HIGH SCHOOL highlights

from high school

April 18, 2019

Course Selections

The course selection form is open to review the courses your child has been recommended for. This is set to ‘view only’, these selections will be locked only after we meet with students in a ‘course selection assembly’ see below dates:

Current 8th grade students: during T&D, May 1st and 2nd

Current 9th and 10th grade students: during MEA, Tuesday, April 23rd

Current 11th students: during ‘HL week’, week of April 28th

Counselors and Admin will be present to support students.

Final selections will be used to build the schedule for next years classes. Please use this long weekend to read all the information (below) and research into universities and their requirements (Grade 10, Unifrog is a fantastic resource) to support their selections.

Course Overview Guidance

Information on our courses can be found in our High School Program of Studies

To view the electives only, please visit this link: electives options

Additional information for Grade 10 into 11 students can be found using this link.

Access to PowerSchool:

To access your subject selection page:

  1. Login to Unified Classroom
  2. Select QuickLinks > Class Registration (On the new tab, if you do not see the Class Registration selected please click on it again)

If you have questions regarding the course selection, please contact Jan Evans, High School Counseling Secretary at j.evans_daa@gemsedu.com


HS Administration

grade 9 may week

We will be holding our Annual May Week from April 28th to May 2nd 2019. For students staying in school this week, we will have engaging day trips and activities to local destinations that showcase the wonderful and diverse culture that the UAE has to offer. Many of our students in Grade 9 are traveling to the following exciting destinations: Austria, Nepal, Kenya and Cambodia. We wish them all a safe and enjoyable experience.

If you have any questions about in school activities or day trips during May Week, please contact Tommy Buteau (Grade Level Advisor for Grade 9) at t.buteau_daa@gemsedu.com

If you have any questions about overseas trips during May Week, please contact Josh Doubleday (Dean of Students - High School) at j.doubleday_daa@gesmedu.com

Grade 10 Work Experience Week

We will be holding our Annual Work Experience Week from April 28th to May 2nd 2019. This year, we offered more options for students that we believe will provide a week that is rich in experiences that will help to guide them in their future careers. Most students will take part in work experience by volunteering at local businesses for the entire week. While doing this, they are focusing on gaining skills, and insights into their future professional life. Some students have opted to take part in an Entrepreneurial 5 Day Workshop lead by leading executives. Lastly, some of our students will take part in “Future Career”-themed travel opportunities.

If you have any questions, please contact Dionne Douglas (Grade Level Advisor for Grade 10)

At d.douglas_daa@gemsedu.com

Any other queries can be directed to j.doubleday_daa@gesmedu.com

Culture of Kindness in the High School

Recently, we have decided that our Culture of Kindness, that has been so important in setting our school apart, has been in need of a refocus. As a result, we have been asking students and teachers to fill out a GEMS OF KINDNESS card when they witness an act of kindness by someone in the school community. These cards have begun to be hung in our Kindness Tree in the high school lobby. We invite all parents to take part in this by filling out the following form if they witness an act of kindness by their high school child. KIND ACTS FORM

From the High School Counseling Office regarding SAT Testing

Dear Students and Parents,

I am hearing from students and parents that many grade 10 students are planning to take the SAT either this spring on next fall (fall 2019). I would like to provide my advice as students begin to prepare for college and university entrance tests.

The advice from College Board, which is the organization that develops and administers the SAT, recommends that students take the SAT for the first time the spring of the student's 11th grade year. On April 9th, College Board wrote this blog post, titled "When Should You Take the SAT," giving advice about when to take the SAT for the first time.

The reason why the College Board gives this advice is because in March 2016 the SAT was redesigned to more closely follow the standard US high school curriculum (DAA follows the Common Core standards out of the US state of Connecticut). The idea behind this was to make the test more equitable for all high school students, regardless of whether they could pay for outside test prep classes. This is a great video from Khan Academy, which has partnered with College Board to provide SAT information and free test prep, explaining the realignment of the SAT.

On a side note, Khan Academy is a tremendous resource for students preparing for the SAT or SAT Subject Tests. Not only have they partnered with College Board so they receive the best and most accurate test information but they are FREE!

