Singapore American School: A Successful Sojourn in the Pursuit of Excellence
Singapore American School | education magazine

Provides an exemplary American educational experience with an international perspective, cultivating exceptional thinkers prepared for the future.

Founded by a group of pioneering American parents in 1956, Singapore American School has been on the leading edge of preparing students for their future. Initially, it opened its door to 105 students on King’s Road campus. With the passing waves of time Singapore grew, and so did the school. Growing over six decades and through four campuses, SAS has satisfied the real needs of families and provides students from preschool to grade 12 with an exemplary American education with an international perspective.

State-of-the-art Infrastructure and Facilities

Singapore American School is a non-profit school with over 600 faculty and staff. The school has 388 faculty members, 74 percent of whom have earned master’s degrees or PhDs. The school invests heavily in professional development and continually sends teachers across the globe to discover innovative ideas and best practices from influential educational institutions.

There are 3,970 students from over 50 nationalities enrolled at SAS.

An SAS education involves deep and lasting learning in an academic community among people with varied learning styles, experiences, cultures, and global perspectives.

State-of-the-art facilities on a 36-acre campus include four libraries, modern science laboratories, three auditoriums, five air-conditioned gymnasiums, two outdoor covered play areas, three swimming pools, three cafeterias, five tennis courts, a 1000-seat stadium, track and field, baseball, softball, soccer, rugby fields, and an air-conditioned climbing wall.

With open and airy walkways, tropical courtyards throughout the campus and a 1.6 acre natural rainforest, SAS students have the place and space to explore areas of interest and pursue their passions; all while being nurtured in a tight-knit community.

The Strategic Anchors

SAS is renowned for its commitment towards innovative education, personalized learning, and extraordinary care. With a mission to provide each student an exemplary American educational experience with an international perspective, SAS is committed to providing innovative education. While the institute strives towards the vision, SAS recognizes that to be truly exemplary, they need to have an organizational culture that is well-defined and deliberate. As such, they have identified three essential cultural components or ‘strategic anchors’:

  • Culture of Excellence,
  • Culture of Extraordinary Care and
  • Culture of Possibilities

These three strategic anchors guide the vision for the future of SAS and have created a filter that helps them to make every decision, and pursue every activity in the best interest of the students.

Cultivating Excellence with Extraordinary Academic Programs

SAS is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and offers a growing number of advanced studies courses for students who wish to pursue college-level study while still in high school.

Learning at SAS is a process of discovery and transformation by pursuing individual passions and encountering new ways of viewing the world. The high school courses are directly aligned to the vision of SAS and foster the skills students need to develop into exceptional thinkers. SAS programs are designed to prepare students for the demands of the 21st Century and provide students with additional opportunities to differentiate themselves in the college application process.

The SAS world language program offers instruction in three different languages: Chinese, French, and Spanish. The goal of the World Language program is to establish an understanding of the respective cultures and to develop language proficiency through a focus on communicative ability. SAS also launched a Chinese Immersion program in Kindergarten in the 2017-18 school year.

The SAS Catalyst Project

The SAS catalyst project is a cultural, instructional, and course-specific student-directed self-study project where high schoolers work with a mentor in a relevant field on a school-based to the work-based learning experience, aimed at a specific and strategic, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound goal. Every project is a minimum of one semester long and students are challenged to design and create their own learning experience by pursuing an area of interest. They get to merge their passions with academic learning and develop academically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally. As students design, plan, and conduct their projects, they are taught how to employ regional and global professional networks in and beyond Singapore, starting by working with a mentor from an academic field or profession related to their passions.

The world-class teachers in SAS provide student-centered guidance, support, and extraordinary flexibility, focusing instruction on the school’s desired student learning outcomes, development, and assessment within authentic contexts such as work studies, apprenticeships, internships, and scientific research. Mentors offer students greater meaning, purpose, and insight while they work on their projects, bringing highly relevant knowledge, skills, and experiences through authentic guidance and real-world opportunities.

Exploring Life beyond Comfort Zone at SAS

SAS has a rich history and heritage, producing exemplary graduates who achieve lifetimes of success. It maintains a staggeringly good track record of graduate success, with 100 percent of last year’s seniors gaining acceptance to universities all over the world or enrolled in Singapore National Service. Among the universities that SAS grads have gone on to are University of Cambridge, Columbia University, Cornell, MIT, the University of Oxford, and Harvard.

