April 18, 2019

Letter from the Middle School Principal

Dear Parents

I hope you had a wonderful Spring Break with your family and that our Middle Schoolers have returned this week ready to learn. There is still a great deal of learning to happen over the next two months.

This week, Grade 8 commenced the transition to High School. On Monday students met members of the High School team during a welcome assembly. Next Monday, 22 April a parent coffee is planned to commence at 8:00am in the High School cafeteria. An email was sent to Grade 8 parents inviting them to this event.

The office has been contacted by several parents in respect of Grade 8’s last day of school. While the completion ceremony is scheduled for Thursday 20 June, the following week is an official school week and absences are recorded. As per the DAA KHDA approved calendar, Thursday, 27 June is the last day of the academic year for all Middle School students.

During Grade 7 assembly this week we focused on making good choices. We highlighted that all of us (students, staff and parents) contribute to a Culture of Kindness, and it is important to show respect for ourselves and for our community. It is typical for young adolescents to test boundaries but they understand that choices have consequences. As a school our philosophy for behavior management is based on restorative not punitive practice. This means that when a young person makes a poor choice, they must be able to understand the consequence of their decision, learn from their mistakes and not fear being judged.

We have some exciting activities ahead. Spirit Week is about identity and community building. This year’s Middle School Spirit Week is scheduled for 28 April – 02 May with a range of fun activities planned. Please see below for details.

Big: The Musical, our Middle School and High School production, is on next Wednesday, 24 April at 3:30pm and Thursday, 25 April at 3:30 and 7:30pm. The students, under the guidance of our wonderful teachers from The Arts department, have been very busy rehearsing. Tickets are available in the foyer for AED20 and we hope to see many of you during one of the performances.

Enjoy the week ahead.

Kind regards


Learning Highlights and Celebrations

Special visit from Trinidad and Tobago!

This week we had a very special visitor from Trinidad and Tobago, Tomley Roberts, an art teacher from Speyside High School. Tomley was a guest in the grade 8 art classes, as part of our Caribbean art unit. He taught the students block printing on fabric, with themes and motifs from his country of origin.

GEMS National Schools Tennis Championship

This week 8th grade students Habib and Rayan where part of an eight team squad that participated in the annual event at The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium. DAA made the quarter finals. After rain delayed the play before the spring break, this Wednesday was sunny and we had a full day. Well done to the team for their participation.

Yearbook Highlight

In 10 weeks, we will celebrate the end of the school year, and the Yearbook team is getting closer to complete the Middle School Yearbook.

Four wonderful Eighth graders have worked very hard to choose the theme and create the templates. Now they are still collecting materials, but be ready for a "Vintage" approach.

Grade 8 Science

This week, Grade 8 students learned that when atoms combine, the resulting substances are held together by an ionic or covalent bond that gives it different characteristics. They conducted a lab to classify unknown substances as ionic or covalent. They collected data about the unknown substances' conductivity, melting/boiling points, and solubility in order to identify the mystery substance. They practiced their lab skills, and collaboration. They also learned how to use a Bunsen burner correctly. Here's a video!


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.

MS/HS Production: Big the musical


The cast and crew are really excited to present this years combined MS/HS production ‘Big the musical’. There are 100 students involved in the cast, choir, band and crew who have been working tirelessly to put this production together. It is based on the 1988 classic Tom Hanks movie ‘Big’. Tickets are on sale all next week in the main atrium, in the PRE Office and at Accounts. There are three showtimes:

Wednesday 24 April 3:30pm

Thursday 25 April 3:30pm

Thursday 25 April 7:00pm

Grade 8: A note from HS Administration on Course Selection:

These are exciting times for your child in 8th grade! Within the next two weeks, they will select their grade 9 courses. We have the following set up to ease your child, and yourself into this process:

  • Coffee Morning, Welcome to the High School! Monday, April 22nd at 8am in the MS/HS cafeteria.
  • Students in grade 8 will work in small groups during T&D time on May 1st and 2nd. While one pod is on a HS tour, the others will be guided through the course selection process. Counselors and Admin will be present to support students.

Course Selection on PowerSchool:

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.

Final selections will be used to build the schedule for next years classes.

