Reports, Summer Work and Start Up for Next Year

Dear parents,

Just wanted to bring everyone up to speed on the end-of-year plans for high school.

Reports:

There has been some incredible learning in the last three weeks!  Our teachers have been busy marking the 2068 exams and writing 2734 report card comments!  Those comments were corrected first by the Curriculum Leaders over the weekend, and a second set of proofing will be done by myself.  Each report is to communicate the strengths and weaknesses of our students’ learning throughout the year.  These reports are legal documents and it is essential that they are professionally written.

Naturally, with that volume of reports, some comments will still contain errors even after two readings.  If there are any concerns or errors with the reports please contact me directly at osealey@uasdubai.ae.  I will be on site all day Wednesday, June 21st to field any concerns you may have.

Summer Work

There are a very small number of students who achieved a final grade of “1” or “2” this year.  If that pertains to your child, we will be supplying them with a summer work package.  Students who get a 1 or 2 in core subjects will be given work to complete over the summer.  In addition they will be expected to come to school to re-sit their exams during the week of September 5th to 7th.  I will be sending a formal letter to the parents all students whose children received a 1 or 2 tomorrow.

Start Up

Busses begin running at the school from September 11th – the first full day for all students.  September 10th will be the first full day for high school.

Next year, Grade 11 and 12 IB Diploma students will be coming in early to ensure we get a head start on the IB “Core” (CAS, TOK and Extended Essay).  As a school, we have averaged 1.2 “core” points for the last 5 years.  Our goal is to average 2 points next year – this can be essential in a student’s overall GPA.  How important is the core?  Well, I speak to many students who aspire to get into Harvard, where the minimum entry requirement is 39 IB points.  If a student gets zero “core” points, they need to get three 6’s and three 7’s to reach 39.  With the maximum “core” points, a student would only need six 6’s to qualify.  Core points are essential and we want to make sure our students are getting the most they can.

With that in mind there are some key dates:

September 5 to 7 – ALL GRADE 11 and 12 IB DIPLOMA STUDENTS ARE TO ATTEND SCHOOL FROM SEPTEMBER 5th to 7th.  In addition, any student who achieved a 1 or 2 last year will do their re-sits at this time.

September 7 – New Student Orientation.

September 10 – First full day for High School.

September 11 – First full day for the whole school.

 

Quick Reminder – All Grade 11 IBDP students, and, students who have unsubmitted work from Q4 to attend school tomorrow.

Dear parents,

Thank you for your overwhelming support of your children’s education this year.  Last week, a small number of you would have received a letter from me communicating that your child has yet to submit work in at least one of their subjects.

Students with incomplete assignments:

Many of those students submitted their work over the course of the week and would have received an email from the teachers if that work is now in.  If you have not received such an email from your child’s teacher, please ensure your child comes to school tomorrow and reports directly to the library.  These students will be met by their teachers in the library at 8:30 tomorrow morning.  They will remain at school until their work is complete.

Grade 11 IB Diploma Students:

For Grade 11 IB Diploma students, tomorrow we will run an intensive Extended Essay workshop in the MPH.  All Grade 11 IB Diploma students should attend.  As a school, we seek to improve our students’ IB Diploma results.  Over the past 5 years, data shows that the school can do a much better job securing “core” points for our Diploma students.  Tomorrow’s workshop represents an opportunity for your child to go into the summer with a plan to achieve essential points on their extended essay.

Early start next year for IB Diploma Students.

Due to the unusual nature of next year’s calendar, all Grade 11 and 12 IB Diploma students are to report to school from September 5th to 7th for an intensive “core points” induction.  Grade 12 students will work on their Extended Essays and Grade 11 students will get an induction to CAS and TOK.  I will communicate more about these plans next week and again in August.