At SAS, students are afforded every possible opportunity to explore interests, delve into passions, and discover their true self through experiences that ultimately shape them. Students gain experiences that are incomparable to any other school; experiences that open their eyes, not just to their own potential, but to the untold potential of professional life after study.

The academic visitors-in-residence program brings renowned authors, illustrators, artists, and actors to campus to work with students. The program allows students to understand the craft and work of professional artists and develop relevant learning skills in relation to creativity and different modes of communication. These visits result in a greater sense of community that connects the head and the heart.

At SAS students across all divisions, are given plentiful opportunities to participate in service learning. Students participate in a direct or indirect action, advocacy, or research, and present their findings in a public forum. Service learning at SAS focuses on building partnerships and contributing to the community.

Let’s Meet the Astute Leader of SAS

Dr. Chip Kimball is the Superintendent of Singapore American School, one of the largest single-campus international schools in the world. Since his arrival, Dr. Kimball has led SAS through a process of continuous improvement building on a rich legacy of success. This “R&D” process is resulting in more project-based learning, interdisciplinary courses, curriculum supporting 21st century learning outcomes, personalized learning, language immersion programs, advisory, and new advanced topics course offerings. Under Dr. Kimball’s leadership, professional learning communities have become central to the school’s work, resulting in recognition as one of the only model PLC schools outside of the US.

Dr. Kimball joined SAS after 16 years where he served as chief technology officer, assistant superintendent, and deputy superintendent before becoming superintendent in 2007 in the Lake Washington school district (WA). His work in Lake Washington resulted in multiple awards and recognition as one of the most innovative school districts in the United States. In 2010, Dr. Kimball was awarded a national award for technology leadership and was also awarded Superintendent of the Year by the Washington Library Media Association. Prior to Lake Washington, he worked for the California Center for School Restructuring, providing leadership to 144 schools in 101 districts implementing education reform.

The Golden Pages of Glory

As a pioneering school on the leading edge of innovation, SAS has undergone a rigorous multi-year research and development process with administrators and faculty visiting more than 100 forward-thinking and innovative schools worldwide. The process challenged deeply held assumptions, engaged faculty, and took on the challenge of transforming an existing successful school to better serve students well into the future. The exercise resulted in the strategic plan of SAS which focuses on five priorities: professional learning communities, a standards-based approach, high-impact instructional practices, pastoral care, and systems that support learning. In a culture of excellence, SAS students have all kinds of opportunities for growth and success.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 which successfully lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United States, and sent the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. This spacecraft was carrying an experiment built by SAS students — the first-ever experiment to be sent to space by high schoolers in Singapore.

Kartikye Mittal, a 2016 graduate, used his SAS achievements to find his way into the world-renowned UC Berkeley. After being granted permission to complete a one-semester internship at Stanford, Kartikye used the opportunity to work on PocketQube Sat for his senior project.

Within a culture of possibilities, like at SAS, students are continually encouraged to achieve dreams they have yet to dream of and believe that nothing is impossible in the pursuit of excellence.

Words of Trust

It’s hard to boil down my experiences into one defining achievement, but at the end of the day, I am most proud of having been able to secure my future for the next four years. Applying to and affording college, and generally knowing where I would be in a year’s time has been a defining challenge during my senior year.  

(Faisal Halabeya, Class of 2018) *attending Boston College

Eleven Advanced Placement classes. Cranking out art pieces week after week. Endless hours practicing after school sports. SAS taught me to understand my potential and my limits and how far I could challenge myself. It taught me to be realistic and prioritize my tasks.

My track coaches have been my biggest inspirations. In four years of varsity track, I was lucky to have met adults that truly care about their team, not just as athletes, but as people. Mr. Shriner, Mr. Moineau, and Mr. Coppell would put in countless hours for us on top of what their coaching positions entailed.

With its unique offering, combining elements of a liberal arts college with that of a research university, Tufts’ emphasis on interdisciplinary will make it easy for me to study history and anthropology. I’m excited to have the opportunity to take courses in subjects that weren’t offered in high school.

– (Andrea Horn, Class of 2018) *attending Tufts University

Recent Posts