Shanghai American School

4.25  / 5
Country:# 9
Region:# 27
Overall:# 41
Shanghai, China
Score Over Time:

Category Scores:


Additional Information:

Grade Levels:

Review Summary:


Question 1:

The facilities of the school adequately provide for a positive learning/working experience.

9 / 10
Question 2:

School provides adequate access to teaching materials without any extra expense by the teacher (books, lab supplies, art supplies, materials, copying, etc.

9.7 / 10
Question 3:

School is well funded to provide students and faculty with adequate materials to support their course offering.

9.8 / 10
Question 4:

Parent community is actively involved in supporting the school's mission and their child's education endeavors.

8.2 / 10
Question 5:

Classroom student to teacher ratios are kept low.

8.8 / 10


Question 6:

Students are generally of high aptitude.

8.5 / 10
Question 7:

Student interactions with faculty are primarily characterized by respectability.

9 / 10
Question 8:

Students are of diverse ethnicity.

6.5 / 10


Question 9:

Administration positively supports faculty in a professional manner.

8.3 / 10
Question 10:

Administration actively encourages a dialogue concerning school related issues.

9.3 / 10
Question 11:

Administration is actively engaged in developing/supporting/maintaining a clear school vision.

7 / 10
Question 12:

Administration makes sure that the financial stability and integrity of the school is well maintained.

8 / 10
Question 13:

Administration/Ownership uses school funds to support the well being of the school.

8.7 / 10


Question 14:

Salary scale is competitive.

8.3 / 10
Question 15:

Salary provides the opportunity to save appropriately.

8.8 / 10
Question 16:

Salary provides the opportunity to travel during vacation.

8.8 / 10
Question 17:

Salary scale provides for vertical and horizontal movement based on years of experience and/or units/degree's earned.

8.8 / 10


Question 18:

School provides a quality health insurance plan that covers all major medical (health, vision, dental.

8.5 / 10
Question 19:

School provides retirement benefits that are competitive.

8.7 / 10
Question 20:

School provides a health insurance plan that covers international travel/coverage.

9 / 10
Question 21:

School provides for faculty child tuition benefits.

9 / 10
Question 22:

School provides strong support for maternity benefits.

8.3 / 10
Question 23:

School provides an adequate amount for end of contract airfare cost.

8.2 / 10
Question 24:

School provides an adequate shipping allowance.

7.7 / 10


Question 25:

School provides quality available housing or a housing stipend that affords quality housing.

8.3 / 10
Question 26:

The proximity of housing in relation to school location is within an acceptable distance of travel.

9 / 10
Question 27:

Options of moving housing during the course of contract is acceptable.

8.2 / 10


Question 28:

Colleagues foster a welcoming environment to new faculty.

7.5 / 10
Question 29:

School hires a diversity of family structures (Singles, couples, families.

8.5 / 10
Question 30:

Colleagues foster a professional environment that supports growth.

8.5 / 10
Question 31:

Colleagues foster a personal support structure in place of family.

8.3 / 10


Question 32:

City the school resides in provides opportunities for things to do without having to travel

8.3 / 10
Question 33:

City the school resides in provides easy opportunities to travel to other places.

8.7 / 10
Question 34:

Local culture is apparent in the city/country in which the school resides.

8.3 / 10
Question 35:

Local culture of in which the school resides is open to integrating expats into local customs and traditions.

8 / 10
Question 36:

City/Country in which the school resides does not exact personal restrictions on lifestyle choices.

8.2 / 10
Question 37:

City/Country in which school resides provides for potential tax benefits.

7.8 / 10
Question 38:

Quality of local health care is excellent.

7.5 / 10
Question 39:

Cost of living in the city/country where school resides is reasonable.

7.7 / 10
Question 40:

City the school resides in has excellent infrastructure for mass transportation (e.g. - is a car required.

8 / 10
Question 41:

City/Country in which the school resides provides for adequate personal safety.

8.8 / 10

Professional Development:

Question 42:

School makes available a variety of professional development opportunities.

8.7 / 10
Question 43:

School makes available funds to support continued development.

8.8 / 10
Question 44:

Time is specifically set aside in the calendar for faculty and staff formation.

8.3 / 10
Question 45:

Faculty and Staff are encouraged to professionally grow by the school.

8.7 / 10
Question 46:

Faculty and Staff are encouraged to experiment, implement, and bring up new ideas for classroom innovation.

8.5 / 10

Settling In:

Question 47:

School meets you on arrival and escorts you to accommodations.

8.8 / 10
Question 48:

School provides an adequate orientation to the school and local culture upon arrival.

9.2 / 10
Question 49:

School provides an allowance to support the transition.

9 / 10

After Arrival:

Question 50:

Facilities of the school were well represented during the hiring process.

