March 28, 2019

Letter from the Middle School Principal

Dear Parents

I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet many of you and to receive your feedback since commencing in February. In such a vibrant school there have been various events including the International Food Festival, the recent Middle School parent forum, parent/teacher conferences, or occasions where parent groups have been working with me as we plan ahead.

Conferences are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate learning. I trust you found them beneficial as teachers shared with you what your child has been learning and highlighted specific targets that they can focus on for the remainder of the school year.

During T&D this week students across the various grade levels shared their ideas about how we can create a stronger sense of belonging in Middle School. There was a wonderful array of creative ideas and it was really pleasing to see our Grade 8s show some great examples of leadership as they interacted with our Grade 6 students.

For those who were unable to attend last week’s Middle School Parent Forum the copy of the presentation can be found HERE for your information.

Wishing all in our community an enjoyable Spring break and for those leaving the UAE, safe travels.

Kind regards


Learning Highlights and Celebrations

Transformation and discovery

‘How best can I ensure everyone belongs?’

Grade 8 Projects

On March 27th, our 6th and 8th graders presented their projects on Belonging to each other. The 8th graders planned games for the students to play, and gave some great tips on belonging in MS.

Some grade 8 students focused on how to make students physically belong in our school (a scavenger hunt to learn more about the different teachers and classrooms), some created proposals for clubs and activity groups that would allow more students to belong to a group of peers, while others created activities to simulate challenging scenarios that middle school students may face and some tips to help younger students navigate these times.

Grade 7 Projects

The 7th grade students presented their summative project to their teachers, administrators and peers. Students created an array of board games, animation, social media accounts, podcasts, and videos. One student learned that “you don’t have to be popular to belong”. Another learned that “we all belong and excluding people is hurtful”.

Grade 6 Projects

The 6th graders were nervous but excited to present their belonging projects to the 8th graders. Students presented games, videos, and activities addressing questions such as “How does belonging look different in different communities?”, “What does it mean to belong?”, “How does belonging affect how we think?” and many more. It was a great chance for students to show off the results of their hard work and to gain new ideas on how to create such projects in the future.

Our 8th graders presenting their project idea to our 6th grade students - “after school cooking classes will bring students together, therefore building a sense of community and belonging”.

“The objective of the game was that through playing, students learn ways to help students feel they belong in the Middle School” - E.g. “you can solve conflicts in the Middle School by going to the counselor, it is better not to be involved in ‘drama’, talk the person and ask them ‘what is causing the fight?’.”

“The game of Fuzbol brings people together, which in turn builds a sense of belonging for like minded students”.

Students conducted surveys to gather data on how people felt about belonging to the middle school. The researchers suggested ways new students can actively be involved in health social groups and ways to avoid negative relationships.

Students across the grades designed activities to interact, play and have fun with their classmates they don’t normally see. Students level of thought on “how do we make people feel they belong” expanded into creative goals, interactive tasks and many smiles.

Students created “Belonging Fortune Cookies” for their classmates to randomly select advice, tips and messages of togetherness which quickly became a popular stop in Mr. Zambone’s science room. Many groups were able to visit multiple stations in a class and experience positive presentations about belonging.

English Language Arts

Over the past few weeks MS students have been working in literature circles for their current novel study! Students work with a small group to participate in an in depth and engaging study of the text. This week the grade 6 students explored point of view by creating a Wilderness Survival Guide that pairs with the text, A Long Walk to Water.


The fun filled MOGA events consisted of word games, rebus puzzles, catapult, cup stacking, Bball ‘free throw’ shooting and more! Students moved with their T&D class from one activity to the next, collaborating, competing, problem solving, creating and enjoying their last morning at school before their well deserved Spring Break!

Updates and Reminders

Calling all 7th and 8th grade musicians!

Junior Fine Arts is coming up soon: May 2-4 in Abu Dhabi and we are looking for singers and instrumentalists to join the JFA band and choir. If you are interested in participating in this prestigious event with other fine musicians from ASD and ACS, please email Mrs. Hall immediately at s.hall_daa@gemsedu.com.

She will contact you directly with details and audition information.

2019/2020 MS Schedule Update

We are currently working on next year’s schedule to ensure we are responding to the feedback received and addressing areas of concern. The proposed schedule meets the developmental needs of our Middle Schoolers and provides various options to ensure both depth and breadth within our learning program.

Shortly after Spring Break we will provide information to both students and parents highlighting what is on offer next year. There are some exciting new electives including 3D Art, Band, Choir, Dance and Sports Studies in addition to the electives currently on offer.

During the planning phase we have sought input from many groups and the proposed timetable will be tested during the Spring Break as we plan ahead for next school year.

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).

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 go on sale Monday 15 April from the DAA foyer. There are three showtimes:

Wednesday 24 April 3:30pm

Thursday 25 April 3:30pm

Thursday 25 April 7:00pm

We hope you can all make it and see this fantastic show!

- BIG THE MUSICAL cast and crew -

house color points


As a way to show our appreciation to the amazing DAA teachers, we are requesting you to showcase your culinary skills and prepare an appetizer or salad, an entrée (cold or hot), or a dessert that will serve up to 20 people for the lunch. In order to get a good selection of sweet and savory, we ask that you bring an:
Appetizer or salad if your last name begins with the letters S-ZEntrée if your last name begins with the letters A-FDessert if your last name begins with the letters G -R
(For example, Smith begins with “S”, so bring an appetizer)
Kindly email a brief description of your dish to daaparentconnect@gmail.com by Sunday, April 14th.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday, DAAPA Teacher Appreciation Lunch Committee

Dates to Remember

March 28th - April 11th - Spring Break (early dismissal at 12.00pm)

April 16th - 8am - 10am - Grade 8 Parent Coffee Morning (by invitation only) - TIMSS Testing

April 21st - PD Day - No School for Students

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

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