March 14, 2019

Letter from the Middle School Principal

Our students and staff returned from Week Without Walls (WWW) with many stories to share. We would like to acknowledge our dedicated staff who travelled with our students on the WWW expeditions. In total we sent 24 expeditions away with a variety of local and global opportunities; 12 international destinations! The highlights of each trip were celebrated during this week’s Middle School assembly.

From your feedback we know that the Middle School schedule caused many challenges this year. We have listened to the concerns of parents, students and staff and are currently reviewing our schedule to ensure we offer a holistic and developmentally appropriate learning program which exposes students to a wide range of subjects. The pod structure has proved to be effective this year and we will be continuing to refine our structures adding new roles in the form of Heads of Grade to further support the wellbeing of our students. This ensures we continue to build a strong sense of Middle School community and make a large school seem smaller.

Next week parents will have an opportunity to meet me and the other members of the Middle School senior leadership team at a coffee morning on Tuesday. This provides the opportunity to share our vision to ensure we strive to have the best Middle School learning program available.

As a reminder our parent teacher conferences are scheduled for next Wednesday and Thursday.

We look forward to meeting you at one of our upcoming events.

Kind regards


Learning Highlights and Celebrations

Week without Walls




ES Volunteering

External Volunteer

Hatta 6

Hatta 7&8



Nepal 1

Nepal 2

Padi Diving


School Stay

Silicon Valley

Space Rocketry

Sri Lanka 1

Sri Lanka 2

Stay Fit




UAE Living


Earlier this week, Grade 6 Science classes experienced a lunar eclipse using our ClassVR goggles. What a great provocation to start off their unit on eclipses! ClassVR can take us anywhere we want to be, and allow us to experience things we have never seen!

Grade 8 Social Studies

Extra! Extra! Hear all about it!

Grade 8’s spent their Social Studies class reading and conversing about current events. Khaleej Times kindly donated sets of newspapers as provocations to spark discussions and empower students to make connections to their current unit exploring globalization. The class was set up as a cafe, with hot chocolate and a biscuit lending well to the authentic atmosphere. Students were curious about issues related to cyber crimes, entrepreneurship, technology and engaged in meaningful dialogue about the value of tolerance. A great day to express gratitude for our learning and community.

MAP Goal Setting

Your child/children recently received their winter MAP progress reports along with a MAP goal setting sheet. Over the past week, teachers have provided opportunities for students to review their report and set progress goals based on their most recent results. We encourage parents to sit down and have a discussion with their child/children about their progress thus far and the goals they have set for themselves to achieve before the next testing window in June. For more information on MAP, please refer to the communication that was sent to you by <communication_daa@gemsedu.com> via email on March 11th 2019.

Updates and Reminders


MARCH 15, 4-7 pm at DAA!

IFF is happening this Friday! 28 Countries from the DAA community are proud to share with you their Culture, Great Food, Entertainment, Live Music, Amazing Raffle Prizes, Games, Dunk Tank and lots of Giveaways!

Parent Coffee Morning - ‘Get to know your MS Leadership Team’

Date: Tuesday, March 19th

Time: 8.00-9.00am

Location: DAA Auditorium

Momo online safety guide for parents

Many of you may have heard of the dangerous viral challenge spreading throughout social media known as the “momo challenge”. Users are encouraged to engage in various activities, some of which involve self-harm, and provide photographic evidence. According to various media reports, the challenge has been reported on Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp, as well as popping up on the popular video game “Fortnite.” Additional media reports, however, have suggested the challenge may be a hoax that is rapidly spreading. Regardless of whether the challenge is a hoax or a legitimate challenge encouraging children to engage in harmful behavior, we wanted to keep you informed, to encourage you to speak with your children about internet safety and to monitor your child’s use of social media and the internet.

Please see the Parent’s Guide to the Momo challenge from National Online Safety. We are always available for additional support if you have any questions or concerns.

2019/2020 MS Schedule Update

Planning is well underway for the 2019/2020 MS Schedule. We are grateful for all of the feedback received from our student, teacher and parent community with regard to this year's schedule, and are working diligently to ensure all student needs will be met in the 2019/2020 school year. Please join us as we discuss further details at our parent coffee morning on Tuesday, March 19th.

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

March 15th - DAAPA International Food Festival 4-7pm at DAA

March 19th - 8.00-9.00am - Parent Coffee Morning ‘Get to know your Middle School Leadership Team

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

March 20-21 - Middle School Parent teacher conferences

April 16th - 8am - 10am - Grade 8 Parent Coffee Morning - TIMMS Testing

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