with each other, but they will engage with local leaders, nonprofits organizations, and community members to gain a deeper understanding of the following issues:
  • Housing Instability & Homelessness
  • Food Insecurity
  • Mental Health
  • Access to Education
  • Addiction
  • Financial Instability

Residential Program

The Residential Program will take place between 4:30 pm and 9:00 am each evening.

The residential program will focus on helping students develop soft skills that allow them to develop stronger relationships with one another and to take greater advantage of the academic activities happening during the day. The residential faculty will develop these skills in conjunction with the academic faculty to ensure appropriate alignment.
  • The program begins with “check-in” between 6 pm - 6:30 pm on Sunday, July 9.  A welcome dinner for students, family members, and faculty will follow at 6:30 pm.
  • The program concludes at 10:00 am on Saturday, July 15.  Parents must pick-up their student no later than 10:15 am.

Realize Tacoma | Participant Expectations

Annie Wright Schools and Tacoma Public Schools are proud to offer Realize Tacoma to high school students in the city of Tacoma. To ensure all participants and staff have the desired experience, there are clear expectations that participants must follow. These are outlined below and should be read carefully.

List of 2 items.

  • Residential Life Expectations

    Living in residence is a key component of Realize Tacoma programming as it allows participants to build relationships that extend beyond the daily academic programming.  The residential staff support participants in this space and expect participants to be aware of and adhere to the following:
    Dorm Rooms
    Each participant has their own room, and each dorm room comes with a bed, desk, desk chair, dresser, and closet.

    Required Items for Dorm Rooms
    participants are asked to bring the following items for their personal use during the program.  All items should be indelibly marked with the owners’ names. Realize Tacoma is not responsible for the loss or damage of personal items.
    • Shower items – toiletries, shower caddy, shower shoes, and bathrobe
    • Bedding – pillow(s), blanket, or comforter and optional bedspread
    • Bath towels – two sets 
    Prohibited Items in the Dorms
    The following items are not allowed in the dormitory, and participants found in possession of any prohibited items may face expulsion from Realize Tacoma:
    • Animals (of any kind)
    • Weapons, simulated weapons, or potentially dangerous items of any kind, including knives, martial arts equipment, and fake guns.
    • Any heat producing or cooking devices, such as hot plates, hot pots, electric kettles, toasters, coffee makers, microwave ovens, space heaters, etc.
    • Any items that create flame, such as matches or lighters.
    • Any flammable materials, such as candles, lighter fluid, fireworks or incense.
    • Non-fusible power strips or extension cords
    • Halogen or incandescent bulb lamps
    • Televisions
    • Prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, or herbal supplements
    • Recreational drugs, alcohol, tobacco products, or associated paraphernalia
    • Posters, pictures, banners or other items that reference alcohol, drugs, tobacco, violence, hate speech, or other inappropriate themes.
    The residential faculty reserves the right to search student rooms at any time and to confiscate any prohibited items. Realize Tacoma assumes no liability for personal property, and participants should not bring expensive personal items to school or keep cash exceeding $20 in their rooms.

    Room and Dorm Cleanliness
    participants are expected to keep their rooms, the hall spaces outside their rooms, and dorm lounges presentable, clean, and clutter-free at all times.

    No visitors of any kind are allowed during the program.

    Security Doors, Fobs and Keys
    The AWS building and the residence halls are protected by electronically locked security doors. participants are provided with security fobs that give them access through these doors during pre-determined hours. Fobs are individually assigned, and their use is automatically recorded. To protect themselves and maintain security, participants should never lend their fobs to anyone.  participants are not allowed to prop open security doors under any circumstances. Doing so is a serious security risk. Participants are supplied with individual room keys and should lock their doors whenever they are out of their rooms. participants are expected to carry their keys and fobs with them at all times. participants are expected to report lost fobs and keys to the residential staff as soon as they realize these items are missing.

    Restrooms and Showers
    participants are expected to bring their own toiletries to and from the bathrooms as needed, to pick up trash, and to wipe down and rinse out sinks and showers when finished with them. This includes removing one’s own hair from the drain traps after each shower. participants are encouraged to wear shower shoes or slippers in the restrooms and showers to promote community hygiene.

    Laundry Facilities
    The dorm has free laundry machines for participant use. The laundry rooms are community resources, so participants should share the machines fairly and treat the facilities with respect. Realize Tacoma provides detergent pouches, baskets, irons, and folding and ironing tables. 

    Whenever there are maintenance problems with student rooms or shared spaces, participants report it to a dorm staff so the issues may be addressed as soon as possible. Any facility emergencies, like leaking, flooding or smoke, should be reported immediately and directly to the dorm staff.

    Campus Security
    Annie Wright Schools (AWS) security is responsible for student and campus safety and protection. AWS security has a staff of conscientious and helpful personnel who are on campus nights and weekends and who conduct late-night rounds. All AWS community members are expected to be respectful to security personnel and abide by their guidelines and requests.
  • Behavioral Expectations

    Realize Tacoma expects participants to conduct themselves in ways that are conducive to maintaining high moral standards and social achievement. All community members are expected to be punctual to all scheduled classes, meetings, activities, field trips, meals, and events. They are expected to be responsible, self-motivated and thorough in meeting their program obligations.
    Rules and regulations are deliberately kept to a minimum so that actions may spring from general principles of positive behavior. There are, however, certain areas in which we specify and outline certain expectations for behavior in and out of the daily programming. Realize Tacoma does not tolerate behavior that is disruptive, destructive, or illegal.

    Discrimination, Intimidation, and Harassment
    Realize Tacoma recognizes the need to promote a fair and productive environment free of discrimination, intimidation, or harassment. Disparagement of any kind, unwelcome sexual advances, physical intimidation or threats, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual or physically threatening nature constitute harassment. Harassment in any form is unacceptable behavior. Any student who believes that they are being harassed should immediately notify a Realize Tacoma staff member.

    Drug and Alcohol Use
    Drug use, including consumption of alcohol, is strictly prohibited.  Use or possession of these substances is contrary to the mission of Realize Tacoma and harms both participants and the community.

    Tobacco or Vapor Use
    Tobacco and vaping products are contrary to the mission of Realize Tacoma, and participants are prohibited from using them in any form.

    Inappropriate Language
    Community members are expected to use language appropriate to their circumstances and potential audiences. Foul, abusive or derogatory language is not in keeping with the program’s values and is not acceptable.

    Inappropriate Physical Contact
    Realize Tacoma participants are expected to refrain from any sexual contact or other inappropriate physical activity.

    Dress Code
    Participants are expected to dress appropriately, abiding by a commonsense interpretation of what constitutes appropriate dress for the activities being engaged. Dress standards in the dorm can be less formal, but residents should still present themselves in a way that is respectful to all they may encounter.

    Electronic Devices
    Participants are allowed to bring electronic devices (cell phones, tablets, laptop computers, etc.) but must ensure these items do not become distracting or impact the experience of other participants.

    Network Use
    Realize Tacoma participants will have access to the AWS network when on campus, and their activity on the school network can be monitored. Realize Tacoma reserves the right to limit access and bandwidth and to block inappropriate websites should participants use the network inappropriately.

    Absences & Leaving Campus
    Participants are expected to participate in the full week-long program and are not allowed to leave campus at any point in time.  If a student must leave during the day, the participant should share anticipated departure and return times with the Realize Tacoma staff at least seven days prior to the start of the program.