It is important to note that every time a student takes the SAT, this becomes part of their permanent college admissions testing record with College Board. The SAT offers two choices for test reporting to a college or university - all scores or score choice. Please note, as indicated in the video, not every college or university will allow score choice. Make sure you research this carefully!

As a former admissions officer who has read thousands of applications, I was always took into consideration if a student took the test too early and/or if they took the test too many times. The College Board, the organization that makes money every time you take the test, has recommended that a student take the test no more than TWO times. I feel that three times is ok but please know that colleges and universities do not want to see that you have taken the test more than this. A red flag is raised after taking the test three times. If I saw this on an application, I would wonder why a student was so concerned about this one score rather than putting more effort into their high school academics, athletics, arts, volunteer work, or clubs/organizations. Those things are infinitely more important to the holistic admissions process than getting a perfect score on the SAT, especially if the student's grades did not align with this perfect score.

We understand that many outside test prep agencies in Dubai recommend that you take the SAT early because the 11th and 12th grade years are busy. We wholeheartedly disagree with this recommendation. Yes, these two years are busy, but the SAT is a test intended to be taken when a student is best prepared (which shows good judgement to a college or university) and is not something to "get out of the way." While it is not the most important part of a college or university application, it is certainly a part that is looked at in the context of a student's high school academic history. When to take the test and the preparation undertaken should be done with the same thoughtfulness as any other part of a student's application. What this means is that a student should be best prepared academically (vs. cramming information they haven't yet learned in school) when they sit for the test.

So, what are our recommendations for the SAT?

  1. All students at DAA are offered the opportunity take the PSAT free of charge in both 10th and 11th grade. Encourage your student to try their hardest on these tests (without test preparation because it's a practice test - that is what the "P" stands for) because the tests are conducted in real testing environments and provide great post-test analysis of areas of strength and weakness. Colleges will never see your PSAT score!
  2. Use the feedback from College Board from your student's PSAT test to prepare for the actual SAT.
  3. Do NOT take the SAT before spring of the students 11th grade year - preferably in May when students have completed the majority of their junior year.
  4. Only take (or retake) the SAT after you feel best prepared to take the test and receive a good score.
  5. Do NOT take the SAT more than 2-3 times.

If you have questions about any information written above or any conflicting information you have received outside of Dubai American Academy, please do not hesitate to reach out to your student's High School counselor.


Shana Russell

High School Counselor

Head of College Counseling

DAA Model United Nations Conference

The Dubai America Academy Model United Nations Conference will take place on May 9-11. DAAMUN 2019 is an exciting opportunity to meet new people, debate important world issues, and gain experience for university applications. Students who attend weekly meetings and DAAMUN are eligible to attend international conferences. Register today at: http://daamun.org/registration.html


15 students competed in the elimination round of the Annual Star TV Quiz Competition on Monday April 15th . The Competition is open to students from Grade 7 to 10. As is now customary for DAA , our students were splendid!

The competitors were: Akshat Sinha 9Jad Abbar 9Ishaan Goel 9Christian Psycharis 9Omaar Elmaayergi 10Pranadarth Prakash 10Juugad Chata 7Abhay Pabbath 7Luke Blomberg 7Krishay Sachdeva 7Hakan Yalcintas 7Seokyung Jang 7Aprameyan Bose 7Ahmad Kattan 7Shrest Siddharth 7

Congratulations to the team of Omar Elmaayergi and Christian Psycharis who made it through the elimination round and competed in the quarter finals on Wednesday. The show is taped for TV and while we cannot disclose the results, you will for sure want to watch. We will let you know when the episodes will air in May. Here they are getting ready for their moment of fame in the green room on Wednesday just before the taping.


If you know your child will be away from school, please contact Roma Agtarap, our HS Attendance Secretary at r.agtarap_daa@gemsedu.com or call her at 047049777 ext 747.

For general High School Inquiries, please contact Nashmia Saleem, High School Secretary at n.saleem1_daa@gemsedu.com