“No Surprises”

I’ve been working with my team this week to ensure there is a strong culture of communication with parents before the summer.  If your child was in danger of getting a “1” or “2” in any course, that should have already been communicated to you.  Currently, no student is in danger of getting three “2’s”, which means all will be promoted to the next grade.  Students who receive 1’s or 2’s will be given some remedial work over the summer to ensure they are on track to achieve their personal best next year.

Thank you again for your continued support of the high standards UAS sets for our students. Have a great evening.

Yours,

 

Ole Sealey, High School Principal.

Looking Back and Looking Ahead.

LOOKING BACK

There are 8 school days left in my first year as Principal at UAS and what a year it has been!  It is challenging to wrap up a year’s worth of learning in one post but a recent event has been on my mind and serves as an important reminder of what we hold dear.

Two weeks ago, we held a modest event celebrating the work our Grade 10 students conducted on their “Individual investigations” (IIs).  For those of you who don’t know, the II is a culminating project students undertake in Grade 10.  The idea is to effectively prepare them for the challenges of the IB Diploma.  Students are encouraged to pursue their passions and deeply explore an area of learning.

The II is probably the most powerful learning tool we have at UAS.  All students presented their work in Homeroom and a selection of the best 25 projects were brought to the celebration.  Here are some examples of the incredible things our students accomplished:

  • Making a replica Viking Shield
  • Learning sign language
  • An exploration of Egyptian Film from 1930 to 2010
  • An examination of what the internet is doing to adolescent brains

One project that stood out to me was the work of Tala A.  Tala is from Syria and wanted to tell the story of what is happening in her country.  She visited Syria over break and documented in film and photographs what life is “truly” like there for the average citizen.  In reading her reflection, her message is a powerful one: love and happiness are human characteristics which endure through all circumstances.  Tala wanted to show the reality and beauty of life in Syria and she has done so brilliantly.  She has created a series of powerful photographs on display in the lobby (part of Ms. Zari’s excellent year end exhibition).  I strongly urge you to come see all the student’s work.

If you cannot come see their work, Tala also created this film.

Tala has done an amazing job of being apolitical in this piece.  She does not criticize or or ascribe blame.  She does not spread hate or explain away the conflict.  Rather, she chooses life.  She celebrates the lives of those who live through the war in Syria.  These are the lives of beautiful children who laugh and play in the unpredictable and dangerous climate of war.  The lives of people who care for their children and carry in challenging times.  Tala has done a wonderful job of encapsulating our mission statement: she is a caring, critical thinking and responsible global citizen.  Her work embodies the spirit of what we are building at UAS – a meaningful education where each student can identify, and achieve their personal best.  I for one am very proud of her work.  I hope you are too.

LOOKING AHEAD.

Facilities – I was in a meeting with Mr. Torris yesterday and I am pleased to announce there will be a number of facilities upgrades over the summer.  Our classrooms are being modernized and the wear and tear on our building is being addressed.  UAS is a beautiful campus and with a little attention, it will become a better environment for our learners.  I’m very excited to see that work come to fruition.

Accreditation – Next year we have a joint IB/CIS/Middle States accreditation visit.  This visit will solidify our standing as an IB school, International School and accredited American School for the next five years.  It is an incredible amount of work but visits like these ensure that our programme meets the high standards expected of world-class international and American schools.

Investment in Teachers – A school is only as good as it’s teachers and UAS has some amazing teachers. This year we observed over 300 lessons, 45% of which were judged very good or outstanding.  This is an increase from last year, where roughly 40 percent of our lessons hit that mark.  Next year, we are targeting a significant leap in this area.  Mr. Torris has appointed 4 full-time instructional coaches to help improve the overall quality of teaching and learning.  I am a member of a group of 10 principals in Dubai, all of whom come from Very Good our Outstanding Schools.  Of those schools 7 have a peer-coaching or teachers-teaching-teachers system in place.  Next year, UAS will too.  In addition, every teacher in the school will become a Google certified teacher next year.  We will consolidate our many teaching/learning platforms and make use of technology to become more transparent with stakeholders.

