New Family Guide

//New Family Guide
New Family Guide 2020-08-25T11:07:08-07:00

Welcome to the CWA community!

This summer, please refer to this webpage as your resource for important information and calendar items before the start of school. In July, we will offer new information including the start of school forms that need to be completed before August 5th. At that time, you will also have access to our school information system, Veracross. We will remind you to check back! Additionally, weekly newsletters will begin arriving in your inbox in late August that will provide the most up-t0-date information about the start of school and offer a wealth of information.

School begins Wednesday, September 2, 2020. As of August 18, 2020, Grades kindergarten through 12 will begin the school year in remote learning mode, as directed by the Tacoma-Pierce County Department of Health (TPCHD). Preschool and junior kindergarten will begin the year on campus, as these grades are licensed separately by the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) and can operate by child care rules and requirements.

New and Returning Family Orientation
We will offer orientation sessions for families from each academic division. More information, including Zoom links, will be available in the weekly newsletters. Please mark your calendars for the session(s) below that applies to your family.

  • Lower School New Family Orientation: Monday, August 24 from 7:15-8 p.m.
  • Lower School Orientation (for all families): Wednesday, August 26 from 7:15-8 p.m.
  • Middle School Orientation (for all families): Monday, August 24 from 6:15-7 p.m.
  • Upper School Orientation (all families and students): Tuesday, August 25 from 7-8 p.m.

Supplies and Technology Pick Up
Your family will be invited to come to campus on August 31 or September 1 to pick up your student’s device (iPad, Chromebook, or laptop) as well as any supplies they may need. Stay tuned for more information coming soon! New 11th graders, please fill out this survey regarding your technology needs.

* We recognize that some of the information below is only relevant for in-person learning. 

Pick Up Your CWA Sweatshirt!

Stop by the Admissions office and pick up your free CWA sweatshirt. Call 253-620-8373 or email for more info.

Lower School
8:15 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.

  • Morning Drop-Off: You may either park in the lot in front of the Lower School and walk your child into the building or pull up to the lane in front of the building for drop-off. Please note: this is a loading and unloading zone only.
  • After School Pick-Up (“Carpool”): Teachers will walk your student out to the covered area at the front of the Lower School where they will wait for pickup. You may queue up in the carpool waiting lane (when you first drive onto campus, bear right and park on the right-hand side in this waiting lane). A CWA staff member will direct traffic to pull up to the front of the Lower School. You are also welcome to park in the Lower School parking lot and meet your child in the covered area.

Middle School
8:10 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.

  • Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs: Please use the roundabout between the Middle School and Upper School.

Upper School
8:10 a.m. – 3:10 p.m.

  • Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs: Please use the roundabout between the Middle School and Upper School.

Lower School
(*subject to change due to COVID-19)

  • Before and After-School Care (“Extended Day”) is located in the classroom opposite the Lower School Commons on the first floor.
  • Before-School Care starts at 7:30 a.m.
  • After-School Care is available until 6:00 p.m. 
  • The Extended Day’s direct number is 253-620-8859.
  • Cost: $10/hour per student for Jr. K – Grade 5. After school care is included in Preschool tuition.

Middle School
(*subject to change due to COVID-19)

  • After-School Care is located in the Middle School Library down the hall to the right of the main entrance.
  • After-School Care is available until 6:00 p.m. 
  • All Middle School students on campus after school dismissal must sign in at the library.
  • The After-School Care direct number is 253-620-8428.
  • There is no charge for Middle School After-School Care.

Have a question and don’t know who to ask? You’ll be connected with an established CWA family “buddy” who can help you figure out all things CWA. Stay tuned for more info!

Bus Routes and Schedules

*Routes subject to change depending on ridership.

Fresh and nutritious foods are prepared on-site daily by Flik Dining Services. Breakfast, lunch, and morning and after-school snacks are available for purchase. At lunch, students have access to fresh salads, a custom sandwich bar, hot and wholesome main dishes, homemade soup, as well as fresh fruits, desserts, and snacks.

