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!

Eid Mubarak, J-Term and More from the Arts!

Eid Mubarak!

First of all, I’d like to wish everyone a happy and safe Eid al Fitr.  I am always amazed at the resolve of our muslim colleagues, parents and students who work so hard while honoring the fast during Ramadan.  Prior to moving to Dubai, I had a limited understanding of the purpose of the holy month.  It’s great to be a member of a community where everyone is so willing to share these experiences.  I was honored to be a part of a few Iftars this Ramadan, including the wonderful event sponsored by the Islamic Department.  In my new role as Director, I am going to be seeking lots of input from parents.  I have a simple question that I’d like your input on: next year for Ramadan, should we keep the start time of the school at 8:00 like we had this year, or, should we move it back to 8:30 like we had last year.  Please give me your feedback here.

J-Term next week!

There is some confusion out there about what we will be doing after the Eid break.  The answer is… “J” Term!  J-Term is an idea that comes out of many universities where students undertake short-term high-learning projects designed to prepare them for the next term.  Our “J-Term” projects include:

  • Grade 9’s will be undertaking a series of scientific studies, helping them choose which science disciplines they enjoy most.
  • Grade 10’s will be studying “the Great Gatsby” – which is the first novel they will undertake in Grade 11
  • Grade 11’s will be doing an Extended Essay workshop, helping them get a jump-start on one of the most challenging components of the IB Diploma.

This is valuable time.  We have put a lot of energy into making these learning experiences valuable for our students.  We very much appreciate support from parents during these days.  We are confident students will find it useful.  Mr. Coppes will be sending out more detailed information soon.

The Arts Just Keep On A-Growin’

I want to share a clip from Ms. Corarito, who proudly shared with me the success of her students in the new percussion ensemble:

Ms. Corarito is a true visionary.  She was given a generous budget at the beginning of the year and chose to spend it all on percussions.  I questioned her choice on this as I did not see what she saw.  The instruments showed up and she has worked with her students throughout the year and produced some beautiful music.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  I look forward to seeing the music program grow under Ms. Corarito’s leadership in the coming years!

Winding Down and Reports

I’d like to confirm that the last day of school for High School students will be Tuesday, June 26th.  We will do our leaving assembly that morning.  Although some parents have raised questions about why we do this, staggering starts and finishes is good practice for schools.  Having the older students come in early at the beginning of the year gives them a jump-start on learning and allows younger students to ease into the school year.  Similarly, sending the older students home a day early allows us to do a proper transition of files.  We will be pushing reports out to parents on Wednesday, June 26th.  Please read the reports thoroughly and if there are any concerns, we will be in school on Thursday to address them.