School Finance 809: 2019 Summer Comings and Goings

As our school year comes to an end, we thank you for reading our Finance at SAS articles. This series is intended to promote clarity around the school's financial and operational decisions within our large, diverse parent community. We will continue the Finance at SAS series next year, and your questions and topic suggestions are always welcome. In our final 2018–19 article, we share information about who is leaving and who is joining the SAS community over the summer.

Student withdrawal and re-enrollment numbers

The end of the year at an international school always includes farewells to a number of friends and classmates. The admissions office informs us that as of mid-May, 630 current students will be moving on, including our 287 graduating seniors. Representing 16% of our student body, this is similar to last year's rate and is lower than our average over the last eight years. Our departing students have spent an average of five years at SAS.

Our re-enrollment figure of 3,396—over 90% of non-graduating students—is correspondingly positive. This is our highest re-enrollment number ever and likely reflects robust U.S. and regional economic conditions. We can predict that some families will change their plans over the summer, and we allow for this when offering spots to applicants.

New student applications and acceptances

Our application numbers have been healthy this year, and we are pleased that our strong reputation continues to attract new families in Singapore's competitive international school market. Monthly open-house events from September to May helped us engage with prospective families, and we have confirmed 600 new students for August 2019. We continue to see strong interest from on-island families; over a third of our new students will transfer from other schools in Singapore, including local early learning centers and K1 schools, as well as SAIS, CIS, ICS, and OFS. Accepted applicants holding US passports rose to 62% percent of our August entrants, with summer applicants likely to further increase this figure.

Middle school and high school enrollment for 2019–20 is at capacity. We are still filling spots in preschool through grade 2, while grades 3 and 4 are nearly full. Our Chinese immersion program will continue its planned expansion with two second-grade classes. In response to demand, grades 2 and 3 will both increase by one class to a total of 14 classes each. Our admissions office colleagues will remain hard at work over the summer to fill available spots from our waitlist pool and to support our new families. We forecast a total enrollment for August of just over 4,000 students.

Overall, we are pleased to report that we expect to be operating at full capacity in 2019–20. We continue to be one of the few international schools in Singapore with continuous full or near-full enrollment, even as the sector has expanded significantly in the last decade. Word-of-mouth recommendations from SAS families are our most powerful recruiting tools, and we thank everyone who has encouraged friends or colleagues to consider an SAS education for their children.

Faculty comings and goings

This summer, 24 of our 394 teachers will be leaving us, representing a turnover rate of 6%. We are pleased to note that this is our lowest teacher attrition rate in 10 years and compares favorably with other international schools' numbers. From what we know of their plans, around half our departing faculty are moving back to their home countries for work or retirement, while others will pursue new adventures in Europe and Asia. We will also say farewell to Superintendent Dr. Chip Kimball, as well as to John Leiner of admissions, Steve Meade and Cindy Watters of the office of learning, and Matt McKinney, our interim director of advancement. We thank all our departing teachers and administrators for their contributions to SAS.

We received an average of 62 applications for every vacant teaching role, and we look forward to welcoming a highly qualified and enthusiastic group of teachers during new faculty orientation. Turning to administrators, we will be joined over the summer by Tom Boasberg, our new superintendent, as well as by former SAS teacher Doreen McCarthy as interim high school deputy principal, Crickett Kasper as chief advancement officer, and Jennifer Foss and Andrew Miller in the office of learning. Internal moves will fill other administrative positions: Dr. Darin Fahrney will lead the office of learning, Stephen Ly will become high school principal, Dr. Treena Casey will become interim director of admissions, and Kim Criens will move to the office of learning.

To all those in our community who are moving on, we wish you joy and success in your new homes. We look forward to welcoming our new families during orientation week, and we are excited to see the whole 2019–20 SAS community at open house on Thursday, August 8 and on the first day of school on Tuesday, August 13. We wish everyone a happy and healthy summer break!