FROM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
February 28, 2019
What an amazing school we have. Our elementary division has 52 classes, 1235 students, over 150 staff and close to 100 nationalities. We are truly fortunate that our students are growing and learning in such a vibrant environment. As a community we focus on educating the whole-child through the following pillars:
As you know, learning at Dubai American Academy is founded in the Connecticut Common Core. How we make this curriculum come alive in our classrooms is through the collective planning of learning experiences where our grade level and specialist educators bring their wealth of knowledge and experience to each unit. This collective planning is structured within common documentation and pedagogy in order to ensure that as our students move through their educational learning journey they experience a common language and shared approach to learning that ensures successful scaffolding of skills and knowledge.
Beyond the academics, we strongly value the importance of social and emotional learning.
We foster and reinforce social and emotional learning through programs such as PAWS which recognizes students for:
Pride in yourself, your school and your community
Attitude of positivity, empathy and perseverance
Wise Choices that demonstrate strong character
Safe by acting respectfully and responsibly
Along with PAWS we have school counsellors who work with our classroom teachers to ensure students have the toolkit to manage their emotional needs. Finally, we provide connection beyond the classroom walls with buddy classes and teacher supervision at recess and lunch.
As people visit our school their feedback consistently speaks to the positive energy and feel of our school. We are very proud that the learning, level of care and our community is shining through.
One way we foster a sense of community is through our Student Council who works with a team of teachers to bring student voice to our elementary school life. Our Student Council initiated this week’s Spirit Week to celebrate our community, create a shared experience and have some playful fun at school.
Culture of Kindness
Our community is one based on the tradition of a Culture of Kindness. The Culture of Kindness is founded in the tenants of Kind Words, Kind Thoughts, and Kind Actions. Our students practice empathy, respect, responsibility, and kindness throughout their learning journeys. As a school this is reinforced through our PAWS program, positive behavioral intervention system and your classroom agreements.
As 2019 is the Year of Tolerance, we are going to connect our school community stakeholders and reinforce our expectations and behavior choices to the home through a GEMS Family initiative. The GEMS Family is encouraging all children across the school network to play an active role at home and in their family’s lives. In order to encourage respect and responsibility in children, we are going to reinforce and celebrate the stories of respect between our students and their families with GEMS of Kindness.
Today we celebrated the Culture of Kindness and introduced GEMS of Kindness to our students at the end of Sports Day and we would encourage you to ask your child all about it.
Beyond the students, we as adults must model the Culture of Kindness amongst one another. WhatsApp from the homeroom perspective is an excellent forum for information that helps clarify classroom activities, learning and keeps parents aware of general class events. Unfortunately, throughout this year there have been a number of messages that don’t reflect the Culture of Kindness and don’t support our efforts to build a community.
For any community to thrive empathy and the ability to understand and share the feelings of one another is key. On the other end of any WhatsApp message is another mother or father who loves their child and want what’s best for them as much as you do. School related WhatsApp messages are not the forum to discuss families or children (named or unnamed). The United Arab Emirates has recognized this and states that “the Penal Code makes it an offense to publish information that exposes another person to public hatred or contempt, or to make a false accusation which dishonors or discredits another person.”
With that we would like to share a set of guidelines for the future use of WhatsApp for all elementary school related purposes:
Be mindful of your audience/group and respect their sensibilities.
✓ Refrain from “chatting” with one or two people in a group.
✓ Avoid gossip and rumours.
✓ Be conscious of how frequently you send messages and when you send them.
✓ Evaluate your information before you send it. Is your information accurate and reliable? Could it unintentionally cause others unnecessary worry or anxiety.
✓ Don’t post anything you would feel uncomfortable saying to a person’s face, including to your child’s teacher or coach.
✓ Avoid debate and argument - WhatsApp is not the right forum for it.
✓ Don’t assume your group chat is private - it’s not.
✓ Be an upstander when you see messages that you know are not appropriate.
We are a school that takes great pride in what we offer our school community. As someone who has been here a short time I absolutely love walking the hallways before and after-school and seeing the joy and pride on parent faces when they are with their children. I love the great conversations I overhear with parents who have connected with one another and I love the smiles on our students’ faces as they enter the classroom. We have an outstanding school, an excellent staff and exceptional teaching and learning. Let’s continue to build on our excellence as a learning community and support our children in their academics, social-emotional learning and connections to the community.
Just Two Other Things
After School Hours
Student safety is our primary responsibility at DAA. We have developed supervision schedules throughout the day to ensure that our students are always monitored and safe. Our Health Office is also available to us for emergencies from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. As a school, we do not offer afternoon supervision for our playgrounds and hence ask that all students wait for their parents in the classroom (KG1-Grade2) or at the dismissal pick up point (Grades 3-5). If you are going to be late for pick up, please contact your child's teacher or the Elementary Office to inform us. Students in KG1-Grade 2 will then wait with the division secretary on the ground floor (Ms. Grace), while Grades 3-5 will wait with the first-floor division secretary (Ms. Rene).
We would really appreciate your support and assistance with the afternoon dismissal procedures. Kindly remind your children that the playgrounds are off limits and that they are to wait for you in the designated areas where our staff can supervise them.
In order to constantly improve our school and programs, we kindly ask that you please complete a quick survey regarding our iPad program here at DAA. We look forward to your responses.
Thank you in advance.