October 17, 2019

Dear Parents

It has been wonderful to visit classes this week and see students highly engaged in their learning. There is a high degree of independence and responsibility evident throughout the building. Students who I spoke with were able to articulately explain their thinking and learning. It is clear that the majority of our Middle Schoolers are engaging with the feedback given by their teachers and reflecting on how they can continue to progress.

The safety and wellbeing of our students & staff, and the security of personal property remain a priority. However, with over 600 Middle Schoolers departing the building at the same time incidents can occur on occasion despite staff supervision.

As a community it is important that we remain mindful of our environment at peak times. Please be reassured that we continually review procedures to ensure we respond to any issue that impacts safety or wellbeing. In the rush to leave the campus or catch buses the corridors can become overcrowded as students access lockers and walk from classrooms to stairwells. Based on an incident this week members of the wellbeing team (Heads of Grade, Dean and Principal) have met to discuss and introduce new protocols to ensure the end of day procedures have been improved. In addition to our current duty rota we have also taken the following actions:

  • Additional supervision has been put into place with all last block teachers monitoring their class upon dismissal
  • During grade level assembly students and staff are reminded of expectations to ensure all leave the building in a safe and sensible manner
  • A one-way ‘walk on the right’ system has been introduced in the corridors to improve traffic flow

We will continue to monitor high peak periods to ensure new protocols ease congestion.

At the start of the year all Middle School students were assigned a lock and locker to secure their personal items, and a planner to support their organization. For students who have larger sports bags or musical instruments we have installed some additional shelving in common areas. Labeled items that do not fit in the assigned locker may be left in these designated spaces. We ask for your assistance to ensure all items sent to school are labeled so if an item is misplaced it can be handed in and returned to the rightful owner. We also ask that the student planner is signed weekly by a parent or guardian. The planner not only supports organization but home/school communication and students are expected to bring it to every lesson. Thank you for your ongoing support in ensuring all students adhere to our uniform expectations as outlined in the Middle School Handbook.

As highlighted on the school calendar the Week Without Walls is scheduled for 1 – 5 March 2020. For those interested in joining an international expedition, parent meetings are scheduled next week. Please refer to this information below.

As a reminder, Professional Development Days for our staff are scheduled for Sunday and Monday (Oct. 20th & 21st). After an extended weekend school will reopen for students on Tuesday.

Enjoy the week ahead.

Kind regards

Lisa Hewitt

Middle School Principal

Middle School Language - (Arabic, French and Spanish)

Earbuds (reminder)

Students enrolled in a language will be using earbuds in class on a regular basis to watch video clips, create personal videos and audios, listen to tutorials, and play online games. The Middle School kindly requests that all students enrolled in a language class bring a set of earbuds to their class everyday (the small type, please, not headphones). Please note that students are not permitted to wear earbuds in the corridors and commons unless it is for an assigned task.

Week Without Walls

We are excited to share with you next week some information regarding the Middle School Week Without Walls Program for our students in 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Week without Walls provides an opportunity for student to extend their learning beyond the classroom with overseas travel opportunities and local activities that will provide them with a unique perspective about the world and their place in it.

Please note these upcoming dates:

  • Oct. 22nd Informational WWW Website will be open with updated information.
  • Oct. 23rd 8:00- 9:30 am. Trip Facilitators Information Booths will be set up in the main Atrium to provide information and answer parent questions.
  • Oct. 23nd 5:30- 7:00 pm. Parent information session on the WWW Program will take place in the DAA Auditorium.
  • Oct. 24th - The programs will be launched to students in the Auditorium.
  • Oct. 25th The links to sign up for the experiences will open within the website including prices and payments processes.

If you have any questions, please write us at j.matter_daa@gemsedu.com or s.macdonald_daa@gemsedu.com

Counselor's Corner

attention middle school artists


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key contacts

Middle School Secretary:

Sarah Hole s.hole_daa@gemsedu.com / 04 704 9722

Middle School Attendance:

Ariadni Nerkizoglou a.nerkizoglou_daa@Gemsedu.com / 04 704 9728

Middle School Counselors

Mira Nasr M.NASR_DAA@gemsedu.com
Frank Becvar f.becvar_daa@Gemsedu.com