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SAS History

Shanghai American School has a long history in China's largest city. SAS first opened its doors on September 17, 1912, with 38 students. 

By the 1920s, SAS had attracted over 500 students from kindergarten through grade 12. Students came from expatriate missionary, diplomatic, and business families. Many of them went on to distinguished careers in academia, research, medicine, or diplomatic work. 

SAS closed in 1950, following the change in government in China. The school reopened in 1980 on the grounds of the U.S. Consulate. A growing foreign community quickly drew increased enrollment, prompting a move in 1989 to the campus of the Shanghai Number 3 Girls' Middle School. When that campus became too small, SAS moved to two new locations—one in suburban Zhudi Town, in Puxi (the west side of Shanghai), and the other in Pudong (the east side of Shanghai). 

From 1980 until 1992, the school offered classes only through grade 8. Beginning with the 1992-93 school year, a middle school was established for grades 6 to 8, and in 1993-94, a grade 9 was added. At this time, the Associated Student Body became active and the first SAS dance since 1949 was held. Beginning with the 1994-95 school year, grades 10, 11, and 12 were added and SAS began to provide the complete pre-K through grade 12 educational program that thrives today.

The Pudong campus moved into new facilities in 1998 and the Puxi campus completed the move to its new campus at the start of the 2000-01 academic year. Since then, facilities on both campuses have been continually expanded and improved, and academic programs have kept pace with enrollment in both scope and enhanced sophistication.

The school’s growth since reopening has been tremendous: from approximately 20 students in 1980, it has grown to more than 3000 for the 2013-14 academic year. SAS is now the largest international school in China. SAS students come from more than 40 countries, will nearly the 400 SAS teachers coming from over 27 countries. 

SAS is proud of its unique history—and of its active alumni, many of whom who were students during the pre-1949 period.

A rich past, and proud history.

Inspiring traditions, visiting alumni celebrate 100 years.

Historical Photos

A Glimpse into SAS History

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