December 9, 2021

Dear Parents,

As there are many updates given the new schedule you can find in our HS edition of SPOTS this week, I wanted to just spend a few minutes writing about the support layers we have here in the high school. The reason for writing about these is that it has been communicated with us that they did not realize all the ways in which we do support all learners.

Although you are aware of CREW, we have smaller CREW classes for some students who we believe would benefit from a more individualized and personal environment. These students engage in the same curriculum and community building activities as their peers. Their CREW teacher who oversees their personal well being development over time.

If any teacher or counselor has a behavior, academic or socio-emotional concern, we have a referral system in place for our community to flag students.  These referrals then go to our SIT team (Student Intervention Team) which meets weekly. This includes the HS Administration, all counselors and those who need to attend on a needs basis (Head of Inclusion, specific teachers, IB coordinator).  During these meetings we discuss students on an individual basis, the area of concern and next steps of support. The following week, our top agenda points are following up on the students identified to determine if the intervention in place worked and how else we can support students.

Academically we have several programs, a new program is entitled ‘Goal Diggers’ these are for students who have come out of last academic year needing additional support.  Instead of the traditional ‘academic probation’ we shifted our focus to a supportive one in which students are linked with a mentor who is either myself, our two Assistant Principals, our Dean or our Director of Academic pathways.  These students set their own goals and have frequent personal check-ins with their mentors. 

The ethos in the high school is that ‘no one falls through the cracks’.  All students will be supported how and when they need it. We love your children as our own and are so proud of how they progress and blossom before our eyes.  We also urge you to keep in contact as you have been about your son or daughter as it really does take a village!

Thank you for all your continued support and enjoy these next three weeks (plus a day!) together.

With Gratitude,

Tammy Jochinke

change in schedule

As you are aware, our school hours have changed by the recent realignment of the UAE work week. When looking at our new schedule, we wanted to ensure that there was minimal disruption and change to our students and staff. We are excited to see how the extension to the weekend may improve the well-being of our community. Just a reminder, we will start back to school on Monday, January 3rd, 2022 on Day 6 of the schedule.

With this in mind, our schedule will be:

winter break

We look forward to welcoming you all back to school in person January 3rd. Please note that online learning access is not granted unless there is a documented severe medical need that is approved by the DHA. 

final exams schedule for the 1st semester

As we break for the winter holiday, we wanted to share with you the HS Exam schedule for Semester 1. Some of our subjects are having their assessments outside the exam week window. Further information will be available when we return in January.

duke of edinburgh ia team building

On Thursday 18th November some of our D of E award students went along to RAK to participate in a Team building exercise. Each student and teacher got a  kayak and played games out in the water such as ‘Who could sit on the furthest tip of the kayak without tipping it”, “Turning the kayak upside down and sitting on it”, “Tag the Kayak with your country building up a team as you caught each country.” The student got very comfortable jumping in and out of the water. They then brought these to shore and made a water slide out of an upside down kayak.

After lunch all the students worked as a team to build a raft that would float and fit all of them on top. They did a great job and were able to work as a team to sail it around in the water. Some more games were introduced whilst on the raft such as rotating everyone's positions whilst on the water. Lots of balancing and focus was required.

student visit to safe center for autism

On Tuesday 30th of November, a group of our students from the Operation Smile club ran a hugely successful visit to the Safe Center for Autism in Al Barsha. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and they did great work putting on puppet shows, face painting and running art activities for the children at the center. Special credit goes to Noor Darwish, Mia Nachef and Hanna Maouche who visited the center beforehand, carefully planned the activities and ensured the day went smoothly. Hopefully, this is the first of many visits we can organize!

scientific miracle exhibition

On Sunday December 5th, the HS Islamic Department, celebrated grade 11 students’ amazing work through an opening ceremony of the “Scientific Miracle Exhibition” in the atrium. 

Students worked on this project to prove with empirical evidence that the miracles mentioned in the Quran are able to be justified through the means of modern science. Students embarked on this journey with research about scientific miracles of their choice, and then narrowed down the topic and found it’s specific alignment with a standard of science covered in the school syllabus.

As the exhibition is open for all DAA staff and students, we welcomed several classes from the elementary and middle school, who shared their learning process with our grade 11 students.

Stay tuned for a video which will provide you with a virtual tour through our “Scientific Miracle Exhibition”.

HS Islamic Department

holiday door decorating in crew

The halls have been joyful the last week because of the efforts of our students in their CREW classes to decorate their classroom doors for the winter season.  Each CREW class worked together to design, create, and build a themed door, reinforcing community and relationships. A big thank you to the students and teachers for making the school feel so festive! 

ib corner

HS CORE Corner 9.12.pdf

high school counseling

12.8.21 SPOTS HS Counseling .pdf

national honor society

The DAA Chapter of the National Honor Society proudly held its first Induction Ceremony on the 28th of November. 79 members were officially inducted. The members and their two selected guests were able to gather together for this memorable evening to celebrate. 

The ceremony included a series of musical performances by the talented inductees: Nancy Yiwei Xu, Samuel Tianyu Zhou, Lea Assaad, and Farah Lahiani all performed, accompanied by inspiring speeches by the executive council and distinguished guests Ms. Jochinke and Ms. Murphy. Chapter president, Ananya Sharma also shared her aspirations and hopes for this year, and the new inductees took the pledge to bind their commitment and loyalty to the NHS. 

Now that the NHS chapter has become officially inducted, they will begin projects in order to promote the four pillars of scholarship, leadership, service, and character throughout the high  school.

hs library news: digital library launch!

We have such exciting news from our HS Library: We’ve gone digital!

Sora is the school-facing front of Overdrive, the largest digital library collection used by many public libraries around the world. With Sora, students can take out eBooks and audiobooks with the click of a button, then read them on any web browser on any device, or even read directly from the app. It’s super easy to use and means you now have access to our collection no matter where in the world you roam! 

We’re excited to push this out to our community right before the winter break. Now when you hop on your flight, you’ll have our library at your fingertips!

Check out the tutorial below or click on this Sora App link to get started! Use your school Gmail (.net) login to access our library collection.

GEMS Alumni app

Seniors! Have you registered for the alumni APP?  Remember to stay connected beyond DAA using the app.  Here's a link to register for an upcoming session.   Register for the alumni webinar HERE.


HS General Email: 


HS Attendance Secretary

Roma Agtarap / 04 704 9747 / r.agtarap_daa@gemsedu.com

HS Secretary to Principals

Nashmia Saleem/ 04 704 9723 / n.saleem1_daa@gemsedu.com 

HS Secretary to Counselors

Alvin Agtarap/04 704 9831 / a.agtarap_daa@gemsedu.com 
Gr 9: Ms. JoAnn Porterfield A-Z https://jporterfielddaa.youcanbook.me  
Grades 10-12: Katrina Watson: (A-B) https://katrinawatson-4.youcanbook.me/  
Rhiana Courlander: (C-I) https://rhiana-2.youcanbook.me  
Phillip Wenturine: (J-Phi) https://mrphillipwenturine.youcanbook.me/  
Trisha Johnson: (Phil-Z) https://mstrishajohnson.youcanbook.me/  
HS Principal: Tammy Jochinket.jochinke_daa@gemsedu.com
Assistant HS Principal: Jim Atkinsonj.atkinson_daa@gemsedu.com
Assistant HS Principal: Joshua Doubledayj.doubleday_daa@gemsedu.com
High School IB Coordinator: Katie Sheffieldk.sheffield_daa@gemsedu.com
High School Dean of Students: Tara Oswaldt.oswald_daa@gemsedu.com