Finance at SAS 902: Back to School Updates

The 2019–20 school year has gotten off to a smooth start, and we hope that by now all students have made new friends, connected with teachers, and settled into their daily routines. As we finish our third week, we present an update on enrollment numbers, new faculty, and summer facilities projects.

School starts with full enrollment

We are pleased to report that we have achieved our total enrollment target for the start of the school year, with 4,022 enrolled students. In addition to 3,323 returning students, we welcomed 699 new students to SAS, over a quarter of whom transferred from other schools in Singapore. We have a few spaces left in the early learning center and grades 1, 2, and 3, which we expect to fill with qualified candidates during the first semester. Bus operator Yeap Transport reports that 135 buses pick up over 3,100 SAS students each day from 805 different locations. We estimate that around 600 neighborhood children walk, bike, or scooter to school.

Welcome to our new faculty members

In addition to our new students, we also welcomed 31 teachers to the school. Nineteen of these new hires are American citizens, five are Canadians, and the rest hail from New Zealand, China, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia, and Spain. About half joined us from international schools outside of Singapore, one-quarter come to us from on-island schools, and the rest come from US or Canadian schools. Our new colleagues are an experienced group, with most having taught for five or more years and two-thirds holding a master's degree or higher. Turning to our leadership team, in addition to several employees who moved into new positions over the summer, we welcome four new administrators to the school, as well as our new superintendent, Tom Boasberg.

Summer projects successfully completed

Our facilities team and contractors worked diligently during the summer break to clean, refresh, maintain, and upgrade school facilities in preparation for the new school year. With the focus on quality, efficiency, and safety, the team also ensured as little disruption as possible for our 550 Summer Semester and Jumpstart students. We congratulate our facilities staff for completing over 300 projects on time and with no workplace accidents.

Our third set of pathfinder renovations built on earlier findings to create learning spaces that best support our inquiry-based, interdisciplinary, and collaborative teaching approach. In the high school, three additional humanities flexible learning environments were developed, two on the fourth floor and one near the Quest room. In the middle school, a new learning community in 7B includes a learning commons, a learning studio, two project studios, and spaces for small-group and individual work.

Some of the guiding principles for this summer's pathfinder projects include the following:

  • Teachers appreciate moveable walls, which allow them to choose whether to team-teach or keep classes separate.
  • Breakout spaces and quiet spaces, both within and between rooms, are popular with students for independent and small-group work.
  • Class furnishings should match the space's intended use: for instance, warm lighting and comfortable furniture encourage discussion, while a more "industrial" feel may be more appropriate for hands-on learning spaces.
  • Natural light and growing plants foster student comfort, focus, and well-being.
  • Noise control is important; acoustic panels are effective.
  • Innovative energy efficiency measures are being trialed in pathfinder spaces; the seventh grade project incorporates a new cooling system as well as motion sensors and dimmer controls.
  • Students are interested in such innovations; accessible sensors and controls intrigue students and allow teachers to incorporate the trial findings into lessons.

To support the consolidation of our sports and activities programs, two office reorganizations were also completed. Our new, centrally located Eagle Activities and Athletics office houses staff formerly in the EAA and CSA offices. Along with an improved registration process, the new office makes it easier for families to complete tasks related to all pay-to-participate programs schoolwide. The former high school activities and athletics office now serves both middle school and high school extracurricular programs. The space now includes an office for the program directors and staff, a meeting area, and an upgraded training room with improved facilities. A new meeting room was also created upstairs, next to Gym 1 and overlooking the track and field.

The PTA, which now shares a meeting room with the Eagle Activities and Athletics office, continues to provide a cool haven for parents. Drop in to enjoy delicious Coffee Connection snacks, meals, and drinks while browsing the large selection of used books. This is the place to buy all sizes of uniform-approved SAS sweatshirts, as well as a new style of zippered hoodie, new items like SAS socks and beach towels, and stylish, eco-friendly meal containers.

There are a number of other facilities projects you may notice around campus: all high school restrooms were refurbished; both undercover carparks were re-waterproofed; the elementary school library was refreshed and upgraded; the elementary school dean of students has a new office; cafeteria tables have been re-laminated; and selected classrooms in the elementary and middle schools were refreshed. Behind the scenes, we completed various electrical system upgrades and replacements.

Thanks to all who have contributed to the very positive start of the 2019–20 school year! Please send any comments, questions, or suggestions for future articles to mrogers@sas.edu.sg. We look forward to hearing from you.