January 21, 2021

Student Spotlight

Dear Parents,

We hope you have had a productive week.  As we wrap up our semester, we can reflect back in amazement on all that we accomplished.  Our teachers and students entered this academic year having never engaged in a blended learning environment.  Many lessons have been learned and we have now settled into a nice pace to set us up for success to wrap up the first semester and start the second semester with a solid foundation.

We thank you for instilling such perseverance in your children and also reinforcing their commitment to keeping the school a safe haven for health and safety.  I walk the halls often (they know my heels by now!) and am proud each day of their healthy habits including distancing in class, in the hallways, on break, and at lunch as well as being diligent in their mask wearing.  

We look forward to the second semester and seeing you for several upcoming coffee mornings which will focus on: Equivalency, Subject Selection and Wellness.

Following on from Tammy Murphy’s letter, we would like to share with you what next week will look like.  To ensure the health and safety of our staff and students, we will run all of the exams online on Sunday and Monday via Exam.net 

Please see below updated schedule:

With sincere gratitude,

Tammy Jochinke

High School Principal 

Updated as of January 25th

PSAT information

Only students who have pre registered will be able to complete the PSAT in person on Tuesday, January 26th. Ms. Courlander sent an email out this week asking for confirmation via a Google Form. If you have not yet confirmed your attendance, please do so now.

Subject Selection Preview

February is a big month for subject selection for all grade levels. At the beginning of February you will be receiving grade level specific emails detailing the information sessions and the timelines for students to complete their subject selections. Students currently in Grades 9 and 10 will be utilising some of the time during our HSC week (28th Feb to 4th March) to attend information and Q&A sessions about subject selection and the role of Unifrog. 

Plan for Grade 9 - Tuesday, January 26th

This day will provide an opportunity for students to celebrate, reflect and look ahead. Students will celebrate the milestone of writing their first Grade 9 exams by reflecting on what went well and what they can improve on for next time. Students will additionally begin to think about their future at DAA and after graduation by participating in a session about UniFrog that will entail completing activities pertaining to: 

Students will receive a link directly for the zoom meeting via email. The session will begin at 7:30am and last until 11:00am. 

MEA plan for Grade 9 and 10 on the 27th and 28th January

On Wednesday and Thursday next week, Grades 9 and 10 will be asked to work asynchronously from home. Specifically, students will pair up with a classmate from their MEA group and explore active citizenship through the lens of sustainability.  

 Pairs will create a presentation to share with their peers that includes:

o   An overview of a particular element of sustainability

o   Relate to UN sustainability goals

o   Suggest how similar projects could be run in the UAE

Graduation Gown Ordering

It has come to that time of the year where we have started preparing for Graduation. We are pleased to announce that C.L. Seifert will continue to be our official supplier for our graduations caps and gowns. Students will have the option of purchasing the gown (300AED) or renting the gown(189AED). A detailed email will be sent in the coming days from C.L. Seifert regarding sizing and how to use their online portal to order the ensemble. They will handle the following:

Please visit their website for further information: http://clseifert.com/ae/

For any questions and concerns regarding Graduation Gowns please contact Nashmia Saleem, HS Principal’s Secretary.

Innovation Spotlight

Calling all high school female students to take notice of the upcoming competition “GIRLS’ SYMPOSIUM”.   This is a student-led competition, the purpose of which is to spur creativity and nurture ideas by female students.  It was initiated by Vedha Sitlani, a DAA 11th grade student who aspired to provide a platform for girls to bring forward ideas and receive feedback from some of the most influential women spearheading innovation in the UAE.  Vedha has reached out to some amazing leaders who have graciously volunteered to judge the competition.  They include: 

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.

We look forward to seeing the creativity and talent of our students shine through!

We ended 2020 with the Artificial Intelligence elective students collaborating, stepping out of their comfort zones, taking risks and really honing in on their presentation and communication skills whilst presenting their group projects on the ‘Exponential Technologies’ available to all DAA students to Design with, Code with, Test with and Create with.

With a mixer of  High School students and teachers as their audience there was lots of learning and peer reviews taking place.

Stay tuned for more collaborative and innovative learning experiences for our High School DAA students in the coming months.

Stay tuned for more collaborative and innovative learning experiences for our High School DAA students in the coming months.


There are always exciting things happening with the library! 

*Today we had seven MS/HS students participate in the annual Chevron Readers’ Cup, run as part of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Over the course of the last few months, these dedicated students read and studied three books, then today they participated in a very difficult, detailed quiz! Here’s hoping we get to move on to the next round, which will take place in March.

*Speaking of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, IT’S ALMOST TIME!!!!! This year the LitFest will run over three weekends and be a wonderful combination of art, culture, and literature. More details and tickets can be found on the LitFest website: https://www.emirateslitfest.com/. Hope to see you there!

*In conjunction with the HS English department, we are encouraging students to put down their devices and read more books with our Books in Bags campaign! Students should either bring a book from home or borrow one from the library to have the option of disconnecting from technology and diving into a delightful book throughout the day. For help getting a book from the library, visit the HS Library webpage. Now the question is...What book is in YOUR bag?

(Parents, remember you can also sign up for a library account to borrow books! Just fill in this form: Parent Library Account)

High School Counseling Corner

1.20.21 SPOTS HS Counseling.pdf

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

MS/HS Musical is Coming Soon! 

We are in the final weeks of rehearsing and close to starting film production for the 2021 MS/HS musical production ‘Mask-i-cal’. The cast and band have been working tirelessly during rehearsals and have now come together to perform. We also have a large crew on board. The painting crew have made large scale murals that are on display at the tennis courts. The props and costumes crew have have been sewing, painting and constructing every workshop. Finally the tech and publicity crew have been making posters, logos, and behind the scenes footage. Ahmed and Zahaan, both grade 6 students, have made two behind the scenes video to give everyone a little taste of what is to come. The Mask-i-cal will be screened live on Youtube soon. Stay tuned for more details. 

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