February 14, 2019

Letter from the Middle School Principal

Dear Parents

It is a privilege to join Dubai American Academy as the new Middle School Principal and I have certainly received a warm welcome in my first two weeks in the role. After taking a brief sabbatical to undertake further postgraduate study, I am excited to return to the region to join such a dynamic team.

I had visited the school on several occasions in the past whilst I was working at a GEMS managed school in Abu Dhabi, and I know DAA offers an excellent range of opportunities for students both within and beyond the classroom. As an experienced international educator, and as a parent whose own children are international school graduates, I have seen first-hand how a global education prepared my children for their future.

While I have worked across all age groups K-12, working with young adolescents in the middle years has always been a passion of mine. Parents and educators play a significant role in ensuring our students feel safe, secure and supported as they transition through a period of significant change - physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively. We help our students to navigate years that are both tremendously exciting and somewhat challenging. During young adolescence there is often an intense need for social acceptance from peers, coupled with a desire for increased responsibility and independence. At times it can feel like riding an emotional rollercoaster. In partnership we, the parents and Middle School staff, support the young people in our care to realize their potential.

Our program helps to develop many skills including inquiry and critical thinking while also supporting our students to become self-confident and autonomous learners. During the middle years, individuals start to determine ‘the young person they choose to become’.

Over the upcoming weeks a parent coffee morning will be arranged so there is an opportunity to meet me and other members of the Middle School senior leadership team. I look forward to working with your students and hope to meet many of you over the upcoming weeks.

Kind regards

Lisa Hewitt

Message from the principal

Dear Parents

We would greatly appreciate your support in ensuring your student is punctual every day. We recommend Middle School students arrive by 7:35 am to enable them to prepare for their first lesson which commences promptly after the national anthem is played at 7:40am. Over the past few weeks we have noticed an increasing number of students arriving late to school. We appreciate this is often due to traffic - or many students tell us it is due to their sibling getting up late! However, missing the start of a lesson impacts not only the learning of the individual who is late but that of other students as the class teacher often needs to repeat instructions several times.

Individual letters will be sent to parents of students who show an ongoing pattern of tardiness.

Your help with this would be greatly appreciated.



Learning Highlights and Celebrations

MS Sports Day

Track and Field Day was a successful day for students. They competed in a variety of running, throwing and fun activities. Winners will be announced next week.

MS Food Drive

The last day to collect food donations was Thursday, February 14. If you have any questions about the food drive, please email Sara Hall s.hall_daa@gemsedu.com.

Innovation - Global Innovation Challenge

The GEMS Global Innovation Challenge is the region’s biggest youth innovation and entrepreneurship showcase. Over 1000 students from GEMS Education attended at GEMS Modern Academy last weekend. Mr. Mack brought a great selection of student groups from DAA’s Elementary, Middle and High Schools! Our students are leading the way in innovative solutions for global challenges. There were so many amazing ideas from our GEMS students!

We are especially proud of our middle school students who got to compete at the Global Innovation Challenge. Taking from their Transformation and Discovery Projects, they combined passion projects into global solutions.

Grade 7 Earthquake PSAs

Grade 7 Science students were hard at work in the Green Screen TV Studio this week with Ms. G. They’re working on public service announcements for earthquake safety to share with the public in earthquake-prone areas of the world. Though Dubai isn’t known for earthquakes, it’s always a good idea to be knowledgeable on what to do, just in case!

Transformation & Discovery

Essential Question - How best can I ensure everyone belongs?

Semester 2 transformation and discovery leads students into a new unit of inquiry. This unit will allow students to inquire into the rights and responsibilities associated with the struggle to make everyone on this planet feel as though they belong; whether be to their family, friendship groups, school, workplace, community, province or country; and the relationships between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict. For the project to be a success students will need to demonstrate the universal principles and values of moral education through:

  • Establishing healthy mindsets and SMART goals;
  • Developing characteristics of good values and friendships;
  • Managing their thoughts and emotions
  • Making wise decisions; and
  • Developing effective conflict resolution strategies.

Students inquiries will use the concepts and key questions that they have developed in semester 1 to help them connect with what they know already and to help them acquire new knowledge. The knowledge they learn should lead them to take action toward the issue they have researched. Students will communicate what they have learned from their experience, when they present to their parents and the wider DAA community later in Semester 2.

updates and reminders

MAP Testing Continues

The Middle School has just completed its first week of MAP Testing with Math being the focus. Next week we will continue with reading tests in English classes. Middle School MAP Testing Schedule - LINK

Semester 1 Progress Report Cards - February 17th 2019

On February 17th, parents will receive their Middle School student e-progress report via email. To help you with viewing your child's proficiency levels against the standards assessed, please read through the details below.

Accessing your child’s grades in Powerschool - 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).

Reminder - The MS follow a Standards Based Grading system.

In order to best prepare students for post-secondary education and a career, the Middle School is using a standards-based assessment, grading and reporting system to more accurately monitor, measure and communicate a student’s learning, growth and academic achievement.

This system also positively affects the classroom as teachers provide clearer and more meaningful feedback for each student, based on their specific needs and goals.

A “grade” has one purpose: to communicate a student’s learning. Standards-based grading is designed to do just that – clearly communicate a student’s academic progress toward mastery of clearly defined curriculum standards. Curriculum standards are defined for each course and specifically indicate what the student is expected to know and be able to do.

Throughout the course, a student completes assignments and assessments that help the teacher track progress toward mastery of a curriculum standard and where students may require additional assistance.

Each assessment may target multiple curriculum standards. A proficiency level is determined for each curriculum standard targeted.

Approaches to Learning are reported separately. These “ATLs” are noted on the report card for parents to see, but will not factor into the S1 subject report proficiency level.

Week Without Walls

Thank you to all parents for your communication and ability to join our parents’ meetings this week. We will have our Hatta Fort Parent Meeting this upcoming Tuesday, February 19th from 3:45-4:40 pm in the auditorium. We had a successful number of WWW Hoodies ordered and paid for this week and a huge thank you to Ms. Iusan’s class for their design. Please remember to contact your Trip Leader with any questions or concerns.


The pool temperature and Track and Field Day did not allow us to swim this week. We will keep with the regularly scheduled swimming on Week 1 of the timetable on Wednesday and Thursday.

  • The next swim classes will be Wednesday, February 27 and Thursday, February 28.

MS/HS Production: Big the musical

Congratulations to everybody who auditioned for this year’s MS/HS musical production of ‘Big the musical’. The cast has been announced and rehearsals have started. We are now looking for students to be part of the CREW. Applications to be part of the CREW are now open. Please complete this google.form and attend a meeting on Sunday 17 Feb from 3pm in T84 for more details.

We are looking for students from both the MS and HS to help with costumes, sets, props, hair/makeup, and tech.

Photos from our first rehearsal!

house color points

Dates to Remember

February 17th - Report cards are emailed out to parents

February 28th - March 8th - WWW

March 20th & 21st - Middle School Parent teacher conferences

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


Lisa Hewitt, Aimee Fleming and Scott MacDonald

key contacts

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

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