February 28, 2019

Letter from the Middle School Principal

Dear Parents

February has certainly flown by quickly and it is difficult to believe it is now almost a month since I joined DAA. As I write this letter our students and staff are excitedly preparing for their Week Without Walls (WWW) expeditions. Whether a student has chosen to be involved in a school stay, an expedition within the UAE or one abroad, these experiential trips provide our students with many learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom setting. WWW provides platform for personal growth with each student taking away something unique from their experience.

Some of the benefits may include:

  • The opportunity to be away from family for the first time helping to develop independence and responsibility.
  • The opportunity to work with a different group of students enabling the student to experience new friendships.
  • The chance to apply their classroom learning in an alternate context by exploring a particular area of interest.
  • For some it is the opportunity to explore other cultures increasing global understanding.
  • Yet for other students it is the opportunity to volunteer, by serving others.

During my many years as a Middle School educator I have been fortunate to explore new destinations and to try new things with students. During each of these expeditions I have learned something, whether a new skill or something about myself, and I always learn interesting things about the students I accompany. Whatever the learning for your son or daughter, we wish all our students and staff an enjoyable and safe trip and look forward to them sharing their adventures when they return to school the week beginning 10 March.

Kind regards

Lisa Hewitt

Learning Highlights and Celebrations

MS Food Drive

Dear wonderful DAA community,

The middle school food drive collection is now complete. Thank you so much for generous contributions of rice, lentils and beans. The food will be delivered to the GEMS SSA camp by the Week Without Walls UAE Living students on the last day of their WWW activities. Below is a recap of the results. Prizes will be given to first place T&D classes shortly!

  • Eighth Graders donated 443 kilos of lentils and beans, beating last year's 8th grade donations by 110 kilos! Special recognition goes to Ms. Simpson's T & D class for their highest donation amount of 153.5 kilos!
  • Seventh Graders donated 541.5 kilos of lentils and beans, surpassing last year's 7th grade donations by 166.5 kilos! Congratulations to Ms. Boswell's T & D class for collecting the largest amount of donations for the 7th grade level, 153.5 kilograms of lentils and beans!
  • Sixth Graders donated the most amount out of all three grade levels - 677.5 kilos of rice! Special recognition goes to Mr. Williams' T & D class for collecting a whopping 258 kilos! Bravo to sixth grade!
  • In total, the Middle School students donated a total of 1,685 kilos of rice, beans and lentils. DAA Leopards are AMAZING!!!!! Thanks again for your contributions.


Watch out Chris Fade, DAA’s Middle Schoolers are honing their broadcasting skills in our recording studio! During this session, Hao, Rianna and Moussa were experimenting with ASMR triggers. ASMR stands for “Autonomous sensory meridian response” and, in a nutshell, is that (nice) tingly feeling you get down your spine when you hear particular sounds. (Not like nails on a chalkboard!) Whispering, tapping, soft scratching and gentle paper crinkling are a few popular triggers. We also found that the twisting of a rubik's cube was pretty cool!

Transformation & Discovery

In Transformation and Discovery, students are conducting an inquiry into the rights and responsibilities in 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. As the first step in their inquiry, students developed compelling questions to guide their project. “Can bullying be reduced through inclusivity?”; “How do governments help their citizens feel like they belong?”; “What makes a family a real family?”; and “Does social media contribute to a sense of belonging?” are just some of the compelling questions 6th-grade students have come up with so far. Project ideas that are being created include such things as designing games to teach players about developing a caring environment, writing short stories about belonging, building 3-D models to illustrate different types of families, and making short films how we can all work to help everyone feel safe and successful.

updates and reminders

Week Without Walls

We want to wish all students and teachers a wonderful and safe WWW. In case of any emergency outside of the regular school hours (7.30am -3.30pm) please contact a MS Administrator on 0506845427. During the school day, you can call the MS Office at 047049722.

MS/HS Production: Big the musical

Rehearsals are well underway with our cast learning the songs, choreography, script and character study. The crew started up last week, planning and creating sets, props, tech, costumes and posters. Thank you to the 32 students who entered our ‘Big the musical’ poster competition. The winning entries will be used for all promotional materials. The actual production will be April 24-25 with tickets going on sale immediately after Spring Break.

house color points

Dates to Remember

February 28th - March 8th - WWW

March 18th - 8am - 10am - Grade 8 Parent Coffee Morning - TIMMS Testing

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

March 20-21 - Middle School Parent teacher conferences


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