Welcome to Kaohsiung American School. We open our doors this year to greet 800 students, a record enrollment for the 12th consecutive year. The 2016-2017 school year will include the opening of Phase 2 of our major construction project in November that includes a new cafeteria, indoor gymnasium and swimming pool, weight room, dance studio, soccer field, two outdoor basketball/volleyball courts, and a tennis court/all-purpose play field for elementary school students on the roof of the cafeteria. Yes, by the second semester we will have a beautiful, state-of- the-art, LEED (silver) certified school. Our facilities are spectacular and enhance our ability to offer all of our students, pre-K through 12th grade, a “First-Class” education. We are truly a School of the three A’s (Academics, Arts, Athletics) and as fine a liberal arts school as you can find in all of Asia and perhaps the world.
In addition to impressive enhancements to KAS facilities, we will see academic improvements as well. The Middle School is in the second year of the Middle Years Program (MYP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB). At the High School, we continue to add new courses such as Forensics, IBHL Physics, Advanced PE, Drama, and Language in Societies to better meet the growing needs of our students, and at our Elementary School we have added a second class to kindergarten, to give us 2 classes in all elementary school grades. These classes will allow us to decrease class size. We also have our first, full-time Middle School Principal.
With the completion of our staffing for this year, we were again impressed with the continued quality and high number of teaching applicants, and we are pleased with our new additions to the KAS family. We are fortunate to have a very low rate of teacher turnover, and our professional development continues to be excellent. Members of our faculty are always excited to study the latest research in education and information technology, in order to remain current with best practices in these areas and to improve their own teaching. The quality of teaching at KAS is exceptional! In science and English, for example, each department has three staff members with Master’s Degrees and a fourth with a Ph.D. Nearly three-quarters of our entire staff hold advanced Degrees, and virtually all are highly qualified and educated in their specific teaching area. In brief, students matriculating at KAS are receiving a very high level of instruction each and every day.
The true pride of our School is the student body. It all begins with our recently graduated Class of 2016. College placements were excellent, once again, and something we have come to expect each year. From UCLA, Harvey Mudd, and UC Berkeley (3 acceptances) in the western USA, to Bowdoin, Boston College, Duke, NYU, and Parsons (3 attending) in the Northeast and Mideast; and from the University of Toronto in Canada to the University of Notre Dame and Ohio State in Middle America, graduating seniors earned their way into many top US and Canadian colleges and universities, as well as excellent schools in the UK and several other countries. In addition, many earned very generous scholarships to these schools. We are very proud of all our graduates, and the Class of 2016 continued this tradition of most KAS graduates earning their admission to the colleges of their choice. As we look ahead to the Class of 2017, we see a truly fantastic group of students with a near guarantee of success in their college acceptances. We also know that these new seniors will lead their classmates in a positive direction by continuing to be the wonderful role models that they have been throughout their time at KAS. We held our second Alumni Reunion right after the Class of 2016 graduated with nearly 50 attending. This event was a special opportunity to catch up with many former KAS students and to show off our brand new school facility. We were certainly impressed to see how well these KAS graduates were doing with several attending medical schools or already practicing medicine, others being successful in the business world, attending graduate school, or finding success in the computer field. Applications for admissions to KAS continue to increase, as does the size of our waiting list of students we are unable to admit. Admission to most grade levels was closed by late spring this year. As a result of this increased interest from prospective KAS students, we become very selective in acceptances. We have already reached our capacity of 800 students. With a committed School Board, supportive parents, dedicated staff, and respectful, hard-working students, everything is in place for this year to be an incredible year at KAS. We look forward to the 2016-2017 school year with excitement, confidence, and very high expectations for students and staff alike. We wish every member of the KAS family a year filled with happiness and a positive educational experience.
Dr. Thomas Farrell