School Finance 702: Back to School Updates

The 2017–18 school year has gotten off to a flying start, and we hope that by now all students have made new friends and settled into new routines. As we finish our fifth week, we are pleased to present an update on enrollment numbers, new staff, and summer facilities projects.

Enrollment targets met for start of school year

The admissions office reports that overall enrollment targets for the start of the academic year have been met. Enrollment stands at 3,945 students, similar to the last two years at this point. SAS has welcomed 778 new students and 582 families into our community. We expect to fill a few openings in the early learning center (ELC) and kindergarten shortly from our list of interested families and our upcoming open houses. Our higher-elementary, middle and high school grades have reached capacity with strong candidates. Admission to SAS is rolling as families leave and spaces are filled according to our priority lanes. Bus operator Yeap Transport reports that 129 buses pick up over 3,030 SAS students each day from 788 different locations. An estimated 535 neighborhood children walk, bike, or scooter to school.

New faculty members join SAS veterans

In addition to our new students, we also welcomed 41 teachers to the school. Over half of these new hires are American citizens, with Canada and the United Kingdom accounting for several each and smaller numbers from Australia, China, Germany, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Spain. Seventeen percent of our new teachers come to us from US schools, while 83 percent join us from other international schools. Nearly three-quarters have taught for six or more years, and over two-thirds have earned master's degrees. We also welcomed four new administrators to SAS.

Facilities team keeps summer projects on tight schedule

Our SAS facilities team worked closely with over a hundred contracted workers to keep our summer projects to strict quality controls, safety standards, and deadlines. We congratulate them on completing 31 major and two hundred smaller projects slightly ahead of schedule and with no serious workplace accidents. The team also ensured as little disruption as possible for our Summer Semester and Jumpstart students, whose combined numbers increased by sixty percent to 563 student sessions.

Indoors, our biggest changes were our pathfinder projects and the high school student life center. Designed to align learning environments with our increasingly inquiry-based, collaborative, and interdisciplinary approach, our pathfinder projects features large windows, moveable furniture, small and large-group areas, and flexible-use spaces. "We are extremely proud of our teachers," says Facilities Director Anthony Wong. "They put in tremendous up-front work designing these spaces to give students the best possible learning experiences, and came back in August ready to embrace them."

High school students are already making themselves at home in the new student life center, where they can comfortably meet, work, and relax. Besides common areas, the student life center contains the offices of our five personal and academic counselors, the high school psychologist, and the dean of student life. This renovation also allowed us to pilot new smart controls and more efficient light and air delivery systems. Occupancy sensors, low-wattage LED lights, and an advanced air-handling-unit motor help conserve energy. In all, the energy consumption of the student life center should be less than half that of similar spaces in the school. Once these energy savings are confirmed, we plan to retrofit other spaces with the same technologies.

Outdoors, many families have seen our bright new rubberized track. Students may also have enjoyed the refreshed grass on the stadium field, renewed artificial turf on the south and softball fields, and resurfaced rooftop tennis courts. Tiny cracks causing seepage in the elementary school pool were also repaired. We are proud to have received certifications from various sports governing bodies: FIFA awarded our turf a Quality Pro certification; the IAAF gave our running track a Standard certification; and the ITF certified our tennis courts as Standard–Medium Fast. These credentials mean we can host teams and tournaments beyond school events. In July, for instance, Chelsea FC used SAS as its training ground while in Singapore for the International Champions Cup (see more on their training sessions here).

In addition to our larger facilities projects, parents will notice improved safety, sidewalk, and landscaping features in the ELC and elementary school parking areas; resurfaced roads throughout campus; an upgraded ELC playground; and refreshed classrooms and offices in various locations. Students are also benefitting from improvements to our electrical, IT, air-conditioning, and CCTV security systems.

We appreciate the contributions of all who have helped get the 2017–18 school year off to a smooth start. As always, we welcome any comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles, at We look forward to hearing from you.