School Finance 515: Parent Volunteers, Making the Difference

Many SAS parents make vital contributions to Singapore American School by volunteering their time and skills in classrooms and activities. As we look forward to our first International Fair, we want to recognize all that our parent volunteers do throughout the year. Each one plays an important part in creating our culture of extraordinary care and in providing our students the experiences that make an SAS education exceptional.

The SAS Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

The PTA was founded almost as soon as the school opened, and today it continues to be the most comprehensive avenue through which parents volunteer at SAS. With its goal "to enhance and enrich the SAS experience for students and their families," the PTA promotes community spirit and participation in school programs. The PTA's army of volunteers organizes activities and celebrations, plans fundraisers, and provides extra supervision on special days. Volunteers also staff the PTA uniform store, in a unique arrangement that helps keep prices affordable and shopping convenient. Profits raised by the PTA are donated to the school and used to provide extra opportunities for SAS students. For more information, please visit "About the PTA" or view their video. We thank our PTA volunteers for their efforts and support!

Summary of SAS PTA Activities, Events, and Fundraising, 2015-16

Events and Activities

Extra Help With

Fundraising Events

Funds Used For

Open House Ice Cream Social

Photo Day supervision

school uniform sales

visiting speakers, artists, and musicians

newcomers' events

field trip chaperones

gift basket raffle

special school projects

Welcome BBQ

Staff Appreciation Day classroom supervision

International Fair auction

library acquisitions

holiday parties and Pumpkin Patch

Play Day volunteers

used book sales

scholarships for interim trips

divisional coffees

White Elephant Sale

scholarships for graduating seniors

Book Fair

International Fair

Staff Appreciation Day

graduation events for grade eight and twelve students

The SAS Eagles Booster Club

The SAS Eagles Booster Club began in 1985 to support the high school sports program. Today, the Boosters' mission is to foster high school spirit, teamwork and sportsmanship, and to support high school students in their academic, athletic, cultural, and community service activities. Boosters organize social and fundraising events, support high school clubs, teams, and performances, and reach out to new families. Booster Booth volunteers sell uniforms, spirit items, and school supplies which, like PTA sales, keep costs down while raising funds for student activities. Finally, the Boosters award a number of student scholarships. We thank these enthusiastic parents, who encourage our high school students' efforts, celebrate their achievements, and make possible their dreams. To get involved, go to the Booster website or view their video.

Summary of SAS Booster Activities, Events, and Fundraising, 2015-16

Events, Activities, and Fundraisers

Funds Used For

Booster Booth sales

support for student clubs

Trivia Night

receptions for theater, art, dance, and music productions and exhibitions

bake sales

sports teams' uniforms, varsity teams' sports bags, and travelling teams' polo shirts

popcorn days

hospitality for visiting coaches and welcome bags for visiting parents during IASAS and other exchanges

scholar recognition lunch after first semester

participation patches for athletes, artists, and performers

BBQs at sports and cultural exchanges

awards and trophies for athletes and performers

hospitality rooms for visiting coaches

need-based Interim Semester scholarships

senior graduation lunch

scholarships for graduating seniors who have taken an active part in building school spirit

Parents volunteer with our performing arts and sports programs

Independent parent volunteers also give crucial support to our arts and sports programs. Parents of performing artists help celebrate the work of our choirs, bands, orchestras, dancers, and actors. They organize receptions, sew costumes, manage props, provide makeup and hair styling, and help with rehearsals, foyer decorations, and ticket sales. Shows such as Neverland and Yulefest depend on many parent volunteers, while parents take the lead with the elementary school Variety Show, managing auditions, practices, and the final shows. "Without parent volunteers," says Theater Manager Paula Silverman, "there is no way we could put on such fantastic shows. We are very thankful for all their time, effort, and enthusiasm."

Athletes' parents are also part of the volunteer team. Certain sports in the Community Sports and Activities program are dependent on volunteers to organize events, coach teams, be team parents, run concessions stands, and referee games. Parents of football players and cheerleaders are entirely in charge of these activities through the Singapore American Community Action Council. Parents of high school swimmers help organize meets, manage the scoreboard, and referee.

That Dance Thing depends on volunteers

The popular dance and etiquette program That Dance Thing also depends on volunteers. Parents organize the series of dinner-dances, which teach middle school boys and girls ballroom dancing and social etiquette in a safe, non-competitive environment. During the elegant gatherings, which take place at the American Club, chaperones model proper behavior and encourage polite conversation.

Book-lovers volunteer in our libraries

SAS libraries depend on parent volunteers to sort items, replace books on shelves, and do other media-management tasks. Some parents just drop in when they have free time while on campus, while others set weekly hours for themselves. These parents free our librarians to focus on helping students and improving programs, and we deeply appreciate their contributions.

Parents mentor high school students

Parent volunteers are increasingly important as mentors for our high school students. Parents contribute their knowledge, skills, and contacts to help students find internship opportunities, design business projects, develop branding for entrepreneurial efforts, and conduct research in professional settings. "No matter how specific or unusual a student's interest," says Mr. Dennis Steigerwald, Center of Innovation Coordinator, "it always seems some parent has a friend or colleague who is willing and able to help." Around a quarter of our Catalyst Project students have had parent mentors, who typically commit to meet with the student for an hour each week. "We have seen an extraordinary inflow of support from our parent community," Steigerwald notes, "with a very high percentage of parent mentors providing a positive experience for students engaged in self-directed learning projects." Parents of high school students have also run workshops, designed class demonstrations, written comments for student presenters, judged robotics competitions, and acted as strategic advisers during our research and development process.

Parent volunteers are important partners in creating the sense of community, culture of possibilities, and amazing opportunities that our students find at SAS. We truly value all our volunteers' contributions, and we thank everyone who gives their time, talent, and enthusiasm to make SAS the exceptional place it is. As always, we welcome comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles at wscarborough@sas.edu.sg. We look forward to hearing from you.