May 16, 2019

Letter from the Middle School Principal

Dear Parents

It was wonderful to welcome our Grade 5 students and their parents this week during our Welcome to Middle School presentation. There is always a mixture of excitement and trepidation when transitioning from one division to another and this is to be expected. Grade 8 students are preparing for their transition to High School recently selecting their electives.

A reminder for our Grade 8 students who will shortly complete their Middle School education. DAAPA have kindly organized the party to be held after the formal ceremony on 20 June. A letter was sent home last week. If your child wishes to purchase the graduation package, t-shirts need to be pre-ordered and have been on sale this week. If your child forgot to bring their money to school and still wish to place an order please contact the Middle School Office on Sunday to see if this is still possible.

Spring MAP testing commenced this week with Science which will be followed by Reading, Math and Language usage. These external tests provide valuable data in respect of how an individual student is progressing against a set of international norms. Results will be printed on the end of year report to be sent home during the final week of school in June.

Next week class placements and elective choices will commence for our current Grade 6 and 7 students for the 2019 – 2020 school year. Students will have an opportunity to nominate peers who they work effectively with, and who they would like to be considered to be placed with next year. We use this student information in conjunction with teacher feedback considering individual learning styles and class dynamics when placing students. If you have concerns in respect of your child’s placement, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s counselor either Ms. Mira Nasr or Mr. Frank Becvar.

Please be reminded that all students are expected to attend school until the last day of term on Thursday 27 June.

We greatly appreciate your feedback. It is important that home and school work collaboratively to ensure we continue to offer a holistic and rigorous learning program for your children. Our teachers are highly dedicated and my greatest pleasure as Principal is sharing positive feedback of how their efforts have supported students’ learning and well-being. However, we also appreciate your feedback highlighting when challenges have arisen whether the solution offered provided a positive resolution. We highly encourage you to complete the GEMS Education Parent Survey 2019 that was sent to you this week.

Enjoy the week ahead

Kind regards


Learning Highlights and Celebrations

Transformation & Discovery

What are you good at? What excites you? What do you read about? What have you dreamed about?

These are the questions that are guiding our Middle School students this month as we embark upon a new learning journey: The Passion Project!

Students will be exploring their own passions, and promoting their empowerment through the planning, development and presentation of a product that is reflective of student knowledge and understanding. They will develop ownership of their knowledge related to what they’re interested in, and will document their learning journey through an online or offline platform, such as a blog or Padlet.

Students will work on presentation skills, evidencing their learning, and fostering creativity through student choice of topic and project product presentation.

DAA MUN Conference

Over the weekend of May 9-11, several Middle School MUN students were involved in the DAA MUN Conference. Several students participated as Admin and we had one Grade 7 student who participated as a delegate. High praise was given to all of our students by high school students and teachers involved for their contributions on the day. In particular, Seokhyun Jang, our Grade 7 delegate, received an Honorable Mention for his position paper. This means that he was able to eloquently outline his country’s position on given global issues. Major credit to Seokhyun as this was his first ever conference! Enormous thanks also goes to our MS Admin for the conference: Ella Doubleday, Olivia Wang and Lucy Zhang.


Approximately 120 middle school students took part in the annual Gauss Math Competition on Thursday. The Competition is administered by the University of Waterloo, Canada. We recorded some incredibly high scores and are very proud of our students for their hard work and dedication.


Electives Options for MS Students 2019/2020

Please watch our MS Course Electives - Video

This coming week MS students will receive a Google Form requesting them to choose their elective courses for the 2019/2020 school year.

Before students make their final decision on which elective courses they would like to take, we encourage them to sit down with their parents and discuss their prior learning experiences, their interests and their options before making a final decision.

Parents will receive communication of their child's elective choices once they have completed the form. Please make an appointment to speak with your child’s counselor, Mrs. Mira Nasr or Mr. Frank Becvar through the MS Secretary, Mrs. Sarah Hole (s.hole_daa@gemsedu.com) if you have any questions or concerns.

The following points are important to keep in mind when discussing the elective choices with your child:

*Students are to select 4 electives under Elective 1 in order of preference, and 2 electives in order of preference under Elective 2. We endeavor to give students their first two choices however this may not be possible due to class sizes.

*World Languages (French & Spanish) - Students should study a language for a minimum of 2 years to be able to access continuation French or Spanish in Grade 9 (Minimum requirement Level 2).

Grade 7&8 Elective Choices 2019/2020

Elective 1 (Semester Based - Students study 2 of the below electives)

*Students will select 4 in order of preference

  • Drama
  • Art (2D - print/paint/draw)
  • Design Technology
  • D&T: Coding and Robotics
  • Music (Band)

Elective 2 (Full Year - Students study 1 of the below electives)

*Students will select 2 in order of preference

  • French
  • Spanish
  • Art 7 (2D & 3D - including ceramics, textiles and sculpture)
  • Art 8 (World Art - the creation and study of different art forms from around the world)
  • Sports Studies


The DAA MS Drama department will be holding a Theatre Festival on June 13th 2019. Our Theatre Festival will start directly after school at 3:00pm. The festival will be presented in two Acts and will see students from each Drama Class present a short whole class play. We look forward to sharing our work with you on this afternoon. All DAA students and families are invited to attend the performances.

Accessing your Child's Grades

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).

House Color Points

student spotlight

A few weeks ago, 15 of our grade 7-10 students participated in a UAE wide Quiz competition. Out of 75 UAE schools and over 1700 Student competitors, the team of Christian Psycharis and Omar Elmaayergi made it past the elimination round into the quarter finals. The show was taped for a TV Quiz series and the quarter finals aired on May 12th. Our students easily won that episode with a handsome margin. The semifinals will air sometime in June. We will keep you posted once we know the date. While we are not permitted to disclose the outcome of that episode, we assure you, you will want to watch!

Dates to Remember

May 12th - June 19th - MAP Testing - Schedule linked HERE

June 3-6: Eid Al Fitr (no classes)

June 9: School resumes with regular hours

June 12th-18th - MS Art and Design Exhibition

June 13th - MS Theatre Festival

June 20th - Grade 8 Completion Ceremony

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