This feature was first published in Journeys Summer 2021.
This article was written by Superintendent Tom Boasberg.

As about 60 faculty and staff colleagues sat together in the library earlier this year, we were all impressed and deeply moved by what we were hearing. For two hours, we listened to students from our Black Student Union and our PRISM and SAGA clubs of LGBTQIA+ students talk about their experiences at Singapore American School and what advice they had for teachers about their teaching on issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. It was a remarkably honest and thoughtful conversation. I think all of us emerged grateful for our students’ candor, impressed by their deep thinking on issues, and committed to learning more about how we best teach the vital issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at SAS.

The sessions with our students were just two of over 30 different sessions that we offered our educators on our DEI Exchange days this year. Each of the DEI sessions was hosted by SAS students, SAS educators, or outside practitioners who responded to a schoolwide request for proposals and volunteered to lead sessions on topics of their expertise and passion. These sessions were attended by all SAS employees: faculty, staff, and school leaders. Each person chose which sessions to attend and shared their perspective with their colleagues. Sessions included conversations on a wide range of topics, including age discrimination, perceptions of ability and disability, the experience of Asian Americans, concerns of Singaporean LGBTQIA+ leaders, and methods to diversify elementary school reading material (conducted in both English and Chinese).

At the heart of these conversations is our commitment to ensuring that equity and inclusion at SAS are as strong as our extraordinary diversity. The diversity here at SAS has been a hallmark since our founding in 1956, when 98 students and seven faculty members came together in a seven-bedroom colonial-style bungalow on 15 Rochalie Drive. Fifty-eight of those original students were American and the remaining 40 hailed from different nations. Today that ratio is similar, with slightly over half of our students being US citizens and the rest holding over 60 other passports.

As we celebrate our 65th anniversary, I am struck by how this original commitment to a diverse student body continues in our mission today to provide an exemplary American educational experience with an international perspective. We are like a rich tapestry composed of many different, unique, and beautiful threads. We are stronger when we recognize both the uniqueness and beauty of each of our threads and the remarkable strength we have in coming together as one social fabric. We want to do all we can to prepare our students to understand, thrive in, and improve the diverse world in which they will live.

This work is not about a political agenda— instead, its aim is to bring people together, to build bridges of understanding, and to encourage an appreciation for a diversity of perspectives. Our aim is to ensure our community is one where each individual member feels valued, cared for, and included. We are committed to this goal and to learn how we can do better when we are not meeting it.

One exciting piece of work that took place this year was work led by the SAS school board to formalize a schoolwide DEI Commitment Statement that sets forth our vision and beliefs. That statement reads:

As a school, the diversity of our community is one of our greatest strengths. That diversity offers extraordinary learning opportunities for our students as well as opportunities to build lasting friendships and relationships across cultures, nationalities, and other aspects of identity. For our diversity to reach its full potential as a strength, it is important that our commitment to equity and inclusion for all members of our community be as strong as it is to diversity. Every student at SAS should feel valued, cared for, and included. Differences in culture, background, ability, identity, and perspective should be respected and celebrated; SAS has no place for racism or any other type of discrimination. It is only by creating a positive climate and inclusive culture that we will meet our vision to cultivate exceptional thinkers who are prepared for the future.

We are excited about this statement and our work going forward. We look forward to sharing with you our next steps along this journey.


Journeys, our print publication, shares current, in-depth stories written by and for members of our school community. It is mailed to current families, faculty, staff, and alumni in December and June. If you are interested in contributing an article to Journeys, email communications@sas.edu.sg. Read more articles here