I am writing to inform you of the exciting things happening at UAS. I would first like to highlight some of our accomplishments thus far and then discuss preparations for the next school year. This year we have made many enhancements in the school. First, we have improved the Arabic program in the following areas: assessment, placement and performance. At the beginning of the school year, all students were assessed and grouped in classes according to their ability levels. This allowed us to create smaller class sizes, teach to their ability levels, and create a Heritage program for students that needed extra support in Arabic A. Also, Arabic teachers have received intensive training regarding best teaching strategies from the instructional coaches and Dr. Farah, our Arabic coordinator, throughout the school year. Another accomplishment I’m very proud of is all of the teachers have received year long training on how to teach writing using the Lucy Calkins workshop model and best instructional practices for math from world renowned instructors. I have seen significant growth from the teachers as well as the students because of these efforts. This comprehensive training has better prepared our teachers to reach students where they are, help develop personalized lesson plans, and to facilitate continuous growth. We have also implemented the Creative Curriculum in PreK and Kindergarten. This has been strong resource for us because we can track each student based on the objectives in the program which focuses on academics as well as social and emotional growth targets. All of our teachers and teaching assistants have been trained on this program. Another project we are currently working on is remodeling our Early Years playground and classrooms. We have started these efforts but they will continue on throughout the summer and should be enhanced by the beginning of September. I understand with all the improvements, enhancements, and elevated performance there is still work to be done because the pursuit of excellence is never complete. In order for us to take the next step, I look forward to leveraging a partnership with parents and others in the UAS community to maximize our potential.
We also have exciting plans for next year as well. We will be offering an optional full day program for PreK and KG1. We will also offer a personalized after school program, LEAP, for students from PreK through 5th grade. It will involve academic assistance as well as students will have a choice of extracurricular activities. The program will run from 3:10-6:00 PM and will be supervised by teachers and teaching assistants. We are also offering a new math curriculum which will allow for us to better differentiate instruction for all students. We will also be changing how we report progress to parents by sending more frequent reports home based on what students learn in their PYP units of inquiry. There is a lot of work to be done before next year but we are very excited about all of these changes which will enhance students’ learning opportunities.
In conclusion, I would like to encourage you to take advantage of the great opportunities at UAS by re-enrolling your student. Please try to do so by May 9th. I will be personally reaching out to those of you that have not re-enrolled yet to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Don’t forget about our refer a friend program or the Al Futtaim card you can use to pay for your tuition. I look forward to continuing to build partnerships with all parents, improving our community, and pursuing excellence together.
Dr. Stephanie Chattman