Artistic Expression

If you have been a member of the UAS community for some time, you are well aware of the artistic abilities of our students.  From the opportunities to perform on our MPH main stage to pop-up venues, our students enjoy expressing themselves.  Below you will find two recent examples that absolutely blew me away.  The first is a spoken word poem performed by our Student Government President.  The passion and confidence with which his words were delivered literally brought tears to my eyes.  The second performance was conducted at a fundraiser for Orange Mint, a student-led musical coming in January.  It was performed by two of our seniors, one who happens to be a published poet!

Spoken Word

Open Mic Afternoon

Nuts & Bolts Issues

  • We kindly suggest that parents pick up students from Gate 4 after school.  It is a much less congested area and parents will be able to get in and out much faster and safer.
  • Quarter 1 reports will be published on November 13th, one day prior to Parent/Teacher Conferences.  This report will consist of grades, behavior, effort and attendance numbers.  Comments will be included on the end of Semester I and the End of Year reports.

Upcoming Important Dates

  • November 1st – 3rd – AUD MUN Conference
  • November 5th – Counselor Coffee Morning
  • November 5th – UC Davis University Lunch Visit
  • November 12th – AUS Lunch Visit
  • December 3rd – Counselor Coffee Morning

Upcoming Coffee Morning

On October 17th, I will hold my first Principal Coffee Morning.  We’ll kick off the morning promptly at 8:30 in the High School Library.  There are two topics of conversation I would like to address.  The first is our IB results from 2018.  There is much to celebrate and equally much to address.  I will spend a considerable chunk of our time unpacking the details of our results in the broader context of IB schools in Dubai.  This conversation provides a nice segue into the larger topic of our initiative to provide an alternative American curriculum track for those not undertaking the IB Diploma.  As a former IB Coordinator, I have an affinity toward the program as it is one of the most academically rigorous university preparatory high school diplomas in the world.  However, UAS has limited student choice by funneling everyone into IB courses in grades 11 and 12, regardless of whether or not the student is registered for the exam.  Our aim is to broaden the choices we provide and in doing so meet the needs of every student we serve.

 

Notice From RASH Coordinator

Ms. Traci Whalen, our Required After School Hour (RASH) Coordinator, sent home an email recently regarding the return of RASH.  We set up the RASH Program last year to provide a support mechanism for student who struggled to get their work in on time.  We will begin this support again next week to ensure our students are provided with the time and space some of them need to complete their work.  Our aim is to make sure none of our students simply opt out from completing an assessment task.  If a student were able to opt out,  it would likely lead to gaps in content knowledge and skills.  Ultimately, RASH has been put into place to help students in their learning journey to achieve their personal best.

 

From our National Honor Society

Upcoming Important Dates

  • October 14th – 18th – School Pictures
  • October 15th – Grade 12 Family College Night
  • October 17th – Principal Coffee Morning

UAS Core Values

At last week’s High School Back-to-School Night, I spoke about our High School Core Values.  Rather than rehash the presentation, I have included it below:

One glaring omission from the conversation on innovation is the story of our very own Fouad in grade 12.  This young man has created a phone app that could run our school’s cafeteria system.  Over the summer, Fouad created the product and pitched it to the Senior Leadership Team.  We are currently conducting  a feasibility study to determine it’s possible use.  It is stories like these which highlight how innovative our student body truly is!

From the Counseling Team

With the first month of UAS well on its way, the High School Counseling Office would like to invite you to the first, monthly, Parent Coffee Morning on Monday, October 1, from 8:00 – 9:30am in the Counseling Office. The counselors will be kicking off the month of October with a Counselor-Parent Meet and Greet. At this Parent Coffee Morning session, you will have an opportunity to:

– Meet your child’s counselors
– Learn about the services provided
– Review a timeline of what your child should be doing in each grade level for their social, academic/career development and mental health wellbeing
– Q&A

If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP hereCoffee and lights snacks will be provided.

*The Counseling Office will hold monthly Parent Coffee Mornings on the first Monday of each month. A detailed schedule of future sessions and topics will be sent out at a later date and added to our school calendar.

From the PTSO

Upcoming Important Dates

  • October 6th – SAT Test Date
  • October 14th – 18th – School Pictures
  • October 15th – Grade 12 Family College Night
  • October 17th – Principal Coffee Morning

Back-to-School Night

We look forward to welcoming parents on Monday, September 24th from 6:30 to 8:30 in the MPH for Back-to-School Night.

