Signature Programs

Only at SAS

The student experience at SAS is truly unmatched, thanks in part to these Signature Programs designed exclusively by and for SAS. In our unique environment, where faculty and students are limited only by their imaginations, some pretty unique opportunities have been created. We build better ways of learning right within our own walls, and also craft compelling new ways to let the world be our classroom. 

Mongolia China Alive
Innovation Institute Video

Imagine if, for two years, half a student’s academic schedule revolved around open-ended, complex questions on humanity’s most pressing problems. Welcome to Innovation Institute, where teachers from four different disciplines fuel project-based learning, and the students become deeply critical thinkers with cutting edge skills to navigate and lead in modern society.


TheEleven is the best senior experience a junior can have. Here, our grade 11 students embark on a fun, productive, community-building time that gives them a jumpstart on their college application process before grade 12 even starts. TheEleven is a one-of-a-kind, intensive, week-long retreat program where our college counselors, outside experts, and SAS faculty work with our grade 11 students to scaffold their transition to the grade 12 year. So if they’re not totally ready for senior year, well, they soon will be.


Each fall, the entire freshmen classes of SAS Pudong and SAS Puxi embark on a five-day long journey. As groups, the 9th grade classes of our campuses are immersed in Chinese culture, while examining their role as young people today. They learn more about themselves and their peers through adventure, reflection, and goal-setting. They work as a community to lay the foundation for the high school story ahead, because for SAS freshmen, TheNine is high school’s first chapter.



With the arrival of Covid-19, SAS was forced to focus on student learning that took place within the gates of our two campuses. The presence of travel restrictions required the school to put a pause on most of the time, effort, and energy devoted to off-campus student learning adventures, known collectively as Menwai (“Outside the Gates”) learning. 

Despite a challenging, uncertain travel context during the 2020-21 school year, SAS continued to look ahead and build programs, anticipating a time when Menwai learning could resume for all students and teachers. This year, two full rosters of students, one from each SAS campus, were warmly welcomed back to the village that has been visited by 300 SAS students since 2012. 

Closer to home, small groups of students were able to make their way beyond the gates of SAS to learn about and explore more of their home city, Shanghai. SAS’s long overdue return to the Menwai world was greeted with enthusiasm and a renewed appreciation for the opportunity to transfer student skills, habits, and knowledge to a context beyond the gates of the school.