How do I know what is going on at the school?
- WSA emails a weekly newsletter called “Hawk Talk” on Fridays.
- If you are not receiving it, please contact Susan Trower to update your email address in the database.
Is there a calendar of upcoming events?
- The website calendar is maintained weekly and linked here: West Sound Academy Events
Does my student need a lunch each day?
- WSA students either opt to bring a bag lunch to school or order hot lunch.
- Parents create lunch orders through the school management system, FACTS, and costs are billed monthly.
- There is a kitchen with microwaves and hot water kettles available.
- Students who forget lunch can get a “Forgotten Lunch” at the front desk for a minimal charge that is billed to their account. Forgotten Lunch should not be considered a daily resource.
You often mention forms that need to be filled out. Where are those?
- WSA maintains a “Forms & Flyers” section in the Hawk’s Nest section of the website with any and all forms you may need throughout the year.
What is a Registration Meeting?
- New families come in over the summer for a Registration Meeting.
- A Registration Meeting is a meeting with the Head of School to complete the necessary paperwork, answer questions and discuss your family’s contribution to the Annual Visionary Campaign.
Does my student need a laptop?
- Students are required to bring their own laptop to school each day. They choose their own preferred device (Bring Your Own Device).
- If circumstances are such that a student does not have a laptop, West Sound Academy has some laptops and desktop computers available for students to use at school.
- Wireless Internet is available on campus.
- Laptops will need to be compatible with US Systems (ask your salesperson) and have wireless capabilities.
Why is my child asked to take a math placement exam?
- WSA teaches math subjects in the middle school and upper school in semester topics that serve to prepare them for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) in the 11th and 12th grade.
- These subject blocks will seem familiar but are organized in a non-traditional way from most US High Schools. As such, it is rare that a student is accelerated to a higher grade in math because that limits their ability to do the highest level of math in the IBDP.
- The math placement exam is given to help us determine the student’s math needs and how that will relate to their journey to the IBDP.
How do I stay in touch with my child’s classroom teachers and Advisor?
- The best way to stay in touch with any school personnel is by email.
- Your child’s Advisor should be your main and first contact at the school for questions.
- Advisors have weekly contact with students.
- Questions about schedules and curriculum can be directed to the Associate Head of School, Catherine Freeman.
What is required for vaccines?
- WSA requires all students to abide by WA State Law when it comes to vaccines.
- A recent change in the law prohibits the personal exemption from the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine and only allows a medical or religious exemption.
- WSA will not allow a student to attend school unless all vaccine paperwork is properly submitted each year.
When will they get their class schedule and books?
- All new and returning students will get their class schedule via email notification around mid-July.
- The online textbook store through Follett will open a few days after schedules are released so families may start buying books.
- Use the class schedule to find the class code in which to select books.
Can students change their class schedule? If so, when and how?
- Yes, students can change their class schedule during the first week of class if there is a compelling reason to do so.
- They must submit a request for a class change to the registrar via email for review and approval by emailing Catherine Freeman at email@example.com.
FAQ For International Families
How will my child stay in touch with friends and family in their home country while at West Sound Academy?
- Email is the easiest way to stay in touch. Each student at West Sound Academy receives his or her own email account upon arrival.
- Email phone Phone calls via Skype, Facetime or WeChat add video to audio.
- U.S. SIM cards can be purchased for cell phones – and there are numerous apps available to download that make communication with friends and family back home easy.
Should I come to the campus with my child at the beginning of the year?
- For new international families, parents are not required to travel with their child to West Sound Academy at the beginning of the year. Should they choose to accompany their child to Poulsbo at the start of the school year, parents should plan any site-seeing or tourist activities prior to the date required for students to arrive.
- The greatest success for students transitioning to an international residential schooling environment is to allow the student independence to get settled and learn about their new living situation without parental influence. Please do not expect to see your student during the first week of orientation and classes.
- Upon the date required for students to arrive, parents will accompany their children to the host family’s house to meet their student’s host family and help the student get settled.
- Parents should not expect to stay at the host family’s house and the school can make lodging recommendations.
How does the student get to campus from Seattle/Tacoma airport?
- West Sound Academy arranges transportation for students who fly into the Seattle/Tacoma airport on designated pickup days.
- All details about airport pickup are supplied well in advance of arrival dates.
How can a student get a cell phone?
- International students can bring cell phones from their home as long as the phone is not ‘locked’ to a carrier. Students will need to purchase a U.S. SIM card. There are many plans available with data and text payable monthly. Students may also purchase a phone in the U.S. Depending on the intended length of their stay, students can either purchase monthly plans or a long term contract.
Do international students need health insurance?
- Yes, doctors’ services and healthcare in general are very expensive in the United States.
- If you choose to retain your child’s present insurance or buy a policy in your home country, please note that the insurance company must have a claims office in the United States.
- Unless you provide proof of insurance, your child will need to register for insurance in the U.S. West Sound Academy can arrange for health insurance for your student. Billing for the plan would be included in your international comprehensive tuition payment.
How can my child have access to money to purchase school supplies and other needed items?
- We recommend that you provide your child with a credit card or debit card for this purpose.
- Your child may also set up an account at a local bank. They will then be able to make purchases from this account with personal checks or a debit card. While the bank will give them personal checks immediately, it takes approximately ten days to receive the debit card in the mail.
How will my child have access to money for personal spending? How much should I send?
- Send a minimum of $50 with your child. The local bank requires a minimum of $25 to open a student account.
- During Orientation we will help students set up bank accounts at a local bank. You may wire funds into your child’s bank account.
- Each family needs to determine what is appropriate for individual student personal spending.
- Note that a credit card or debit card may be ideal for this purpose, as well as for purchases of school supplies noted above.
How do students get to the airport during vacations and holidays?
- Each year the Student/Parent handbook and School Calendar outline the specific dates and times of vacations and holidays. You should check the Student/Parent handbook for these dates. You should arrange your child’s flights around these dates and times.
- Airport access is easy and quick. Transportation to and from the airport is by private carrier. We recommend Kitsap-SeaTac Airporter. Typically, the cost for this service is $27 each way to and from Poulsbo.
Can international students get a driver’s license?
- We do not recommend that your child get a driver’s license. In the state of Washington, if a young adult is under the age of 18 he or she must have a parent or legal guardian appear at the Department of Licensing in person and sign a form allowing them to get an instruction permit. In addition, while holding the instruction permit for at least 6 months, the applicant must pass a driver training course and get at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice (including 10 hours at night) with someone who has been licensed for 5 years or more. Other conditions apply as well.