Parents will get a chance to hear me and others talk about what sets UAS apart: Our community!  We will begin the evening together in the MPH with a 30 minute presentation that will focus on what we value as a school community.  Parents will then have the option to remain in the MPH, which will be set up like a trade show, or head over to the band and choir rooms to hear short presentations from a number of departmental leaders.  The purpose of the evening is threefold.  First and foremost, our aim is to build community.  This year we welcomed fourteen new members to the UAS High School faculty.  I have spent the past five weeks getting to know these wonderful educators and now the parental community will have a chance to meet them as well.  Secondly, our aim is to emphasize the role of learning at UAS.  As principal, my job is to establish the best possible conditions for learning to take place across the school.  At UAS, we encourage students to look beyond grades.  We encourage teachers to look beyond teaching.  We encourage our entire community to focus on learning.  Learning is not a passive process.  Learning takes place in the messy world of movement, action, creation, and play.  Lastly, our aim is to share with parents what our students will learn this year.  From learning quadratic equations to Newton’s three laws of motion, our students have a lot on their plates.  As educators, we strive to make every lesson relevant to the lives of our students.

See you all Monday evening!

 

Upcoming Theatrical Performance

Upcoming Important Dates

  • October 6th – SAT Test Date
  • October 14th – 18th – School Pictures
  • October 15th – Grade 12 Family College Night

Maintaining Equilibrium

This past week, Assistant Principal McManus and Dean of Students Hall conducted tardy sweeps.  The essence of this task was to set a tone regarding our high school expectations of arriving on time to each and every class, event or activity.  We hold these standards for both students and staff.  We saw tardies drop from 43 on Sunday to 12 on Thursday, but at what cost?  Some of our teachers asked really probing questions regarding our school culture.  They asked if we were moving too far, too fast.  They questioned if we might be alienating Mr. McManus and Ms. Hall from the student body they are here to serve.

Our answer: Maintain equilibrium.  This past week we held students to very high punctuality standards, arguably higher than we ever have at UAS.  So how did we maintain equilibrium?  We celebrated their success of improving attendance rates by handing out ice cream sandwiches in the form of “tardy for the weekend” slips.  Mr. McManus and Ms. Hall excused students five minutes early from their last period to let them know they were late for the weekend and they needed to pick up their tardy slips (ice cream sandwiches) on their way out of school.

Moving forward, this will be an operational principle for this high school administrative team.  When we push students hard, we will celebrate their successes in a big way!

 

From the Counseling Department

From the PTSO

From the MS/HS Library

Upcoming Important Dates

  • September 24th – HS Back-to-School Night from 6:30 – 8:30 in the MPH
  • October 6th – SAT Test Date
  • October 14th – 18th – School Pictures
  • October 15th – Grade 12 Family College Night

So it Begins…

We kicked off the 2018/19 school year with our first day assembly!

The message we sent students is that UAS is a place where we can work together to be creative, innovative and have fun in our learning journey!  We discussed that as a K-12 school, we are looking into establishing an overarching set of core values.  These core values will guide our practices and help create alignment across our three divisions.  Last year, a group of high school students and teachers came together to draft a version of what might inform these new values.  They came up with respect, community, resilience, compassion and innovation.  Although these might not make the final cut, I am proud of the work and thought that was put into creating this set of core values.  I see these values alive and well each and every day I am at UAS!

 

Message from Ms. Hania

Please note this message is only for the KG1, KG2 as well as the new students joining UAS from outside of Dubai

Dear Parents,

As a school we are required to register all students with the Knowledge & Human Development Authority (KHDA). As such, all parents are required to bring both their child’s and their own original Emirates IDs to school where we will scan the ID’s and transfer the information into the KHDA system.

Once your child’s details are registered into the system, we will be able to download your Parent School Contract which you will have to sign. For your information, the contract includes all relevant information pertaining to the school, including school fees and transport fees.

In order to complete the registration, you are kindly requested to attend the Admissions Office, from 8.00 am to 4.00 pmSunday to Thursday and no later than Thursday, September 27. If the registration is not done by this date, students will not be able to request or receive any official documentation required from the school, such as report cards, enrollment letters, etc.

Thanking you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

Regards,

Hania Kabbara-Zaghloul, Director of Admissions/KHDA Liaison

Early Release Tuesdays

In view of the fact that the Hijri holiday will be observed on Thursday, September 13, there will now be school on Tuesday, September 11. We would like to remind you that, as of next Tuesday, September 11, and every Tuesday hereafter (unless otherwise specified) students will finish school at 2:00 PM.

Early Release Tuesdays allow teachers valuable time to collaborate, plan and improve instruction within their discipline. Leading schools across Dubai and the world have implemented this program, and we truly believe this is key to the academic and social success of our students.

