Finance at SAS 801: Back to School Updates
Welcome to Finance at SAS! For the past several years, the school leadership has published this regular column in eNews with the goal of maintaining open communication about the financial and operational decisions made by the school administration. Past articles cover a broad range of topics and can all be found at Finance at SAS on the school website. We begin this year's finance articles with an update on enrollment numbers, new staff, and summer facilities projects.
SAS enrollment reaches new high
School started with a student body of 4,043 students, including 772 new students, over a third of whom transferred from other schools in Singapore. At 3,270, the number of returning students was 1.7 percent higher than last year's number, contributing to the overall increased enrollment. Parents may be assured that this difference is within our planned capacity and maximum class size in each division is not affected. We have a few spaces left in kindergarten and grades 2 and 3, and we expect to fill these with qualified candidates by January. Bus operator Yeap Transport reports that 136 buses pick up over 3,200 SAS students each day from 809 different locations. We estimate that around 560 neighborhood children walk, bike, or scooter to school.
Welcome to our new faculty members
In addition to our new students, we also welcomed 35 teachers to the school. Nearly 70 percent of these new hires are American citizens, with Canadians accounting for six percent and smaller numbers from the United Kingdom, Australia, China, France, Japan, South Africa, and Spain. Over three-quarters of our new teachers have joined us from other international schools, while the rest come from US schools. Our new colleagues are an especially experienced group, with 91 percent having taught for six or more years, 26 holding master's degrees, and three holding doctorates.
Summer projects completed on schedule
Our SAS facilities team worked closely with over 60 contractors to keep 100 summer projects on schedule, with special emphasis on workplace safety and quality control. We congratulate them on completing all projects successfully and with no serious workplace accidents. The team also ensured as little disruption as possible for over 400 Summer Semester and Jumpstart students. Our biggest facilities projects included the creation of the Eagle Stop service center and our second round of pathfinder projects.
By now, many parents will have visited the Eagle Stop, where errands related to SASCards, vehicle decals, uniforms, buses, and student supplies may be completed. An automated queue system manages the lines for different tasks, and if you prefer to wait elsewhere, a text will alert you when your number is approaching. The Eagle Stop is open every school day from 7:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. After 3:45, please bring any bus inquiries to the new bus counter beside the middle school bus bay.
Our second round of pathfinder renovations incorporated lessons learned from earlier projects while further aligning learning environments with our inquiry-based, interdisciplinary, and collaborative teaching approach. New hubs were created by combining sets of first and fifth grade classrooms, as well as classrooms on B and C sides in grade 6. Other projects resulted in more flexible-use spaces in the middle school, a high school humanities learning hub, and a collaborative workspace for high school teachers.
These projects built on lessons learned during our first round of pathfinder renovations:
- We have reassessed the number and placement of folding and sliding doors in multi-use spaces.
- We are experimenting with more innovative and environmentally friendly cooling systems in the 6B and 6C hubs, to reduce our reliance on air-conditioning.
- We continue to test different types of furniture, with Steelcase and mobile furniture proving popular with teachers and students.
- We reduced our reliance on outside contractors by having our facilities team work closely with administrators and teachers throughout planning and construction.
Other summer projects included installing new seats and carpeting in the elementary school theater, a new wood floor in the band room, a new stage floor in the drama theater, and new lockers in PE changing rooms. Play areas were refreshed and our multi-year lighting retrofit project was completed. We invite parents to relax in the refurbished PTA office, where Coffee Connections offers tasty snacks, meals, and drinks. Gently used books are available for purchase, as are school spirit items, sweatshirts, and a smart new line of reusable lunch and drink containers with the SAS logo.
Thank you for reading this year's first Finance at SAS article. Parents' questions and comments are always welcome and have led to some of our most interesting articles. Please email them to Chief Operating Officer Matthew Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.