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SINGAPORE AMERICAN SCHOOL: History in the Making

Kinjal Shah

This article first appeared in the Singapore American Newspaper.

15 Rochalie Drive

Imagine walking into an international school housed in a colonial-style bungalow. A garage for a science lab, servants’ quarters for music and pre-school, bedrooms for classrooms and a dining room for assemblies. Top that with a softball field and an outdoor basketball court you’d need to share with chickens raised by a Malay family that lived on the property.

Welcome to the Singapore American School (SAS) circa 1956

98 students. 57 Americans. 41 from other nationalities. A typical day at SAS started at 8:15am with singing God Save …

Posted by K. Shah in Communications on Thursday May 25
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Acclaimed Photographer Scott A. Woodward on Life-Changing Moments, Inspiration, and Giving Back Through SOAR

Vanessa Spier

This article was first published in Journeys Magazine, Spring 2017.

amel herders, Mongolia

As part of Nikon’s series, I Am Eyes of Nikon, Woodward and Mike Rogers (Class of 2000) set out to teach viewers about which NIKKOR lens is right for them through a series of short films with integrated photography. This shot was from one of seven locations across Mongolia and for it, Woodward spent the day with a camel herder on the dunes. Woodward noted, “It was this crazy cacophony of sand, pounding hooves, flying camel hair…it was pretty electric. They came careening past me, within just a couple of feet of my camera.”

“You …

Posted by K. Shah in Communications on Wednesday May 24
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What About Me??


This article was first published in Journeys Magazine, Spring 2017.

Chip Kimball

Singapore American School has some phenomenal students. Period. If you read our Perspectives blog or Journeys magazine on a regular basis, you are probably blown away by some of our students’ achievements. I certainly am. But there is a lingering thought that may run through a parent’s or student’s mind when we talk about our programs and changes ahead: what about me? What if my child isn’t one of the academic, athletic, or service standouts?

What if my child hasn’t hit their stride or is a late bloomer? What if my child …

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Model United Nations: An Insider's View


Malaysia Model United Nations

A few days ago, Scott Townley shared his perspective on the Malaysia Model United Nations (MUN) XIV Conference held in Mont’ Kiara International School in April this year. What does it mean for an attendee? Students take us through their experiences…

Ernest Wang, Chair of the ECOSOC Committee

we shared Being a chair at a conference is any high school delegate’s biggest dream, and I had the great chance to fulfill that dream. To be able to work with a committee full of delegates who understand, to be able to lead them, but most of all, to be able to see their learning and improvement because of…

Posted by K. Shah in Student on Monday May 22
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The 'MODEL' in Model United Nations



A group of SAS students, covering grades seven through 10, recently participated in the annual Malaysia Model United Nations conference in Mont’ Kiara International School, Malaysia, led by Scott Townley, Pam McKinnon, and Rick Bisset from the high school (MUN) and middle school (JMUN) clubs.

Walking through an MUN conference for the first time might be a surreal experience for many adults. As you move into a committee room, you see rigorous debate happening in a highly formalized and disciplined environment. At the head of the room sit two officers, chairing the debate. Delegates raise …

Posted by K. Shah in Teacher on Friday May 19
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SAS Foundations grant S$2M for the benefit of SAS students and faculty



Chinese Language Immersion

I am pleased to share that Singapore American School is the beneficiary of another banner year of philanthropy. The boards of the school’s two supporting foundations recently voted to grant a total of nearly S$2 million for the benefit of its students and faculty in academic year 2017-18, with another S$300,000 to be granted in September to round out the full complement of funding for next school year. This represents approximately five percent of the school’s non-personnel budget and is in addition to a first-ever $1 million distribution from the endowment.

Classrooms Without Walls

The funds will support essential …

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What’s new in Elementary Music?




“Penalty for improper use, five pounds.” And so ends one of the traditional movement songs led by Dr. Rob Amchin during the elementary music teachers’ professional development training in early March. Dr. Amchin is a professor of Music Education at the University of Louisville in Kentucky in the United States. He came to SAS with a wide variety of singing, dancing, and instrumental activities that he shared over the course of five action-packed days with teachers and students. One of the main goals of his work with us was to sharpen our skills and further our appreciation of the Orff teaching …

Posted by K. Shah in Teacher on Tuesday May 16
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SAS Earth Month: Tackling Global Issues

GIN Earth Month



Carbon dioxide levels in the air are at their highest in 650,000 years. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. Global issues like climate change only increase in urgency everyday. Environmental and climate literacy is more important than ever, so SAS’s Global Issues Network (GIN) decided to highlight this global issue for the community this April.

What is GIN? Inspired by Jean-Francois Rischard’s book High Noon: Twenty Global Problems, Twenty Years to Solve Them, the Global Issues Network fosters collaboration between students locally, regionally and globally to “…

Posted by K. Shah in Student, Community on Monday May 15
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Todd Parred!

Kinjal Shah

This article was first published in Journeys Magazine, Spring 2017.