Important Dates

September 12th (Wed.) – High School WWW Parent Presentation (7:00 – 8:30)

September 24th (Mon.) – High School Back-to-School Night (6:30 – 8:30)

September 26th (Wed.) – Principal Coffee Morning

A Week Full of Milestones

This week marks the beginning of a new school year, one that is full of milestones.  For our graduating class of 2019, Tuesday will be their last first day of school. Many in our junior class will embark on their journey through the IB.  Our freshmen will enter UAS as high school students for the first time. As for me personally, this year represents an important milestone as an educator.  The 2018/19 school year will be my first as a divisional principal.

I spent the summer balancing between prepping the upcoming year and spending quality time with my family.  One project I chipped away at throughout the summer was the creation of a Principal User Manual. It is a pamphlet which describes how I operate in order for teachers to get the most out of me with the least amount of frustration.  When we buy a new microwave from Plugins, it comes equipped with a detailed user manual outlining all of the functionality of the device. As consumers, it is crucial to know exactly how to use the appliance as misuse can lead to inadvertently damaging the product.  The same applies here. However, the damage I am attempting to avoid is the positive working relationship we as educators need to continue to push the school forward. I shared my user manual with the staff during orientation and the feedback I received was fantastic! In the spirit of open and transparent communication, I am including my Principal User Manual here for the community to have a look at.  I am happy to answer any questions that may pop up after reading through it. Feel free to reach out and set up a meeting!

Lastly, please find the supply lists for grades 9 & 10 here and for grades 11 & 12 here.  Students should get everything they need by Sunday, September 9th.

Upcoming Important Dates

September 2nd and 3rd – IB Diploma Workshops (all full IB Diploma students must attend from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM).  Students are responsible for transportation to/from the school as we are not running buses on these days.  Additionally, students can either bring a packed lunch or cash to purchase lunch.  A survey will be taken first thing in the morning and those with cash will order from one collectively agreed upon restaurant.

September 3rd – High School Exam Re-sits (for students who finished with a 1 or 2 last year in a core subject – Report to High School Office at 8:30 for 9:00 start).  A confirmation email will be sent to specific students and parents later this week.

September 3rd – High School New Student Orientation 10:00 – 12:00 (new students to meet in the Secondary Library – parents also welcome).

September 4th – First Full Day of School for all students

September 4th – Principal Parent Evening (7:00 – 8:00 PM) in the HS Library

 

 

Welcome to the new HS Admin Team!

Brian McManus – High School Assistant Principal

The 2018-2019 school year marks Brian’s thirteenth year an educator.  He started his career in education in 2005 working as a high school English teacher at Everglades High School in Miramar, Florida.  In 2008, he moved to Beijing where he taught IB Literature, Language and Literature, and Theory of Knowledge at the International School of Beijing.  In 2015, he transitioned into the role of Strategic Learning Coordinator, where he focused on incorporating experiential learning opportunities and Chinese cultural elements across all divisions of the school.

Brian earned a Master of Arts in Writing and Literature from Deakin University, as well as a Master of Education and Post-Graduate Certificate in Educational Leadership from The College of New Jersey.

Having grown up on the beaches of central New Jersey, Brian spends his summers with his feet in the sand and a fishing rod in his hands.

Brian is excited to join the UAS team as the High School Assistant Principal.

Kyle Coppes – High School Principal

Kyle Coppes is beginning his third year at UAS and is eager to take on his new role as High School Principal after serving as Assistant Principal for the past two years. Kyle began his career in education fourteen years ago at an American international school in Egypt where he taught in the social studies department.  Before leaving Cairo, Kyle served as head of the humanities department and taught in the IB Diploma Program. Kyle also proudly served as the IB Diploma Coordinator at an American School in Cyprus prior to joining UAS. During his tenure as a DP Coordinator, his focus on school improvement efforts yielded an increase in the school average from 30 to 34 points overall.  Additionally, students scoring two or more core points went from 23% to 100% over the course of his fours years at the school.

Kyle considers himself a lifelong learner and will embark on a journey to earn his EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California beginning this fall.  He also holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership from George Washington University.

Education is a family business for Kyle as his lovely wife Dina works at the school as an instructional coach. They have two amazing children, Ramzi and Sophia, who attend school here at UAS. Their greatest joy is random interactions in the library or cafeteria with their kids throughout the work week.

When not working, studying or parenting, Kyle enjoys the occasional round of golf or spending time with friends.

 

Both Kyle and Brian have been working closely with the Senior Leadership Team since August 5th planning for the 2018/19 school year.  They can’t wait for the liveliness that comes with the entire student body walking the halls. They look forward to proudly serving the UAS community in the continued pursuit of educational excellence established by previous administrations.

