June 20, 2019

Letter from the Middle School Principal

This is my final SPOTS letter for the 2018 - 2019 school year. My first five months at DAA have flown by and I have truly enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of this vibrant learning community. It has been wonderful to get to know the students with the chance to meet many of you during one of our school events.

The feedback from our students, staff and parents has been invaluable as we plan ahead for the new school year. I would sincerely like to thank the Middle School staff, a dedicated team of professionals, who work tirelessly to ensure that we strive to offer the best learning program for young adolescents.

A common question we often hear is “When does the school year officially end?” Students are expected to be at school until Thursday 27 June when they will be dismissed at 12:00pm. We appreciate that some families choose to leave for vacation earlier, however, please note this is recorded as an absence.

This week our Grade 8 students celebrated with friends and family the conclusion of their Middle School education. This is an important transition for them and they are well prepared for the new challenges and experiences High School will bring.

During the last week of semester students will participate in our June Spirit week. A range of interdisciplinary learning activities are on offer across the following domains – Knowledge Hub, Kinesthetic (physical), Aesthetic (creative) and House activities (community spirit). The Learning Intention for each activity will be different and students will have an opportunity to choose from a wide variety of activities – some activities are for pure enjoyment, others to develop or refine collaboration skills, while others challenge their thinking or inspire new passions! We will finish the year with a celebratory assembly with highlights from the year and acknowledgement of the staff and students leaving the DAA community this year.

Reports will be available from 24 June via PowerSchool. These will show your child’s Semester 2 results, together with a summative comment including recommended targets of how to move forth in their learning. Your child’s most recent MAP scores will also be available showing progress made to date.

For students returning to DAA it is important that your ID card is kept in a safe place during the long vacation. The ID cards are attached to your Slices account. They will remain valid until such time as new IDs are printed and issued.

This year, based on feedback, we have trialed a digital yearbook. Every student and member of staff will have access to a complimentary copy; the link will be shared next week. Some may choose to print a personal copy while others prefer to keep a soft copy. With sincere thanks to Ms. Gabriel Lusan for her creativity in coordinating such a huge task, ensuring that wonderful memories from 2018 – 2019 have been captured.

To those students and staff leaving the DAA community this year we wish you all the very best for your future endeavors. Remember you will always be part of the DAA alumni. To all in our community safe travels and we look forward to welcoming you for the 2019 – 2020 school year.

Kind regards


Learning Highlights and Celebrations

Transformation & Discovery

Passion Projects

Over the past six weeks, students explored their own passions and promoted their empowerment through the planning, development, and presentation of a product that was reflective of student knowledge and understanding. They developed ownership of their knowledge related to what they’re interested in and documented their learning journey through an online or offline platform, such as a blog, workbook or Padlet. Students worked on presentation skills, evidencing their learning, and fostering creativity through student choice of topic and project product presentation.

Theatre Festival

On Thursday afternoon over 150 MS students perform for the DAA community in seven different One ACT plays in the annual MS Theatre Festival. A big congratulations to all students who participated in the Theatre Festival’s shows. It was a great afternoon of performances and the students can be proud of their efforts. Thank you to the parents that came to watch their children for supporting Drama in our Middle School. The shows were a fantastic way to end and celebrate the year.

Have a great summer and we will see you in 2019/2020.

Spring Concert

The sixth grade beginning band students, 7th grade choir students and 7th and 8th grade Concert Band students performed an amazing concert on Monday afternoon. The beginning band students impressed us with their versatility, while the choir showcased their beautiful harmonies and moving solos. The Concert Band was precise and energetic, working as a team to produce powerful music. Congratulations to all students on a job well done. Your hard work, dedication and talents are obvious. Keep up the great job and thanks for sharing your talents with us!

Art and Design Exhibition

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the Art and Design Exhibition this week. Congratulations to all students in Art, Design and Art by Outcomes who included the work they completed this year. It was a successful exhibition with positive feedback from the DAA community.

Grade 6 Science - Climate Engineering Share-Fair

The sixth graders presented their climate engineering designs to their peers during an in-class share-fair. They described the climate zone that their assigned cities experience, defined the criteria and constraints of their designs, showed the 2D and 3D models they created, and explained the rationale behind the design. Students from both Ms. Lapalme and Ms. Buford’s classes peer-evaluated each other’s work. They analyzed the strengths of the designs and suggested improvements to both the design and presentation. Finally, they determined whether they would be happy living in the structure in the given climate and gave supporting evidence.

40 Book Challenge Winners!

Congratulations to those students who participated in this year’s 40 Book Challenge! We had 30 students successfully complete the challenge, where they were asked to read at least 40 books from varying genres! Thank you to DAAPA for providing Borders gift cards to all winners and to the MS English Department for creating this great initiative! The students that completed the 2018 Summer Reading program were also recognized with a special pizza luncheon! Well done! Here’s to more winners next year!

Student Spotlight! Recitation of Pi

Syed Ali Sher, Grade 6, challenged himself to be included on the Pi World Ranking List. Ms. Renae Blomberg and Ms. Mira Nasr were honored by the request to be a witness to his effort. After filling out official paperwork and starting a stopwatch, Ali began reciting. He was able to recite Pi to the 90th digit in 45 seconds. We are so proud of Ali and his efforts! Once included on the Pi World Ranking List, he will be the only representative from the UAE thus far.

Congratulations Ali!

Grade 8 Completion Ceremony

A huge congratulations to our Grade 8 students who graduated from the Middle School today. What a proud moment for all of us here at DAA.

“Grade 8, you have done yourself proud. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you have imagined. Remember – the road to success is always under construction and that there are no secrets to success. Success will always be the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

Always have a growth mindset and deliver more than expected. You are the hope to our future.”


Report Card Comments will be emailed home June 24th

Accessing your child's grades: A view of all proficiency levels have been added to the PowerSchool Unified Classroom gradebook and continue to be updated by Middle School teachers as students continue to progress through their units of learning. Instructions on how to view your child’s grades on PowerSchool Unified Classroom can be found here (04:25).

Summer Reading

As summer is quickly approaching and busy schedules are winding down, it is a great time to pick up a book and read for pleasure. We have put together a Summer Reading Program that we would like all students to participate in at their leisure. Follow this link to our new Middle School Library webpage, click on Reading and then Summer Reading. You will find a Google Classroom that you can join and discuss books, an activity board, book recommendations, and more.

House Color Points

Dates to Remember

June 24th - Report Card Comments emailed home

June 27th - Last day of school - 12.00pm Dismissal


Lisa Hewitt, Aimee Fleming and Scott MacDonald

key contacts

Middle School Secretary: Sarah Hole s.hole_daa@gemsedu.com / 04 704 9722

Middle School Attendance: Helen Eleftheriou h.eleftheriou_daa@gemsedu.com 04 704 9728