Todd Parred!

In the brightly lit halls of Singapore American School’s early learning center, there stood a man wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers, setting up a PowerPoint presentation to be projected on a screen a couple of feet away. A lush green carpet covered the parquet floor, awaiting an audience of four-year olds. He didn’t look like an artist or an author, let alone one who has illustrated and written 50 children’s books.

I confess I’d never heard of New York Times bestselling author Todd Parr before he was announced to come to …

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A Culture of Philanthropy


A Culture of Philanthropy

I was at a conference last month, ruminating with fellow advancement colleagues from Singapore, elsewhere in Asia, and as far away as Europe and the U.S. We face similar challenges in our schools, one of which is moving from a culture of fundraising to a culture of philanthropy.

Fundraising solves a problem, but philanthropy offers a systematic solution. In an organization with a culture of philanthropy, community members—parents, alumni, faculty, and leadership—are proud to raise money because they understand that it is about impact, not dollars. And everyone is responsible for philanthropy, …

Posted by K. Shah in Giving on Tuesday May 9
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The Hardest Decision I’ve Ever Had to Make

I have no idea what I want to do with my life. All I know is that I want to contribute something to society and be recognized for it. I want to win a Nobel Prize. I want to become the world’s best actress (acting is not my forte). I want to be a famous pastry chef with my own bakery.

The only thing I’m absolutely sure of is that I want to study Computer Science (CS) in college, and that I want to start a company.

I’m seventeen. Give me a break.

I have absolutely no clue who I will become, and that’s why choosing where to go to college was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my entire …

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Talk Like TED

Kyle Aldous

The best TED speakers do things a little differently. Check out these four TED Talk tips and change the way you engage in presentations, speeches, and everyday conversations.

Jerry Seinfeld Quote

It’s funny because it’s true, right?

While public speaking may not be the most popular pastime, it is certainly one of the most prolific. Every day we are placed in situations where we need to be able to communicate confidently. The size of our audience is irrelevant. Public speaking is less about delivering a formal keynote address to thousands of people and more about the ability to effectively communicate an idea, …

Posted by K. Shah in Communications on Friday April 28
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Student Leadership Conference: A Catalyst Project Journey

Jahvon Coney

Ever since I moved to SAS in ninth grade and got involved in Student Council, I've had an interest in leadership. Whether that is leading spirit activities, pep assemblies, or spearheading different events, I've constantly found myself wanting to learn more about leadership while also improving my own skills as a student leader. This is my Catalyst Project journey from conception to execution.

The Power of Networking

Catalyst project: Student Leadership—Why and How?

At the beginning of my Catalyst Project I planned to diverge from my interest as I had a desire to create a history course focusing on African history for …

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APRIL READS - EARLY LEARNING CENTER AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL


Early learning center and kindergarteners (Ms. Cuthbert)

  1. If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
  2. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
  3. And then it's spring by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead

Kindergartners, first and second graders (Ms. Shin-Gay)

  1. The Bolds by Julian Clary
  2. The Not-a-Pig (Mang and Bambang #1) by Polly Faber
  3. The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems

Third, fourth and fifth graders (Ms. Brundage)

  1. Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan
  2. The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce
  3. The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sand


Posted by K. Shah in Teacher on Wednesday April 26
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Academic Pressure: Six Ways to Manage High School Stress


Some call it “the hardest test I’ve ever done”, or “the fight that ended our friendship”. But at the end of the day, stress, whichever form it may take, remains inevitable. Whether it involves pencils and papers or best friends and lovers, being a high schooler comes with commitments that seem to never end. In most cases, students feel that there is nothing we can do about it.

And we are right.

Zi Tong Lim

In order to succeed, the hard work and long hours are necessary. But the way to manage this stress is to work around it. Here are some tips that will make your high school lives just a little less …

Posted by K. Shah in Student on Tuesday April 25
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APRIL READS - MIDDLE SCHOOL, HIGH SCHOOL AND ADULTS

SAS Librarians

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Middle schoolers (Mr. Starker)Middle School

  1. Alive by Chandler Baker (#1 in YALSA’s Top Ten 2016)
  2. As brave as you by Jason Reynolds (Schneider Family Award Winner)
  3. When we collided by Emery Lord (Schneider Family Award Winner)


High schoolers (Mr. Helmer)High Schoolers

  1. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
  2. The inevitable understanding: the 12 technologies that will shape our future by …
Posted by K. Shah in Teacher, Librarian on Monday April 24
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Quest at SAS — Personalized learning at its best

Sasha Quinlan

Around this time one year ago juniors at the Singapore American School (SAS) were introduced to a new program called Quest.

Initiated by SAS teachers Simon Bright, Darlene Poluan, and Katie Walthall, this program compelled students to rethink their ideas of a standard senior year and take a chance to explore a topic of interest. This was a fantastic opportunity to get a grasp on independent learning before having to head off to college the following year.

