Taipei American School
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Taipei American School (traditional Chinese: 台北美國學校; simplified Chinese: 台北美国学校; pinyin: Táiběi Měiguó Xuéxiào; Wade–Giles: T'ai-pei Mei-kuo Hsüeh-hsiao; abbreviation TAS) is a private independent school with an American-based curriculum located in Tianmu (T'ien-mu), Shilin District (Shih-lin), Taipei City.
Founded in 1949, the school served as a U.S. Department of Defense contract school during the U.S. military presence in Taiwan from the 1950s to 1970s. Upon the termination of diplomatic relations between the United States and the ROC in 1979, TAS was reorganized into a private international school. The school is operated by the Taipei American School Foundation under contract to the American Institute in Taiwan, the United States' quasi-embassy in Taiwan.
Most graduates of TAS go on to attend colleges and universities in United States, although some choose to attend schools in other countries. As required by ROC law, TAS admits only students who hold foreign (i.e. non-ROC) passports.
The first meeting of Taipei American School took place on September 26, 1949, in the basement of Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Zhongshan North Road, with eight students. This marked the beginning of the "missionary era" where Taiwanese and American medical missionaries were instrumental in founding TAS and providing it with students. The first class of students included American, European, and Taiwanese students.
By 1951, the influx of missionaries and business people escaping from the communist victory in mainland China caused enrollment to grow to 120 students. By 1952, TAS was forced to relocate to Nong'an East Road to provide space for the growing student population.
In 1953, the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group was established in Taiwan. This brought to the island a large number of U.S. military personnel. Along with these military personnel came their families, including children needing an American-style education. TAS became the school for the children of the U.S. military personnel. In the summer of 1953, TAS constructed a much larger campus at Chang'an East Road.
In 1956, TAS graduated its first class of 14 seniors. By then, the Chang'an campus had approximately 50 faculty members and 1,000 students. In 1957, Mr. Wayne Nesbitt served as the first superintendent of the school.
In 1959, TAS purchased a 22 acre (89,000 m²) site in Shilin for a new campus. In March 1960, the kindergarten and lower school moved into a 36-classroom 5-wing complex on the site. The upper school remained at the Chang'an campus until 1964, when the last upper school facilities were completed. By 1969, TAS enrollment reached its highest point ever with nearly 3,000 students.
Bordered on two sides by a river, the Shilin campus was prone to flooding during the typhoons experienced on Taiwan when the protective dikes were breached. Cleanup took several days as classrooms were dried out and mud and silt was removed.
In the 1970s Taiwan's transforming economy brought foreign businessmen and overseas Chinese into the local economy, setting the stage for TAS's later transformation, even as enrollment shrank dramatically as U.S. military pulled out of Taiwan. By the late seventies, student enrollment dropped to approximately 700 students. Within a few years, enrollment started to increase again as overseas Chinese with foreign passports arrived in Taiwan searching for American educational facilities for their children. By the early eighties, the majority of students were ethnically Taiwanese and also U.S. citizens.
In September 1989, TAS relocated to its present campus in Tianmu. To obtain use of the government land in Tianmu, TAS exchanged title to its Shihlin property for a long-term lease on the Tianmu site at a concessionary rent.
The 50th anniversary of Taipei American School was celebrated in 1999. As part of this celebration, TAS published a book documenting the history of the school: "Ties That Bind", authored by former director Richard Vuylsteke. In 2009, TAS celebrated its sixtieth anniversary.
The current 15-acre (61,000 m2) campus, completed in 1989, consists of a four-story complex with approximately 200 classrooms. In September 2010, TAS broke ground for the construction of three new buildings on its current campus: the new upper school building featuring science and technology classrooms with research and robotics laboratories, the Liu Lim Arts Center, and another gymnasium with covered and outdoor tennis courts.
- Wireless campus
- 700-seat auditorium, a small theater, and lecture hall
- A blackbox theater
- Instrumental practice rooms
- 2 weight/fitness rooms
- Cafeteria with two hot meal lines, a snack bar, a salad bar, a pizza bar, a baked potato bar
- An outdoor Fitness Cafe beside the upper school library
- Three gymnasiums, which are used for basketball, badminton, indoor volleyball, robotics competitions, and large informal school assemblies
- An indoor 25m swimming pool
- Indoor rock climbing room
- Tiger Health and Wellness Center
- Indoor tennis courts and terrace outdoor tennis courts
- Three dance studios
- Outdoor basketball courts and confidence course
- A softball field made of artificial turf(installed in 2009)
- An artificial turf field surrounded by a 400m track
- Five libraries: lower school, middle school, upper school (Joanna Nichols Information Commons), Mandarin, and audio visual (AV)
- Video production studio and computer lab
- IT department with two student help desks supporting the grade 6-12 one-to-one laptop program
- Lower school computer labs and netbook trolleys
- Middle school and upper school robotics labs, with CNC milling machines, lathes, bandsaws, 3D printers, laser cutters, and full complement of hand and power tools supporting programs in MATE underwater ROV, Robocup soccer Junior, FIRST FRC, and VEX
- A separate recreational area for seniors in what is called the Legacy Commons
- A space for informal meetings, parent coffees and assemblies in what was formerly used as Faculty Dining Room.
