February 4, 2021

Dear Parents and Students,

As we wrap up semester one, we will provide you with your son and or daughter’s report card. Our initial date to send these out was today, February 4th, we will have to push this date to Monday, February 8th.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Reflecting on semester one, we can look back and see how far we have all come.  This semester is starkly different from last year when teachers and students needed to quickly adapt to fully remote learning.  We had to learn how to be blended teachers and learners.  In short, blended learning is tough. Tougher than when we were all remote as we were all ‘in’ the same learning space.  

Blended learning pushed us to rethink how lessons would be crafted to ensure equity of high quality learning for the students both at home and in the classroom.  We stand back proud of the accomplishments both of our staff and students who had to re-learn classroom norms and teaching and learning strategies such as in-class students working on tasks with partners at home.  

Agility and perseverance enabled us to successfully complete this first semester and look ahead to the second semester stronger and with a toolbox of strategies to ensure all students are provided a high quality learning environment. 

We hope you have a restful weekend,

Tammy Jochinke

High School Principal 

HSC Week Feb. 28 - March 4th

We are approaching our Higher Level, Service and Careers Week here in the High School. This year, it takes place from Sunday, February 28th - Thursday, March 4th. Information will be sent to students and parents shortly which will outline the offerings. 

Grade 9

Students in Grade 9 will receive information pertaining to the Unifrog platform and subject selection. They will also participate in a range of courses focusing on:

Grade 10

Students in Grade 10, who are not taking AP courses, will spend Sunday, February 28th in Unifrog sessions,  subject selection and a career conference. Following this, they will have the chance to enrol in one of the outstanding programs delivered by Explorers Lab. 

Explorers Lab is a GEMS approved provider who has successfully delivered the Bizsmart course over the last 2 years here in the High School. This year, the programs will be delivered remotely and will continue to be of the highest quality. Details and costs of programs will be communicated to parents this coming week.

Some of the programs we hope to offer include: 

Students who choose not to take part in the Explorers Lab workshops will be encouraged to find a ‘Virtual Work Experience’ opportunity within the community or sign up for work experience with a parent if possible.  More information and full schedule to follow through MEA. 

Grade 11 and 12

Students in Grade 11, who are not in HL or AP classes, as well as students in Grade 12 who are not writing Mock IB Exams, will be given class work in their core classes. In addition, students  will be encouraged to find a ‘Virtual Work Experience’ opportunity within the community or sign up for work experience with a parent if possible. More information and full schedule to follow through MEA. 

HL week - 28th February - 4th March

During our HSC week our grade 11 IB students will be involved in HL week classes. This involved the students seeing their HL classes everyday for the week enabling them to dive deeper into the HL content. Students during this week have their 3 HL classes each day and 1 study hall. We are inviting all G11 HL students into school this week for face to face lessons, however if you wish to continue online learning the teachers will provide the Zoom links. Further details of the schedule and timing will be provided to the students over the next week. 

IB Mock Exams

IB Mock exams for Seniors will take place from February 21st-March 4th.

Please be aware that students are expected to be on campus for exams since this is practice for the Final IB exams in May, which must also be taken in person.

The school is working diligently to ensure that we have a safe environment for our students to take these exams. We are in full accordance with DHA guidelines. The exam rooms will have limited seating capacity and desks will be spaced over 2m apart, rooms and exam papers will be fogged before and after each exam session. Proctors will hand out exams wearing masks and gloves. Students will be expected to wear masks throughout.  

The mock exams count for 50% of the semester grade, this is outlined in our HS assessment policy. This communicates to students the importance of the exams and prepares them for the final IB exams which can be worth up to 80% of their final IB grades. Should a student not be able to attend a session, a Doctor’s note must be provided. 

Please find the Mock Exam schedule here. This must be opened as a Google Document to see the latest updates.

Should you notice a conflict between two exams occurring at the same time please contact Ms. Sheffield the IB coordinator and she will organize to reschedule one of your exams. 

IB Psychology

Our IB Psychology students had a wonderful opportunity to meet with a renowned and accomplished clinical psychologist, Dr. David Reid, via Zoom. Based out of Charlottesville, Virginia (USA) Dr. Reid is an expert in the usage of hypnosis as a treatment in psychology. He is the author of the award winning book Hypnosis for Behavioral Health: A Professional’s Guide to Expanding Your Practice (Springer Publishing House) and serves as the Science Editor for The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. Dr. Reid is also an adjunct professor at Saybrook University and the President-elect of Division 30 of the American Psychological Association (Psychological Hypnosis).

A number of the students had recently completed a project on treatments for psychological disorders, which Dr. Reid answered questions about. It was a wonderful opportunity for these students to hear first-hand about the practical applications of hypnosis as well as related misconceptions. As a number of these students will be moving on to study Psychology in university, Dr. Reid also discussed his career path as a professional and gave some invaluable advice and guidance pertaining to post-secondary studies in the field. The students brought forth insightful questions and it was a wonderful experience for all involved!

Innovation Spotlight

As we roll into semester 2 it is great to see the Artificial Intelligence Elective evolving. With onsite and remote leaning students opting to take this innovative, future focused subject, this week was spent dissecting the Ai Tunnel and investigating into the journey of Ai past to present day. We adapted the learning experience to support our virtual students to take part of the Ai journey!

There is still time to register for  “GIRLS’ SYMPOSIUM”.   This student-led competition focused on empowering girls of today to bring forward ideas to present to these top women in industry and the Arts: 

And now, a prize amount of up to AED 10 000 is available courtesy of Fintrek Marketing, Channel Partner of Emirates NBD

For more information, please visit  https://www.thegirlssymposium.com/ or register via THIS LINK.

MS/HS Musical

We have started the film production for the 2021 MS/HS musical production ‘Mask-i-cal’. The cast and band have been coming together to perform. The Mask-i-cal will be screened live on Youtube soon. Stay tuned for more details. Check out some photos from rehearsals: 

High School Counseling Corner

2.3.21 SPOTS HS Counseling.pdf

Did you know how many clubs are up and running at DAA?  Click HERE for more! 

We hope you find this new resource helpful.


The best tool that we can suggest to you is the Powerschool App. The Powerschool App allows you to see your child’s:

For troubleshooting Powerschool contact: psparenthelp@gemsdaa.net

Powerschool App on Google Playstore

Powerschool App on App Store


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

Jan Evans/04 704 9831 / j.evans_daa@gemsedu.com 
Gr 9: Ms. JoAnn Porterfield A-Z https://jporterfielddaa.youcanbook.me  
Grades 10-12: Katrina Watson: A-C https://katrinawatson-4.youcanbook.me/  
Rhiana Courlander: D- Kep https://rhiana-2.youcanbook.me  
Steven Johanson: Kh-Q https://sjohanson.youcanbook.me/  
Trisha Johnson: R- 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: Lisa Fosterl.foster_daa@gemsedu.com