Today, the Getting Smart team is going international. Tom recently visited the Singapore American School (for his second time!) and is incredibly excited to share all about the signs of progress happening over there.
With a tradition of academic excellence, Singapore American School serves 4,000 preschool to 12th-grade students. After serving as a District Superintendent in Washington State, Dr. Chip Kimball joined SAS as Superintendent in 2012. The board asked Kimball to make the school as good at life prep as it was at college prep. The six-year transformation that ensued is a remarkable story of reinvention at scale.
In this episode, Tom speaks with Dr. Chip Kimball, along with Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Sparrow, who has deep roots at SAS and has been with them for 20 years (10 of those having led the academic team). Together, they tell Tom the SAS story and all of the exciting progress that has been happening — from talent, to care and guidance, to high-impact instructional strategies.
[:15] About today’s episode with Tom, Chip Kimball, and Jennifer Sparrow.
[1:10] Tom welcomes Chip and Jennifer to the podcast.
[1:21] Tom’s and Chip’s background together, and why Chip decided to join SAS in 2012.
[2:50] Chip’s progress in shaping SAS’s education and facility.
[5:26] Jennifer’s background as an international educator, and what originally drew her to SAS.
[8:12] Tom highlights some of the remarkable progress at Singapore American School since he last visited (two years ago), such as the talent agenda.
[11:18] Jennifer’s and Chip’s thoughts on fostering talent and the importance of their institutional commitments.
[14:18] About SAS’s professional learning communities (PLC.)
[15:20] Jennifer speaks about how they continue to support, encourage, and monitor their PLC practices.
[17:05] Chip speaks about some of the investments that they’ve made to strengthen their PLC practices.
[20:44] Tom highlights another sign of remarkable progress at Singapore American School: care and guidance (such as adding more social-emotional programming). Jennifer and Chip speak about their work towards this and the progress they’ve made.
[22:53] Two more signs of remarkable progress at Singapore American School: better response intervention and PLC (What if kids don’t get it? How do we intervene? And if they do get it, how do we accelerate their learning?)
[26:11] Why Chip decided to break the roles of college counseling and pastor of care into two.
[30:27] Jennifer and Chip speak about the next step to the work that starts with responsive classrooms: advisory.
[32:29] A focal point of SAS: mentoring (both for students and from students).
[34:24] Jennifer and Chip talk high impact instructional strategies at SAS.
[37:40] What is “try time” for students in middle school?
[43:23] About SAS’s three tiers of inquiry-based learning.
[45:33] About SAS’s personalized inquiry catalyst graduation requirement.
[47:45] One of SAS’s most ambitious changes: becoming a leading AP factory and then scaling that back by strategically replacing AP courses with more advanced topic courses created by teachers and college faculty.
[52:10] Another academic area SAS is making huge progress in — competency-based learning.
[56:03] About SAS’s new learning spaces on campus.
[1:02:57] Tom congratulates Chip and Jennifer in the progress they’ve made at SAS.
If You Enjoyed Learning about Singapore American school, be sure to check out:
Episode 162: “Personalize Learning and Build Agency by Using the 4 PLC Questions,” featuring Tim Stuart.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Singapore American School
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