Collaborative Planning – in the aforementioned group of 10 schools, UAS is currently the only one that doesn’t have a school-wide collaborative planning session that takes place at least once per cycle.  These sessions will be instrumental in consolidating our best work.  Parents can expect us to develop a number of inter-disciplinary projects this year, meaning teachers of different subjects will work together to create assessment tasks that will be assessed in different classes.  This will, in time, reduce the volume of work we expect of students and increase the quality.  This is my fourth IB school and the first that hasn’t had CPT.  It’s a huge credit to Esol Education for investing in this time for us to learn and plan together.

Results – Please see the memo from Mr. Torris to the High School Team:

First of all, I would like to compliment our IB and High School teachers. This year our graduating class have distinguished themselves particularly.  Our predicted scores are very strong and our outcomes (we hope) will show some of the best results in UAS history.  This is a reflection of many years of hard work with our students.  This evidence is triangulated with the results in the MAP test which shows VERY high median percentile rankings in grades 9 and 10.  See below:

Math

9th Grade- 87th percentile

10th Grade- 95th percentile

Reading

9th Grade- 81st percentile

10th Grade- 86th percentile

Language

9th Grade- 81st percentile

10th Grade- 85th percentile

Science

9th Grade- 86th percentile

10th Grade- 89th percentile

As principal, I am extremely proud of these results.  They are significantly up and we will continue to pursue excellence as we become the school we know we can be.  It’s been an amazing year and I look forward to many more here at UAS.

Thank you, every parent, student and teacher for helping UAS grow this year!

Yours,

Ole Sealey

High School Principal

Communication re: Last Two Weeks of High School

Dear parents,

It seems like five minutes ago we were welcoming our new teachers to UAS, developing our learning for the year and planning for Back to School Night.  Where has the time gone?  What an incredible year.  I will be writing a year-end reflection and communicating important information about next year over the weekend.

We’ve spent the last two months preparing next year’s timetables, getting our curriculum in order, and looking forward to implementing new programmes to further support teaching and learning at UAS. Before getting into all that, here are some important items:

Exams continue until Wednesday June 14th.

On Thursday June 15th, we will be doing important work with small groups of students.

  1.  All Grade 11 IB Diploma Students are to be on campus for an intensive session on the Extended Essay (EE).   The EE is a core part of the course and an opportunity for students to boost their GPA prior to university admissions.  It’s essential all IB Diploma Students attend.
  2. Students who missed exams due to medical illness will write their make up exams on this day. Students must have a doctor’s note excusing them from the exam in order to qualify for a re-sit.
  3. Students with “Incomplete” assignments in Quarter 4 will come in and complete any work that has yet to be submitted.  June 15th will be the last day the school accepts work.  Any student with unsubmitted work, will have their “incomplete” converted to a “1” for the year.  That grade will be combined with the final exam to get to a final year-end grade for the class.  Parents of students with an “incomplete” will be contacted by email by Thursday, June 8th.

We are so proud of the accomplishments of all our students this year.  Our MAP data shows significant progress and our IB grades have been predicted to be the highest in school history.  In addition, in the spirit of “no surprises” we are monitoring students and parents of students who are in jeopardy of achieving a 1 or 2 should have been contacted yesterday.  Students who achieve more than three grades of “2” or lower can not be promoted to the next grade.

June 18th, and 19th are regular school days.   In examinable subjects, students will get their exams back, go through the mark schemes and reflect on their answers.  In non-examinable subjects such as PE, Art and Music, students will have an opportunity to reflect on the year and look ahead to next.  These days will also be used for students to fill in their year-end check-out forms.

June 20th is a half-day.  We will have a year-end recognition assembly from 8:00 to 10:00.  Thereafter, students will clean out lockers, finish check outs and be waived off by their teachers.  Reports are scheduled go live on the portal at 1:00.