Once you are given access to Veracross, our student information system, you will be able to see exact pricing and sample menus.

Middle School Summer Reading

Summer provides a wonderful and important change of pace for families.  It is a time to relax, rejuvenate, and explore.  While time away from school has great value, middle schoolers benefit from keeping their reading skills sharp during the summer months.  Summer reading also provides students with an opportunity to explore new ideas, time periods, historical events, and points of view.  To these ends, we ask each of our Middle Schoolers to select at least three books from a grade-specific summer reading list. Students should plan to come ready to discuss their books during the first week of school with a good understanding of the plot, characters, and themes in each book. Here are links to the reading lists.

Upper School Summer Reading

Upper School students choose 2 books to read over the summer: One book from their English class PLUS one “free-range” book of their choice to discuss in your advisory or some other setting next year.

English Class Summer Reading:

“Free Range” Summer Reading Guide

Middle School Course Selection

Rising seventh and eighth graders select language, performing arts, and fall sports choices. Rising sixth-graders only select a fall sports choice, at this time. They will choose a performing arts class, either Beginning Band or Choir, in mid-September and their world language choice near the end of the first trimester in mid-November.

To learn more about course selection, please contact our Middle School Register, Treasea Miller at (253 ) 620.8400.

Upper School Course Selection

Our Admission team will work with you and your student to determine course selections based on grade level and placement tests.

Please contact Senior Admission Associate Brooke Judge with any questions about Middle or Upper School course selections.

Download our guide to CWA uniforms here.

Charles Wright Academy students in Preschool through Grade 5 wear uniforms.

The goal of school uniforms is to:

  • Increase a student’s sense of belonging to the CWA community
  • Provide sturdy, comfortable, and economical clothing choices
  • Keep clothing choices simple for families
  • Simplify morning routines for families

If you have any questions at all,
please contact the Admission Office
at (253) 620-8373 or

2020-2021 Responsible Reopening
Frequently Asked Questions

A: As of 8/18/20, Grades kindergarten through 12 will begin the school year in remote learning mode, as directed by the Tacoma-Pierce County Department of Health (TPCHD). Preschool and junior kindergarten will begin the year on campus, as these grades are licensed separately by the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) and can operate by child care rules and requirements.

A: CWA is committed to offering as much on campus learning as is safe, as determined by CWA leadership and local and state health authorities. CWA’s decision to be in-person or remote is guided by the requirements of state and local governing and health authorities, as well as a daily assessment of CWA’s community health status. Our COVID response team regularly reviews data, requirements, and recommendations from TPCHD, the Washington Department of Health, as well as guidance from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Washington Federation of Independent Schools, the National Association of Independent Schools, and the Northwest Association of Independent Schools. 

The response team will also monitor health indicators as reported by our community. They will track the number of COVID-19 cases in Pierce County; the number of students and employees on campus who report illnesses; the report of overall school health drawn from daily wellness checks; attendance; and other data points. They will monitor and analyze these indicators for predictive trends and anomalies, making recommendations for any changes to CWA’s daily health status to the Head of School and other senior administrators. Changes will then be shared with the community via email, and, if necessary, through our emergency alert system.

A: We will notify families if there is a known potential for exposure of their student. The school will not disclose the name or identity of any individual with a positive test or illness. The response team that meets daily will make a determination of any and all communication needs related to potential COVID exposure.

A: When given approval from the Department of Health to have all students on campus, we will offer a dual platform, which includes full in-person learning and a concurrent remote learning option. In mid-August families were asked to choose an option for each of their children; the school has requested a commitment for a full trimester. We will offer remote learning as an option to families all year.

We will provide 48 hours notice of any switch from one modality to another.  In the event of a move from remote learning to in-person learning, your student will transition to the modality choice you selected for the trimester (remote or in-person).  When/if we are required to move from in-person learning to remote, everyone will be on a remote schedule.

