September 24, 2020

Dear Parents,

Last week our back to school night ran with extraordinary success, thank you for all who joined.  

Some highlight quotes from our feedback survey included:

“It was very successful and enlightening. Great to “meet” the teachers”“Best back to school ever... Precise, short and super informative. They should always be done by Zoom. Thank you”“Very well organized. Extremely happy and thankful for the DAA teaching community.”“Teachers were so caring to check on how our kids are doing in this tough time!”

A common theme in our feedback was the efficiency of having a virtual back to school night via zoom through a centralized schedule and website. We will aim to have the same set up for our Parent Teacher Conferences which will run on November 18th and 19th. Save the date!

Principal’s Spotlight: 

Cultivating a High Quality Learning Environment During Blended Learning

COVID-19 has pushed us all out of our comfort zone. The aim of this recurring segment of the HS SPOTS is to showcase how our HS community have pushed themselves outside their comfort zone as educators through innovative pedagogy to engage all students, regardless of where they are learning from, in a high quality learning environment. 

IB Language and Literature and IB Literature have introduced a digital portfolio to catalog and celebrate their learning journey through the two year course. The portfolio collects their insights, analysis and reflections on all texts that are studied and allows them to make intertextual connections between units of study. All learners, either blended or remote are engaged in showcasing their annotations of texts which could be difficult from home if not.  Have and share that tactile experience of annotating a text without needing to be present in the building.  The segment below is an example of the learner portfolio and the student has given permission to show her early work in year 1 of IB. Thank you to Ms. Chelsea Bystrak for showcasing this high quality learning practice occurring across our English courses.

We hope you enjoy your weekend.


Tammy Jochinke

High School Principal

Textbook Collection

Emails have been sent out this week to coordinate school-issued textbook pick-up for Remote Students to further support them with their at-home learning. So far the process has been running smoothly, with students showing that they are wonderfully open-minded communicators as they navigate this changed world we live in. 

Student Spotlight

Ms. Rowlands HL1 biology classes applied their knowledge of monosaccharides and disaccharides to create 3D marshmallow models of the formation of a disaccharide in a condensation reaction. With planning, sanitization and individually pre-packed marshmallows and toothpicks, all students in our blended learning environment both on campus and at home were able to participate and delve into this biological reaction. 

Innovation Spotlight

What a fantastic introduction to all the Innovative Technology Solutions our students are surrounded by in the Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Center of Excellence here at DAA.

With social distancing in place students, have had an opportunity to see the High Tech Tools in ACTION!

DAA Students will now inquire into and discuss the real world connections they are able to apply when utilizing these High Tech Tools in action!  Following the Solution Fluency model, they will design and create tutorial workshops for our school community to benefit, which will simultaneously allow them to master their skills and working knowledge of  these amazing cutting-edge resources. 

Google Classroom

As you know, DAA is moving to the Google Classroom platform as Phoenix Classroom is being enhanced.  One of our teachers has created a document for parents/guardians to help navigate the platform.  Kudos to Mrs. Compton in the Middle School for sharing!

I’m Having Technical Issues!

Many of the Zoom issues have been taken care of, but if you are still having trouble, please check out one of the videos below to make sure your child is signing on using the SSO.

·         How to login to Zoom on Mac

·         How to login to Zoom on iPad  

·        How to login to Zoom on Windows

If you are not able to sign on using your SSO, have your child submit this form so IT can look into it. Please know that we will be locking down Zoom so students will only be able to log in using their @gemselearning account soon.

If there are still issues, be sure to raise a ticket after the teacher has been contacted.  Simply send an email to studenthelpdesk@gemsdaa.net and they will help resolve the issue.

Academic Updates

Assessment updates

A letter has been sent to students and parents about assessment and how we have had to be agile in our current blended environment.   Please review the letter HERE, if you have not had the opportunity to yet. 

IB Updates

A letter has been shared with our grade 12 students and parents which outlined the updates to the weightings, which would factor into calculating predicted grades. If you have not had a chance to review this letter, please view it below.

IB 2021 Predicted Grade Calculations

Pupils Attitudes to Self and School

PASS is an all-age survey for pupils aged 4 –18+ years that will help us understand our students’ mindsets as they come back to school, and if they are confident, ready and motivated to learn. The PASS Survey will focus on student life, how students feel about themselves, and our school. The survey is a way of collecting information about each student so that we can get to know them better. Every student is important to us and we would like to know what they think!

When students return to school after lockdown, it is likely that their attitudes to themselves and their learning will have been impacted by the prolonged period of remote education.

High School Counseling Corner

Click HERE for details


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