Last week the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau visited UAS. As a senior leadership team, we are very proud with the trajectory of institutional growth at UAS over the past four academic years. The evaluative process we undertook last week highlighted that we have maintained the high academic standards of UAS through the transition to AFEF. Our aim now is to continue the upward trajectory with a focus on the growth and progress of every student… every lesson… every day.
From the PTSO
Please send money along with your students so they can enjoy the popcorn!
January 21st – WWW Parent Info Evening from 5:30 – 7:30 in the MS/HS Library
January 23rd & 24th – Orange-Mint (our very own student-led musical) from 6:30 – 8:00 in the MPH
January 29th – Parent Info Night (for the wider Dubai community)
January 30th – UAS Fringe Festival from 5:30 – 8:30 across the UAS campus
February 13th – Road to College & Career Night (grades 9 & 10) from 6:00 – 7:30 in the MS/HS Library
One thing we at UAS always hear from our visitors is how strong our sense of community is. Our friends at the KHDA who come and inspect our school year after year, and the folks from the site visiting teams from Middle States Association & the Council of International Schools both speak highly of the involvement of all stakeholders in creating a strong school community. Parent and student survey data year after year show how committed our families are to the mission and vision of UAS.
A bright-shining example of the sense of community we display is the unveiling of the FABC Martyr’s Wall project. Please see the details below.
Upcoming Important Dates
November 28th – UAE National Day Celebration
December 2nd & 3rd – Official Holiday
Dec. 6 – All School Counselor Coffee Morning (8:00 – 9:30)
Dec. 9 – MS/HS Choir Concert (6:30 – 8:30 in the MPH)
Dec. 10 – MS/HS Band Concert (6:30 – 8:30 in the MPH)
One of the key markers of a successful school is a strong school-home connection. This week provides an opportunity to strengthen our UAS community through clear and open dialogue regarding student achievement and progress for each and every family at our Parent/Teacher Conferences. We encourage all parents to attend. We love to see our students join their parents and engage in the dialogue. Our teachers are ready to welcome parents and provide specific feedback regarding the educational journey of each of their students.
We hope to see you all here!
Fine Arts Booster Club Announcement
The Fine Arts Booster Club is working hard this year to create an Martyr’s Wall installation. It will consist of flowers made of beaded pearls. The more hands the various members of our community place on this project, the more meaning and impact it will have on our community. Please see the schedule below for details on workshops that will take place in the foyer of the school.
University Pathway Presentations
We will have a presentation on University Pathways offered twice during Parent/Teacher Conferences. The first will take place on Wednesday, November 14th at 1:00 and the second will be on Thursday the 15th at 12:00. This presentation will address our commitment to the IB DP Programme as well as the implementation of an alternative track including American Common Core and Advanced Placement courses.
Notification Regarding Accounts
Parents who have an account in arrears will not have access to the report cards published on the 13th. Please submit payment at your earliest convenience to ensure timely access to reports. Alternatively, please reach out to accounts and establish a payment plan to retain access to student reports.
Below is an abridged version of my Principal Coffee Morning. It is a fifteen minute screencast of the presentation that was given live to parents on October 17th. I encourage anyone who would like to continue the conversation to reach out to Ms. Rasha and set up an appointment with me.
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!
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.
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.
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 CoffeeMorning 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 CoffeeMorning 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
If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP here. Coffee and lights snacks will be provided.
*The Counseling Office will hold monthly Parent CoffeeMornings 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.
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.
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!
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
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 pm, Sunday 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.
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.
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)