A: CWA has made a significant investment to allow all students to participate in a 1:1 program.  All students (Preschool to Grade 12) will receive devices with all necessary applications provided by CWA.  PS, JK, and K will use school iPads; students in grades 1-10 will receive and use Chromebooks; and students in grades 11 and 12 may request to borrow an Apple laptop from the school. We ask that all students in Preschool through Grade 10 use their CWA-issued device so that we can provide adequate technology support and ensure all students have access to the applications required for their coursework. Computers will be distributed August 31 and September 1.

A: There will be opportunities to meet all P.E. or athletic credit requirements through live or remote P.E. sessions in all divisions, or modified sports and practices. WIAA has moved all sports seasons to begin after the winter break depending on what phase we are in as mandated by health authorities. If government requirements allow us to be in-person, there will be opportunities to practice, train, and play sports with health and safety protocols in place. In a remote learning scenario, students may participate in virtual training with a coach to cultivate skills such as agility training for when we are ready to return to campus.

A: Our cohort sizes meet all requirements for schools as set by the state and local Department of Health, and are determined in part by the Rosner tool, which we used to measure classrooms, calculate the maximum room capacity, and determine safe spacing configurations. Cohort size will vary in each division based on the program and spaces, but will be less than the requirement. 

A: CWA will take full advantage of our beautiful 107-acre campus to provide additional safe learning spaces throughout campus. We are upgrading existing and adding new outdoor spaces for increased daily class use. Many spaces will have access to WIFI, be covered with tents or awnings, and have seating that allows for physical distancing. CWA will restrict the usage of outdoor classrooms in case of weather conditions that are unsafe like high winds, downpours, extreme temperatures, and lightning. Outside of these situations, we ask families, and faculty will also help prepare students to dress appropriately for a range of activities students can expect in our outdoor classroom spaces. Our nature-based learning experiences can be enhanced throughout the seasons in these spaces.

A: Students will eat lunch and snack within their cohorts either indoors or outdoors. They may bring their own lunch from home, but refrigeration and a microwave will not be available. Students may also pre-order boxed lunches from Flik, our food service provider, using an app. All allergens will be listed on the menu. Students may not leave their cohorts for lunch this year. Preschool and JK families do not have to pre-order food as lunch and snacks are included in their tuition.

A: Yes. While annually we modify routes and schedules to adapt to subscribed ridership, we still plan to offer full bus service for 2020-21. Health assessments should be completed at home prior coming to the bus stop and will be attested to with the driver.  Parents/guardians must wait for their student to be accepted onto the bus before leaving the bus stop. When students arrive on campus, a staff member will meet the bus, take each student’s temperature, and clear them to enter their division.

A: Out of an abundance of caution, we expect students to stay home if they have symptoms of any illness, or if a family member is ill. They will be able to seamlessly transition into remote learning until they are able to return to school.

A: All classes will be taught by CWA faculty. Students will receive a combination of direct live instruction, recorded lessons, small group instruction, and 1:1 or small group connection with a faculty or staff member.

Planning and Process

We are committed to providing as much in-person instruction and learning for students as can be done safely and confidently. With our task force of CWA faculty, staff, and administration examining and considering appropriate possibilities that meet the needs of our community, we know many of the base guidelines for scenario planning will be informed by local and state organizations. Each family can decide if these guidelines meet the particular health needs of their child(ren).  As plans take shape through the summer, and guidelines are updated, we are committed to sharing our process and planning with you.

Connecting with You

We have several virtual Town Hall meetings planned during the summer to keep you informed about our evolving thinking on what reopening CWA will look like. School leadership will address a variety of topics including 2020 summer sessions and how they inform plans for the 2020-21 school year, safety procedures, health and wellness considerations, program and operations information, communication plans, and more. We invite all families to attend these virtual meetings.

Town Hall Meetings

July 27, 7:30 p.m.
Watch Recording and View Slides

August 3, 7:30 p.m.
Watch Recording and View Slides

August 17, 7:30 p.m. PDT via Zoom
Watch Recording and View Slides


*Current families will receive an email with a link to attend the meetings. If you are not currently enrolled, but interested in learning more, fill out the inquiry below!