Athletics Awards and High School Principal’s Coffee.

Athletics Awards

Last night we had another wonderful celebration at UAS, our season one athletics assembly!  It’s an event that has really evolved to something special under the leadership of Mr. Trottier and Mr. Carter.  In season one, our UAS athletes took home no less than 11 banners at NESAC!  More impressively, I was at a leadership conference recently, where I met the Director at Kuwait International School.  He commended UAS on the class with which our athletes conduct themselves.  Winning is one thing, but winning with class is another.  I think one of the reasons our teams are so successful is the culture of excellence we are encouraging.  The value of sportsmanship is so critical to success.

If you are following me on Twitter (@obsealey), I was pushing out information on the night under my hashtag #proudprincipal.

High School Principal’s Coffee

Last week I got an opportunity to speak to a lot of parents regarding next year and the future of the school.  I would like to carry on that conversation.  I know that the Al Futtaim Education Foundation are finalizing their plans for next year and parents can expect much more communication soon.  The main topic of the conversation will be on the Moral Education course mandated by the KHDA, but, I will be happy to field any questions on Monday, November 27th at 8:00 AM in the library.  I hope to see you there!

Best,

OB Sealey

High School Principal.

 

Open Gradebook, Reports, Parent/Teacher Interviews, CAS, 10 Minute Plays… Just another week at UAS!

This school moves fast!  Great schools do!  This week is just another week at UAS and here is what’s on…

Interim Reports vs. Open Gradebook.

The school’s official reports are out now, you would have received a link to them on the portal.  In Grades 9 through 11, there are no formal grades on the reports, the reason for this is that it is too early to give a judgement.  On these reports, the most important information is in the feedback.  Each student gets a personalized comment indicating what type of learner they are, a particular learning strength, and, an area to improve.  They also get an “effort” and a “behaviour” grade.  Those are very important!

Grade 12’s have been in their courses for 14 months, for that reason we can give them a grade.

With the implementation of Engrade, our school’s open gradebook, there is less of a need to report.  For that reason, we will have only 3 formal reports per year.  There will be one interim report, an end of semester report and an end of year report.

What is the difference?

The open gradebook gives parents access to their child’s progress.  It contains extremely valuable information about student learning.  It is comprised of formative assessments and summative assessments.  The grades that go on reports are only derived at by summative assessments.  On the other hand, our reports are formalized, legal documents that students use to transfer to other schools, or, to get into university or various summer programmes.

As a parent, you should be aware of two things re: open gradebooks:

1) After an assessment, teachers have a maximum of 10 days to post grades on the open gradebook.  If that time elapses and you don’t see a grade, please reach out to that teacher.  Our teachers work hard but it’s your right to get in touch and ask for an update.

2) Grades that go on reports are only related to summative assessments, using the practice of “BSP” or best-sustained performance.  The way we calculate reports is by tracking the most recent and most consistent summative grades in the gradebook.  When looking at Engrade, you should see a clear correlation between the best sustained performance and the current result.  There should be no surprises in your child’s grades; if you are confused as to how the teacher came to the final conclusion, simply ask at Parent-Teacher Conferences.

The Importance of Formative Assessments.  

Although they don’t “count”, it can be argued formatives are far more important to learning than summatives.  It is very rare that a student performs well on summatives while not attempting formatives.  Also, formative assessments can give great information on habits of learning and effort.  If a student is not doing well on formatives, they are unlikely to do well on summatives.

Key Questions to Ask at Parent Teacher Conferences:

Friendly reminder – the sign-ups for Wed/Thurs Parent-Teacher Conferences closes Tuesday at 9:00 AM!

Good schools focus on one thing and one thing only: LEARNING!  I worry (a lot) about our school because most conversations I have with parents and students (and in many cases, teachers) is about grades.  Grades are reflections of how well students have learned.  Once we stop talking about grades and start talking about learning, something miraculous will happen… grades will go UP!

Here are some key questions to ask your teachers this week:

  • How would you describe my child as a learner?
  • What types of assessments are best suited for my child’s learning style?
  • What degree of choice do you give my child in designing their assessments?
  • Does that apply to both formative and summative?

To be candid, there will be a varying degree of responses to these questions.  Remember, it was just two short years ago where this school had a “rule” where students were not allowed to be assessed if the task didn’t prepare them for the IB.  Please ask these questions anyway.  We are not preparing students for the IB… we are preparing them for life!

Somehow, in the world of getting good grades, we’ve missed that along the way!  But… with the help of some parents, our culture is changing.  UAS is becoming an institution of meaningful, life-long learning.  We are truly committed to creating caring, critical-thinking, responsible global citizens…

If not grades…how, then, does the IB prepare my child for life?

Here are some photos that will explain it better than I ever could…

UAS students, teachers and parents teaming up with Autism Rocks to create a fun day for people with challenges!

20 UAS students applied and 10 got accepted to support Design Week this week!

These pictures are a huge shout out to our CAS coordinator Ms. Emily Ray and amazing parent volunteers, particularly Ms. Ghia Haddad, Ms. Dima Khatib, the Senior Moms and the PSTO.  One of my favorite expressions is “a rising tide raises all ships” and it’s clear the tide of learning is high as can be at UAS.

10 minute plays!

On Thursday, at 2:30 PM, we invite parents after parent-teacher interviews to attend our 10 minute plays put on by our Drama Team in the MPH.  Please come support our students.

Lastly, if you are not already doing so, please follow me on Twitter: @obsealey.

I am starting to push as much of the great work as I can under the hash-tag #proudprincipal.