TAS is divided into three divisions: lower, middle, and upper schools. The lower school (elementary) includes pre-kindergarten (known as Kindergarten A), kindergarten, and grades 1 through 5. The middle school (junior high) includes grades 6 through 8. The upper school (high school) includes grades 9 through 12. Each division is run by a principal and assistant principal.
The superintendent serves as school head. The Taipei American School Board of Directors consists of nine members, each elected to a three-year term of office. Board members serve without compensation and have the primary task of formulating and evaluating all school policies and overseeing the school’s financial affairs. It is their responsibility to see that the resources are in place to support excellence in all areas, always prioritizing the interests of the students first. The Board meets monthly and invites parents and faculty to attend these meetings. Board members are elected by the Taipei American School Association, which consists of all parents or guardians of children attending TAS.
The combined KA-12 school enrollment is approximately 2,291. TAS abides by the Republic of China Foreign Schools Law, which requires all international schools to only admit students who hold non-ROC passports.
The lower school is PK to Grade 5, the middle school is Grades 6-8, and the upper school is Grades 9-12 which is a college preparatory program leading to a TAS U.S. high school diploma or an International Baccalaureate diploma. Almost 100 percent of TAS graduates continue their education at a college or university, the vast majority in the United States. TAS offers support services for mild learning needs.
Blue & Gold
The "Blue & Gold" is the school newspaper. Produced monthly, the newspaper is usually eight A3 full-color pages. Previously known as Paws, the Blue & Gold newspaper has won awards from the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA).
- Christina Chang, class of 1989, actress who appeared in numerous American TV shows including CSI Miami, West Wing, 24, etc. She appeared in several motion pictures, including Live Free or Die Hard, Random Hearts, etc.
- Nita Ing, Taiwanese executive and the former CEO of the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation.
- Linda Arrigo, class of 1966, is a democracy activist and former DPP chairman Shih Ming-teh's ex-wife 
- Sylvia Chang, class of 1972, Taiwan actress and director who appeared in movies such as Eat Drink Man Woman and The Red Violin 
- Fei Xiang, also known as Kris Phillips, is a Taiwanese-American singer whose credits include being in the original Broadway cast of Miss Saigon.
- Takeshi Kaneshiro, class of 1992, is a Taiwanese-Japanese actor whose films include Perhaps Love, Returner, House of Flying Daggers, Turn Left, Turn Right, and Chungking Express.
- Freya Lim, class of 1998, a singer in Taiwan.
- Wilber Pan, class of 1999, a VJ host, actor and singer.
- Lara Veronin, class of 2006, former member of the Taiwanese band Nan Quan Mama, which is directed by Taiwanese singer Jay Chou.
- Andrew Chou, class of 2008, a member of the Taiwanese group, Machi.
- Aimee Sun (孫芸芸) a Taiwanese socialite, media personality, and jewelry designer. She is a co-founder of Breeze Center (微風廣場), a shopping mall located in Taipei.
Sports and organizations
- Upper School sports teams and groups, whose mascot is the tiger, compete with members of Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools (IASAS), as well as local international and Taiwanese schools, clubs, and universities.
- Varsity teams include volleyball, soccer, cross Country, rugby, basketball, tennis, swimming, softball, badminton, and track and field teams.
- Non-athletic groups participate in events with other IASAS schools include art, dance, drama, music, debate, and forensics (individual events).
- Students participate in Model United Nations with students from IASAS and other regional schools.
- Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
- Member of the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS).
- Member of Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools (IASAS)
TAS participates in competitive sports and cultural exchanges with the following Southeast Asian international schools:
- International School Bangkok - Bangkok, Thailand
- International School of Kuala Lumpur - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- International School Manila - Manila, Philippines
- Jakarta International School - Jakarta, Indonesia
- Singapore American School - Singapore
- Taipei European School
- Dominican International School
- Morrison Academy
- Kaohsiung American School
- American School in Taichung
- Taipei Japanese School
- Pacific American School
- Official website
- Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools official website
- Taipei Youth Program Association
- U.S. Department of State
- East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS)