February 25, 2022

Dear Parents,

You said, we did! 

Clear, effective and timely communication

A continued thanks to all parents who provide us crucial feedback on how to continually improve our communication.  One piece of feedback we were given was around the grade level newsletters from our counseling team.  

Our newsletters are sent out on a monthly basis for grades 9-11 and on a weekly basis for seniors.  Critical information is found within these documents, and we will support students and parents in the following ways to highlight key pieces of information.

Parent’s most common questions or concerns are course related, and therefore we will always direct our parents to contact their son or daughter’s teacher first.

Counseling highlights

Last year our counseling office sent off 1,955 applications with students receiving just over one million dollars in scholarships. 

As of today, our counseling office has sent applications to universities around the world. As of February 14th we have already sent off 1,723 applications and the offers and scholarships keep rolling in. Our students, parents and counselors are hard at work and it is paying off!

HSC Updates

For our students traveling during HSC week, all trips have been rescheduled! Local trips are also moving forward, while our other experiences are in full planning mode.  Students who have not signed up for an experience are expected to plan for a work/job shadow/volunteer experience for the week of May 9-13.  

If you opted your child out of the trips, information on the refund process will be sent out by Ms. Oswald as soon as the finance office advises on that process. We appreciate your patience!


It’s an exciting time in our CREW classes right now, as all grade levels are addressing their social emotional learning needs while planning for the future. Grade 9 continues their exploration of their personal learning styles and how to extend compassion toward themselves and others. Grade 10 is focusing on support and respect and how those important skills help them create community.  Grade 11 students are working on self-management skills just in time for spring exams, while grade 12 students have begun work on their Ethics in the Real World project, completing one of the key MEA pillars. Also continuing in the coming weeks, grades 9-11 will pursue the course selection process as well, guided by counselors.  

2022/23 Course Selection

Current high school students may begin selecting their courses for the 2022/23 academic year on Monday, February 28th. Instructions on how to select courses will be communicated via email on Monday. Students and parents may research pathways to graduation and course options on the Subject Selection Website.

Please contact Ashley Szar, Director of High School Academic Pathways, should you have general questions regarding subject selection. 

Email: a.szar_daa@gemsedu.com

Student-specific subject selection courses can be addressed by your child’s counselor.

Counselor Contact Details

core corner

the month of reading

Month of Reading Formal Posts (2).pdf

high school counseling

2.24.21 SPOTS HS Counseling .pdf

duke of edinburgh practice adventurous journey

On February 13th, 32 High School students and 3 teachers left school at 7 am to embark on a 2 day hiking and camping expedition as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award program.  They completed a 6 hour hike and then set up camp for the night in the Al Dhaid desert.  They worked as a team preparing their food and setting up their tents.  The next morning they packed up and were hiking as the sun came up.  This is Cara’s account of her adventure:


By Cara O’Sullivan – grade 10 student

The Duke of Edinburgh journey is definitely one of my highlights of the year so far. Although it was hard work and I was exhausted by the end of it, I’m grateful I got the opportunity to go on this trip. I’d never been camping before and was honestly quite nervous, but it was so much fun. I learned how to read physical maps using compasses and bearings so that I can figure out the route we’re taking.

I was also with a really good group of people that made every moment enjoyable, even after walking for hours we were still having fun and listening to music. Finding a camel skeleton, watching the sunset and sunrise, and cooking our own food, were definitely some of my core memories. I can’t wait to do our real Qualifying Adventurous Journey in April with everything I’ve learned already.

legally blonde the musical

The Middle and High School are very excited to perform ‘Legally Blonde the Musical’ to the DAA community in less than two weeks time. With a cast and crew of 90 students, this very popular movie transformed onto the stage is not one to be missed. The story follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. Action-packed and exploding with memorable songs and dynamic dances - this musical is so much fun!

There will be four great performances over three days. Wednesday, March 9th at 7pm, Thursday, March 10th at 3:30pm, Thursday, March 10th at 7pm and Friday, March 11th at 2pm. Tickets can be purchased for 20 AED each during dismissal starting Wednesday March 2nd in the DAA atrium, and will also be available to purchase at the door. 

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