24 students chose the unconventional path and decided that Quest was the program for them. One year later, as current SAS juniors are on the …

Posted by K. Shah in Student on Tuesday April 11
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Lan Fisher: A Booster Booth Farewell


We have had the honor of having Lan Fisher as our Booster Club president for the last four years and vice president for one year. Most of our presidents have only been able to serve one or two year terms and then they either relocate or their child graduates.

SAS Booster Club

We have been fortunate to have Lan’s dedicated leadership and time spent chairing the 13-committee Booster Board for five years. It has been an exciting journey for her as her youngest graduates from SAS this June and we bid her a sad and teary farewell. No one has ever done so much for boosters and the high school community than Lan …

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Improv Life

Kyle Aldous

Improv LifeThis article was first published in Journeys Magazine, Spring 2017.

Improv Life

There are thousands of students around the world enrolled in top MBA programs at Duke, MIT, and Stanford, top medical schools like Mount Sinai or Northwestern, and top law schools like the University of Chicago, all taking the same class.

What one class has become an integral part of graduate level work across such a broad spectrum of fields?

Here’s a hint. The class looks more like an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? than Grey’s Anatomy or Law and Order.

Improv.

Why are future lawyers, doctors, and entrepreneurs required to …

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Teacher Feature - From Peace Corps to PE and Health, Anne Wenstrom talks about her globe-trotting experience

Teacher Feature

From backpacking through West Africa and Morocco, to hot air balloon rides over Bagan, Myanmar and Cappadocia, staying out in the Wadi Rum Desert and floating in the Dead Sea, to South African safaris and staying in a Finnish glass igloo with magical view of the aurora borealis, SAS PE teacher Anne Wenstrom, has been there, done that. Here’s a little about her life as a world traveler, Peace Corps volunteer, and completing 10 years at SAS.

Anne Wenstrom - Teacher Feature

1. Where are you from and where did you go to grade school and university?

I grew up on a small family farm in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and lived all 18 years …

Posted by K. Shah in Teacher, Communications on Tuesday April 4
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March Reads - Middle School, High School and Adults

“A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation... A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold.” ― Henry Miller, The Books in My Life

Middle schoolers (Mr. Starker)

March Reads

  1. Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm
  2. Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (National Book Award Finalist)
  3. The Saturday Boy by David Fleming


High schoolers (Mr. Helmer)

March Reads

  1. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
  2. This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
  3. Wires and Nerves by …
Posted by K. Shah in Teacher on Thursday March 30
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March Reads - Early learning center and elementary school

Librarians

Spring has sprung and it’s the last few months of school before the year ends. What are your reading plans this month? Here are some great recommendations from our librarians at the elementary school library!

Early learning center and kindergarteners (Ms. Cuthbert)March Reads

  1. Mercy Watson Series by Kate DiCamillo illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
  2. The Gruffalo Series by Julia Donaldson illustrated by Axel
  3. Scaredy Squirrel Series by Mélanie Watt


Kindergartners, first and second graders (Ms. Shin-Gay)March Reads

  1. Dragon Slayers’ Academy by Kate McMullen
  2. My Happy Life by Rose Lagercrantz
  3. Soupy Saturdays with the Pain & the …
Posted by K. Shah in Teacher on Thursday March 30
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Five Minutes with Mark Swarstad

Student Perspective

5 Minutes with Mark Swarstad

5 Minutes with Mark Swarstad

5 Minutes with Mark Swarstad

This article was first published in Journeys Magazine, Winter 2016.

Click here to read more articles from Journeys Magazine, Winter 2016.


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Three girls and Siem Reap

MUN Siem Reap

MUN Siem Reap

Three experienced Model United Nations (MUN) students -- Jae Hee Koh, grade 10; Se Young Chun, grade 11; and Janvi Kalra, grade 12 -- took the opportunity to create, prepare, and deliver a two-day workshop at the Jay Pritzker Academy (JPA) in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Janvi Kalra

It was after fall break, and the sophomores had just come back from their ISPP MUN conference in Cambodia, when Mr. Bisset asked the three of to attend a quick meeting. “There is a cool opportunity to hold a MUN workshop in Cambodia. What do you think?", he asked.

Excited for a chance to give back to the MUN community we …

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From spuds to satellites: SAS alumn launches career at Virgin Galactic

Kristina Doss

From spuds to satellites

Brandon Meehan (Class of 2011) remembers sitting in high-level math and science classes at Singapore American School, listening to one of his favorite teachers share stories about alumni who embarked on careers at some of the top physicist laboratories in the world.

While surrounded by a prized collection of t-shirts and coffee cups that students sent him from their respective work sites, the teacher—Mr. Brian Donalson—rattled off an impressive list of labs. They included the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world, and…

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Singapore American School 40 Woodlands Street 41 • Singapore 738547 • TEL: +65 6363 3403 | CPE Registration Number: 196400340R | Registration Period: 22 June 2011 to 21 June 2017
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