8 / 10
Question 51:

Contract is honored based on what was agreed upon during the hiring process.

8.8 / 10
Question 52:

School actively maintains a dialogue and support structure to make sure basic needs are being met.

9 / 10

Review Narratives:

6 reviews




PROS: The school hires excellent staff members, has great housing, is in a fun city, and is well funded. There are a ton of experiential learning opportunities and the families are easy to partner with (Eastern respect for teachers). Kids are easy to work with and of expected aptitude for international kids. Benefits package is competitive for the region and great when compared to other regions. The new administration is taking us a huge step forward as they are implementing much-needed systems and transparency. New staff are injecting energy and are keen to take the reins on forming new relationships - healing some of the old divides. CONS: There are a few terrible teachers from the "old guard" that hold us back. Much of the teaching is still direct instruction and traditional rather than progressive. We completely lack systems of communication, standards of policy, and transparency at the moment and the decisions are made top-down. Old staff have low morale and are generally negative - harboring old resentments that make it difficult to collaborate. Lack of standards is improving and lack of teaching and assessing standards is not. The admin seems to all have their own agendas - things they really want to see implemented - rather than pointing their staff in a direction and letting the faculty own their own growth. The air quality is bad in December and January, but getting better. Really tolerable in general. Students aren't as good as the old teachers say they are (in general they are comparable to other TCKs), and they have odd personality social quirks that can be quite difficult - especially since the parents are usually the culprits. OVERALL: Coming to this school from another tier 1 school is mostly a lateral move. It will frustrate you if you were at a more progressive school, but that's the nature of the international game - you're moving between schools that are at differing parts of the spectrum. SAS excels at offering a variety of experiences (although they are a bit disjointed and not well planned - but still impressive). It's best to come here with positivity because when you look from an outside perspective, SAS is as good as any. But it's easy to get into the quagmire of negativity that is pervasive.




No written review provided.




-- SAS is truly an amazing school in spite of some of the board issues and isolated admin issues (one principal who has left). The administrators are open and supportive. The teachers are high caliber and have high expectations for themselves and their colleagues. The parents are largely supportive if not a bit hands off. The kids are absolutely amazing with a small percentage of truly EAL and Academic Support kids per grade. The overall package affords the ability to save 50% or more of your salary. Most couples save at least $50,000 per year depending upon travel habits - travel can be a bit costly within and out of China (mostly air costs). The medical insurance is great and basic medical care is good as well. Most leave Shanghai for more extensive medical needs and the insurance provides for that very well. Pollution can be an issue, but it is an issue in most major cities with 20 million or more people (Delhi, Mexico City, Seoul, Jakarta, Manila, Cairo, etc.). Unless you are a PE teacher, you spend most of your time in buildings with filtered air and the number of good/acceptable air days far exceeds bad air days (maybe 15 days per year that we keep kids inside during recess). Housing on both campuses is nice and reasonably sized. After the first year you can stay in nice school housing or take a generous housing allowance and move into your own place. Some move downtown and others choose less expensive housing nearby and use the remaining allowance to pay their living expenses resulting in higher overall savings. Professional development is great. The school provides tons of time to collaborate with colleagues during the day. SAS brings in speakers and consultants and has two on-sight degree programs (MA and PhD). They also provide a reasonable level of funding for outside PD. Bottom line, if you are looking for a great school that is looking to the future of education, a great package, a great city to live in, and understand that no place is perfect, then SAS is a great place to consider.




Easily the best School in Shanghai: Pudong Campus




No written review provided.




This is one of the top international schools on any continent. It is also big -- the largest and oldest international school in China. Expectations are high and rewards are high. You will work very hard and undergo a lot of professional growth and career development. People generally stay a long time and turnover is relatively low. Teachers and administrators alike are professional educators and are working continually to improve the school and to reconcile the Eastern and Western ideals about educucation, which are somewhat in conflict. Thus it is a good school for ambitious, hard working professionals, but if you are teaching abroad to cruise and have a good time, you won't like it. You can live comfortably and save a lot of money, although inflation and taxes are increasing in China, while exchange rates for many western currencies are dropping. The health care and insurance situation is very good. As with any organization, there are a few problem areas. The IT environment tends to be unsophisticated, unstable and misdirected. Most staff people will tell you it is the largest single source of frustration and wasted time. The school's purchasing function doesn't seem to be on the same page as the rest of school, and sourcing/ordering/delivery problems are very common. The school favors hiring teaching couples and families who form homogeneous social groups, with the result that older single people often feel out of the social mainstream. Even though it is already the biggest international school in China, the board of trustees is packing in new students to the point where classrooms and facilities are bursting at the seams, but no one quite knows why. It could be related to a liability for back income taxes which the school accrued by trying to wish away tax law changes in recent years.