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

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

student council

DAAPA Bake Sale!

April 25th at lunch in Learning Commons 2 & 4 in preparation for the Grade 8 Grad (Middle School Completion Ceremony)

Middle School Movie Night

Playing: Night at the Museum

Tickets Go on Sale During Spirit Week at Lunch (20 AED each)

Tickets provide you with: 1 Slice Pizza, 1 bag popcorn, 1 drink

May 2 in the Elementary Gym

Show starts at 7pm

Proceeds go to Grade 8 Grad!


Please look at the Powerpoint posted on Middle School Bulletin for the full outline of Spirit Week and explicit rules for each day.

See the powerpoint here

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).

The Holy month of Ramadan *May 5th - June 3rd

During the month of Ramadan the MS will follow a modified schedule linked HERE. In addition we will hold a Ramadan Assembly on May 2nd to inform MS students of the values and significance of the holy month of Ramadan. Below provides important information and DAA’s expectations for all students while we observe the month of Ramadan:

Ramadan arrives as per the Islamic lunar calendar, which has 354 days. Hence, it arrives 11 days earlier in every subsequent year of the Gregorian calendar.

The UAE follows an official announcement about the first day of Ramadan from a moon-sighting committee.

To Muslims, fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is something spiritual that aims to clean the soul by freeing it from impurities.

Ramadan is also a time for Muslims to practice self-discipline, sacrifice and empathy for those less fortunate. It encourages generosity and charity.

Eating and Drinking

    • Eating and drinking is forbidden during daylight hours.
    • According to the Holy Qur’an: One may eat at any time during the night ‘until you can plainly distinguish a white thread from a black thread by the daylight’, then keep the fast until night.
    • The last meal before daybreak is known as Suhur.
    • Each day’s fast is broken at sunset with water and dates before prayers, followed by Iftar, the evening meal.
    • Following Iftar, Muslims go to pray the night prayers (Taraweeh). And it is traditional for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends.

Fasting should be broken at sunset upon Maghrib call for prayers (Azaan). This occurs just after sunset.

To make Ramadan an easier experience, certain norms change during the month. They are as follows:

Non-Muslims do not have to fast in Ramadan. However, they are prohibited from eating, drinking and smoking in public during the fasting hours. This includes chewing gum.

Non-Muslims are free to eat and drink in the privacy of their own home, as well as in designated areas.

Additional things to consider:

Please do not:

  • Engage in any aggressive behaviour
  • Dance or play music in public although you may listen to music quietly with headphones
  • Wear inappropriate clothing in public

RAMADAN is called the blessed month because:

  • In this month, the whole Qur'an was revealed to the prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
  • It is the month of patience and it teaches the lesson of kindness towards others.
  • Ramadan is the most important month of the year and all believers get busy seeking Allah's mercy, forgiveness, and protection during the month.
  • This is the month for renewing our commitment and re-establishing our relationship with our Creator. It is the spring season for goodness and virtues when righteousness blossoms throughout all communities.
  • Ramadan is a time for charity; giving to the less fortunate will be greatly appreciated.

The MS Library

The Middle School Library is getting a makeover. Over the past couple of months if you have come to the library you will have noticed that there has been many changes, however it is a work in progress. We have been very busy weeding the collection to make room for new books that are on the way. We have moved in more tables and chairs for students to collaborate, complete classwork, homework or read. Just the other day all our shelving was rearranged to provide an open learning space where we will be adding new seating and work areas for all. And finally, our fiction collection is being reorganized into genres to help students find books easier. I invite everyone to stop by and take a look at our exciting changes.

The circulation desk has been relocated and shelving has been been moved as well.

We now have an amazing open space were we will be adding moveable tables and chairs for student collaboration.

House Color Points

Dates to Remember

Dates to remember:

March 28th - May 2nd - Spring Spirit Week

April 21st - PD Day - No School for Students

April 24th - 25th - BIG the MS/HS musical production

May 1st - Grade 7 Air Band Competition and Grade 8 HS tour and course selection

May 2nd - Ramadan Assembly & MS Movie Night & Grade 8 HS tour and course selection

May 5th - Grade 6 Dance Off

June 20th - Grade 8 Completion Ceremony


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