November 19, 2020

Dear Parents,

We wrapped up this week with our student-led Parent Teacher Conferences with great success. Although we always have great turn out, it seems having these essential meetings through Zoom is one great example of how we are learning more efficient and effective ways of communication.  Our PTC turnout this year has increased by 1,000 individual bookings, or 41%.  

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your feedback on the GEMS survey, I have read through each comment and looked for both the trends and the outliers.  I’ve followed up with calls to many of you thanking you for your unwavering support and trust in providing a safe and high quality learning environment for your child.  Here are just a few quotes from the GEMS survey that have been shared with all HS staff. Your words have given us the energy to finish the next few weeks strong ahead of the holidays, thank you again for your trust and encouragement.

Wishing you a lovely weekend. 

Tammy Jochinke

HS Principal

How best to support our Class of 2022

Thank you to parents who attended our session on How best to support our Class of 2022 with Mr. Courlander! 

It is evident that highschool can be a time of significant personal and academic development. Within this unique stage of development and academic pressure, students can start to experience distress and the associated negative health effects. 


The intentions of the webinar was to discuss stress, the common stressors for teenagers, the negative effects of stress on student well-being and the most effective strategies to cope with stress. We also discussed how best to communicate with teenagers by shifting from being their mentor to their coach “stop telling and start asking”. Improving communication between an adult and adolescent allows for discussions to happen, which can enable the adolescent to find meaning in their stress. Researcher Shawn Achor has found that finding the meaning in your stress can decrease the negative health effects by 23%. Please see the presentation and zoom link here Webinar - How to best support our highschool students, class of 2022.

High School Hub

What is the DAA HS HUB?

The HUB is a comprehensive website for students and parents interested in knowing more about our high school. Sections include:

We hope you like it and we look forward to hearing any feedback you may have about THE HS HUB.

MAP testing is wrapping up next week in the high school. We will run MAP tests again in the Winter, and in the Spring. We run these three times a year in order to track progress and attainment of our students. MAP tests, set goals for each student. While these test do not count towards a student’s GPA, we use them as tools to determine appropriate course recommendation and placement. We also use MAP data to identify areas of strength and areas of potential development. Typically, all Grade 9 and 10 students are tested in Reading, Language Usage, Math and Science. We also test some students in grade 11 and 12 in Reading.

Leopards in Literature Podcast Project!

In grade 10 English, students have been exploring the text Macbeth through a fresh perspective. While reading the text, students aim to explore global issues that transcend time and space and yes of course, dive into Shakespearean language! Currently the grade 10 English classes are working on an authentic assessment- a podcast! 

The goal is that our students will be able to showcase their understanding of Macbeth and connection to a chosen global issue all while using research skills and digital fluency (and some fun too!) Students are excited to work with the whole class A/B groups and as a team create a fun way to showcase their learning. Students have been working really hard to research connections to their self-directed research question, embed music and sounds, and ensure to maintain a clear line of reasoning. 

The grade 10 English team is so excited to not just listen to the final products, but also have a listening “party”. Students podcasts will be available for your listening pleasure via QR code for your listening pleasure in the first week of December around school. Not able to come in! That’s okay too! The codes will be made digital for your access. 

Know a grade 10 student? Don’t forget to ask them about their podcast or check out the QR codes around school!

AP Language and Composition

Our newest AP course in high school is AP Language and Composition. This Advanced Placement course is designed around College Composition.  Students are dealing and exploring the intricacies of rhetorical analysis and presis as well as classical argumentation.  Here are just some student comments about the course so far!

IB DP Extended Essay

Congratulations IB DP Seniors!

The extended essay journey has come to the end! 

On November 1st seniors taking the full IB diploma program submitted their EE final drafts, and by November 23rd they will have sat their viva voce--an exit interview--and submitted their final reflections. The viva voce and reflection are the final steps in the EE journey. It is no small undertaking to research, plan and write your first 4,000-word paper, and the class of 2021 has met this challenge commendably. 

Congratulations on the completion of your journey.

Class of 2022 Start Extended Essay

Students in the class of 2022 who are in the full IB diploma program are taking the first steps in their extended essay journey. This exciting process begins in CORE class and at home as students reflect on their favorite topics and subjects. After all, the EE is a mandatory 4,000-word academic-style research paper that takes 12 months to complete; it is important that students pick topics and subjects they are excited to explore.

To ensure students are well supported, we feel it is important that parents are well informed about the EE process. With this in mind, we have produced a brief video that provides an overview. Once you watch the brief video, if you have any questions please complete this form and we will endeavor to answer your questions during a parents’ Q&A session on Sunday, November 22nd from 6pm to 7pm via Google Meet. We have also produced this infographic to help you visualize the overall process. 

Together we can ensure students remain on track and that they get the most out of this wonderful and challenging experience. 

To Google Or Not To Google, That Is The Question.

The scene: 

Your teacher asks you to research something for class. You open your trusty laptop and click on the web browser. Google appears before you and you type in your question. 

Suddenly, you’re bombarded with 1,000,000,000 hits, covering everything from your actual question to musings on whether cats really are more intelligent than humans. 

Panic ensues. There’s too many resources! How can you ever find what you need?

Thankfully, there’s an answer: 

On our website, we have an entire page dedicated to the magical DATABASES, which allow you to search for Current, Relevant, Authoritative, Accurate, and Purposeful sources, without having to do any kinds of “tests” to make sure the information is solid. Not only that...you can also refine your sources to ensure you’re only getting exactly what you’re looking for. 

Sounds too good to be true? It isn’t! Check out the the HS Library Homepage databases today!

Note: If you’re totally lost, ask Ms. Brewer for help. Either email her (a.brewer_daa@gemsedu.com) or stop by the library for assistance.

Student Spotlight - Big Bang Theory in Grade 10 by Saeed Khoory and Yasmin Almousa! Watch Now! 

Moving Forward - Mobile Phones and Human Connection

While we all continue to adapt in these usual times, it is increasingly evident that we need to make time to connect with one another. Something we have noticed here in the High School, and know you will have at home, is our students' reliance on their mobile phones. 

We as the Admin Team are in constant discussions with our teachers, Grade Level Advisors and Counselors to find ways to minimize mobile phone use here on campus so we can help students recognize the importance of a simple conversation.

This week we have made Office Hours officially ‘phone free’ and hope to find other ways to encourage students to take a break from their screens. This article, from the New York Times, offers some insights into how teenagers feel about their devices and as educators and parents it is interesting to hear directly from them how they feel about the issue.

Please be assured we will continue to strive to find ways to prioritize connection over connectivity!

Lisa Foster

High School Dean of Students 

High School Counseling Corner

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

11.18 SPOTS HS Counseling (1).pdf


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