 

Upcoming Important Dates:

September 2nd and 3rd – IB Diploma Workshops (all full IB Diploma students must attend from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM).  Students are responsible for transportation to/from the school as we are not running buses on these days.  Additionally, students can either bring a packed lunch or cash to purchase lunch.  A survey will be taken first thing in the morning and those with cash will order from one collectively agreed upon restaurant.

September 3rd – High School Exam Re-sits (for students who finished with a 1 or 2 last year in a core subject – Report to High School Office at 8:30 for 9:00 start).  A confirmation email will be sent to specific students and parents later this week.

September 3rd – High School New Student Orientation 10:00 – 12:00 (new students to meet in the Secondary Library – parents also welcome).

September 4th – First Full Day of School for all students

 

We Will ALWAYS Be Your School!

A Fond Farewell… Or, A See You Soon!

Dear all,

Well, another amazing year is in the books!  Yesterday we said goodbye to our High School Students and tomorrow all students will break for summer.  In High School, Mr. Coppes did an amazing job running the end of year assembly entitled “Gratitude is the Attitude”.  In it we recognized the incredible achievements of our scholars.  So many of our students have worked incredibly hard this year and it was an honor to hand out awards to over 100 of them.

The best part of the event was the open-mic session at the end of the ceremony.  Mr. Coppes started this last year but it was only modestly successful as the students were unaware it was going to take place.  This year, we prepped the students.  In the morning we asked them to reflect on the year.  Then, we invited them to come down to express their gratitude.  This is a risk, as some people would not trust young people to an open mic.  But, as always, our students showed the great spirit that we strive every day to instill in them;  the eloquence and sincerity with which our students spoke was absolutely beautiful.  There was genuine love in the room as the students thanked their teachers & friends or said goodbye to those who are leaving UAS for good.  There were laughs and there were tears.  It was incredible. We even had former students come back just to pay their respects!

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, recently we have had a number of students returning to UAS, both as guests and as also as students.  Some have come by to say hello, and others have come back because the schools they thought were a better fit for them, were not.  I think that says a lot about our culture.  We are a community school.  We were built that way, and the love that was shared in our assembly yesterday showed that we always will be; it was immensely powerful and it showed something that can never be broken: the true spirit of our amazing school!

Last week, I had a wonderful conversation with Mr. Abushakra at the faculty year-end celebration.  The stories he shared about the early years at this school were heart-felt and hilarious.  We got a chance to say goodbye to a number of teachers, including the beloved Mr. Hould and Ms. Kempley – our Middle School Administrators, and of course, Mr. Torris – who was described on the night as the “Steve Jobs of International Education”.  I’d like to thank all of the aforementioned people who have helped shape my thinking and inspired me to be a better educator.  Your wisdom and compassion will be carried with me, always.  I wish you all the very best of luck in your new adventures!

It’s been an emotional week at UAS, but it has been a beautiful one as well.  I attended a board meeting today and their is much to be excited about.  The future of the school is bright and we look forward to welcoming back all our students and parents after the summer.  To those who are leaving Dubai or moving to another school, please know that we will always hold a door open for you; this will always be your school.

Have a great summer UAS!

J-Term!

In the event you had questions about the learning that we did in the last week of school, please take a minute to view this video put together by Mr. Jackson.  J-Term (June Term) was an experiential learning event where our Grade 9 students put their skills to a real-world setting.  It was a wonderful learning experience, and I have challenged my teachers to do more of this type of learning during the school year.  The students who were here learned a lot and benefitted enormously.  Please take a look!

From the first day of school until the last, we will do our very best to EMPOWER our students to be CARING, CRITICAL THINKING and RESPONSIBLE GLOBAL CITIZENS!  Have a great summer UAS!

Communication Re: Students with “I”/1/2 on reports.

Dear Parents,

First and foremost, from all of us at UAS we wish everyone a happy Eid!
HS Exam season has finally come to an end.  Our teachers are working diligently to complete their marking in order to finalize our end of year reports.  Unfortunately, there are some students who will finish the year with a 1 or 2 in one or more of their subjects.  As stated in our HS Student/Parent Handbook, students are expected to earn a 3 or better in all subjects in order to be promoted to the next grade level.
The Student/Parent Handbook specifically states that, “a Student who earns a 1 or 2 in any subject may be promoted under the following conditions: That student must complete a summer work package developed by the department. If applicable, the student will re-sit their final exam in August.”
Any student in this scenario will receive a letter by June 19th at the latest.  In the letter, UAS will outline the procedures regarding credit recovery.  Lastly, any student with an “Incomplete” in any subject will have until June 21st to submit their outstanding coursework.  After this day, the “I” will turn to a 1 which will initiate the credit recovery process.
Once again, Eid Mubarak!