January 31, 2019

Dear All,

The Middle School Administration team would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank each and every teacher for their dedication, effort and pure hard work over the past few weeks leading up to the KHDA inspection. We are extremely proud of our teachers and their departments for demonstrating the outstanding teaching and learning happening in the Middle School.

As Semester 1 is coming to a close, our Middle School students are busy finishing off their unit assessments. MAP testing is well underway and we look forward to reviewing the progress your child has made since the beginning of the academic year. MAP results are a new and important feature you will find on the Middle School Report Card.

This coming week we are excited to welcome our new Middle School Principal, Mrs. Lisa Hewitt to DAA. Lisa will begin her duties on Sunday, February 3rd. Lisa plans to spend the first few days meeting students and teachers as she gets to know her way around the school. During our Middle School Assembly on February 6th, students will be formally introduced to Lisa Hewitt as their new Principal.

learning highlights & Celebrations

The Great Kindness Challenge

This week we celebrated the Great Kindness Challenge. It has become an International event in which schools challenge their students to complete 50 acts of kindness. Families were also invited to participate and complete a family checklist. Students who filled in the checklists earned 3 culture of kindness tickets. Those that fill out the family checklist received 5 tickets.

Throughout the week students participated in kindness themed activities in their T&D classes. We created ‘hidden kindness message’ bracelets that will be redistributed randomly as a Random Act of Kindness, we added messages to our Great Wall of Kindness, we worked on kindness public service announcements, and spread some happiness throughout the middle school with heart messages.

UAE Living Museum

G6 Social Studies students researched and dressed the part of a variety of human features of the U.A.E. During their presentations, Grade 5 came to visit and enjoyed learning about the many interesting aspects of the U.A.E.’s rich cultural heritage.

MS Food Drive

In partnership with The Great Kindness Challenge and DAA’s Culture of Kindness philosophy, the middle school is hosting its annual Food Drive. Sixth graders are encouraged to donate bags of rice, while seventh and eighth graders are encouraged to donate bags of dried lentils, peas, dal and beans. All donations should be brought to each student’s T&D teacher, and prizes will be awarded to the T&D classes that collect the most amount of food. The drive will end on February 14th.


This week we had a troupe of energetic Drama enthusiasts journey to the Northern mountains of Thailand for the Chiang Mai International Schools Theatre Association Middle School Festival. This festival saw 100 young people from 10 different international Schools gather together in the luscious surrounding of the Prem International School to share stories, play, connect and create theatre with four internationally acclaimed artists. The whole weekend was fantastic and the students who represented the DAA Middle School did themselves and our community proud!

We are already looking forward to next year’s trip and hope to have an even bigger group from our Middle School take this journey!

Check out some of the highlights of the trip below:

Middle School Winter Concert Made our Hearts Warm!

Congratulations to all student musicians that performed on Monday’s Winter Concert. It was a fabulous evening of beautiful music and student success. Mrs. Hall is so proud of your hard work and dedication to excellence. Thanks to all of the parents, teachers and students who attended the concert. Your support is much appreciated by all!


Why are eye jokes worse than other jokes? They’re cornea! Students in grade 7 had the opportunity to dissect a sheep’s eye to identify the different parts of the eye and to examine the lens as part of our topic on waves. For many students this was their first dissection and they rose to the challenge with much interest. They were able to make connections between their initial study of light and lenses to they way the eye uses light waves to see the world. Anastazja (7B) noted that “it was a different experience from when you see it on tv and when you have an actual eye in your hand. She loved it and her friends said she was so lucky”. A special thanks to our lab technicians Padma and Nija who provided invaluable assistance to this successful lab. Many students have already asked about what they will dissect next...hopefully future science jokes will be just as humerus.


In today’s digital society, being smart digital citizens is incredibly important. Last week, our Middle School students inquired into what it means to be “Internet Awesome” and created some amazing public service announcements to help their peers understand the importance of online safety. Using some great resources created by Google, students inquired into the following areas of Internet safety:

  • Be Internet Smart: Share with care
  • Be Internet Alert: Don’t fall for fake
  • Be Internet Strong: Secure your secrets
  • Be Internet Kind: It’s cool to be kind
  • Be Internet Brave: When in doubt, talk it out

Updates & reminders

Middle / High School Daily Uniform Requirements (Grades 6-12)

- Regulation DAA light blue oxford shirt with logo, fully buttoned.

- Regulation dark blue slacks for boys.

- Regulation dark blue skirts or slacks for girls. The skirt length should be at or below knee length.

- Regulations dark blue tie with logo.

- White socks with skirts and black socks with slacks.

- All black shoes with non-marking soles and heels.

- Black leather belts for slacks.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE - As your developing adolescents go through many growth spurts, please check to see that their uniforms are fitting correctly (skirts to knee length, shirts and pants that are not too tight, and ties/scarves). Thank-you!

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

Trip leaders whom are communicating with families and students are very excited for what will be an amazing fun filled week! We will have our second WWW group meeting this upcoming week during T&D to share further information and engage in team building activities. Upcoming parent meetings will take place after school in February. More details to follow.


Just a reminder that Swimming will be Feb 13 for A, B, C, D PE classes. Swimming will have to be rescheduled on Feb 14 due to Track and Field Day. Those students, E, F, G, H PE classes, will swim the following Thursday Feb 21. Then Feb 27 and 28. Swimming is mandatory so please ensure that your child has their PE Kit prepared.

Color House Points

Dates to remember:

January 28th - February 19th - MAP testing

February 3rd - First day of Semester 2

February 4th - MS Candy Gram Sales

February 6th - MS Assembly

February 9th - GEMS Global Innovation Showcase

February 12th - Teacher Professional Learning Day - no students at school

February 14th - MS Sports Day

February 17th - Report cards are emailed out to parents

February 28th - March 8th - WWW



Aimee Fleming, Scott MacDonald and Tammy Murphy

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