Soliván’s Saturday Coffee

Greetings UAS Middle School Families,

Our teachers welcomed families into their classrooms at Back to School Night last week.  It was wonderful to see our community come together!

WEEKLY NEWS

Here are some brief updates on upcoming events at the UAS Middle School:

  • At Back to School night we introduced new elements to enhance our academic programs in our Science, Math, Social Studies, English, Arabic, Advisory, and Moral Education classes.
    • We are also increasing our focus on the use of assessment data to guide our instruction.

Ms. Bibi discussing her art class with a family at Back to School Night

  • Over the next two weeks our students will take the MAP assessment, one assessment we use to measure student growth. I’ve included a parent guide entitled 12 Common Questions Parents Ask About the MAP Growth Assessment at the link here.
    • This reading explains what MAP growth is, scoring, as well as how the test is formatted. For more detailed information on MAP growth, click on the Parent’s Guide to MAP growth here.
    • MAP also correlates its scores to SAT and ACT tests to note college readiness, meaning the degree to which a student is prepared for college. All of the information with MAP can be confusing.
    • To answer questions you may have, we will have a parent coffee on Wednesday, October 3rd in the Secondary Library, to guide you through an understanding MAP scores.

The MAP test is one way we are learning about student’s strengths and areas for growth in Math, Science, Reading and Language usage. Teachers will be helping students understand their results and we will send information on how to read your child’s results a few weeks after we complete all testing in the middle school.   We will be using the data for our planning and goal setting.

TEACHER SPOT LIGHT

For her assistance in our understandings of MAP data this week’s Teacher Spotlight shines on Callie Cantu, an instructional coach.   Callie is helping the Middle School teachers better understand MAP reports, assist with student goal setting, and provide information to parents.  Further, she, and the other instructional coaches, are available to assist teacher in understanding assessment data, not only from MAP but other assessments as well.  Teacher Zach Holz says Callie can “deal compassionately” when assisting with a myriad of issues “whether it’s about their own teacher practice, or a technical issue.” We are happy to have Callie’s assistance as we increase our focus on data driven instruction!

Callie Cantu, UAS Instructional Coach

Over the next few weeks, to support your student through their MAP testing, we encourage you to talk about the importance of the test, make sure they have a good night of sleep, a balanced breakfast, and arrive to school with a fully charged laptop.

Warm Regards,

Amanda Soliván

 

 Upcoming Events

  • Sunday, September 23rd through Thursday, October 4th – MAP Standardized Testing
  • Thursday, September 27th– Registration Deadline for Week Without Walls
  • Sunday, September 30 through Thursday, October 4th– Authors Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger visit (see flyer below)
  • Wednesday, October 3rd– Principal’s Coffee at 8am in the Secondary Library. Topic is: What about MAP? A glance inside the MAP testing & your child’s MAP growth.

NOTE: Important dates are noted on the online school calendar, available online here – 2018-2019 school calendar.

 

Announcements

Letter from Ms. Maram Juma on Reading in Arabic “A” Classes

The letter summarizing new steps the Arabic Department is taking to increase the focus on reading in the Arabic A classes, for native speakers.  To access the letter click here.

Visiting Authors Holbrook and Salinger

We are excited to host authors and educational consultants Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger.  For more information on the authors and their work at UAS click here for the information flyer.

Upcoming Dance & Theatrical Play: Information from Drama Teacher Ms. Cris Meija

This dance & theatrical play gives a platform for youngsters to share and discuss some issues with the support of music, dance and dialogues. The main characters in the play mirror the conflicts and struggles of youngsters, dealing with unrealistic beauty standards, peer pressure, loneliness, body image, attention from the opposite gender, depression and the immense influence of social media. The play addresses harsh realities and encourages open discussions and understanding by lightly using humor and dance in the backdrop.

Soliván’s Saturday Coffee

Greetings UAS Middle School Families,

Welcome to Week 3!

Last week, many families attended the Week Without Walls parent evening.  Seeing the excitement of our students participating in community service programs, shows us the importance of such programs in developing the whole child and a love of learning.  There are many ways at school and home we can work at encouraging an excitement for learning.  Sharing your child’s enthusiasm, interests and encouraging her/him to explore subjects that fascinate them is one of many ways.  A Week Without Walls is one opportunity to cultivate your child’s interests, and for other tips on how to encourage  the love of learning in your child you can access an interesting article on 10 Ways to Motivate Your Child to Learn by Scholastic Parent Staff, the article may be found here.

It’s important for the community of UAS to provide daily encouragement for the love of learning and pursuit of lifelong learning.  Staff at UAS are leading by example by enrolling in continuing educational courses.   This week’s Teacher Spotlight shines on Middle School French Teacher Ms. Souha Mouarak & Executive Administrative Assistant Miss Hana Malek.  Both participated in a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) course this summer.  They obtained three certificates each, TESOL in English, French, and Arabic, to share their learning with the Middle School.  Congratulations for the hard work and continuing to find new learnings to meet the needs of our students.

If you have any other stories of the UAS community of students, staff, and parents living our mission, philosophy, and beliefs let us know and we will feature their pursuits right her on Soliván’s Saturday Coffee.

One import note on an upcoming event; We will be hosting our Back to School Day on Monday, September 17th and there are events in the morning and evening (see the calendar below).  Refreshments will be available so, please come and fellowship with us.   We look forward to seeing you there!

Warm Regards,

Amanda Soliván

            Upcoming Events

  • Monday, September 17th – PTSO Back to School Morning Coffee, 7:45am- 8:45am, in the Secondary Library
  • Monday, September 17th – Back to School Night for Parents.  Refreshments available at 6:00. Program runs from 6:30pm -8:30 pm, starting in the MPH
  • Thursday, September 27th– Registration Deadline for Week Without Walls
  • Sunday, September 23rd through Thursday, October 4th – MAP Standardized Testing
  • Sunday, September 30 through Thursday, October 4th– Authors Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger visit (see flyer below)
  • Important dates are noted on the online school calendar, available online here – 2018-2019 school calendar.

Announcements

 

Back to School Night Schedule

On Monday, September 17th we will have the Middle School Back to School Night.  We will start the evening with student musicians playing, and refreshments in the MPH Foyer at 6:00 and the program begins at 6:30., consisting of a Principal’s Welcome and Curriculum Leaders presenting new initiatives.  At 7:05 we will move into the MS Hall, for a Parent – Teacher Meet and Greet.

The PTSO Welcomes You!

Visiting Authors Holbrook and Salinger

We are excited to host authors and educational consultants Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger.  For more information on the authors and their work at UAS click here for the information flyer.   

Athletics Update and Letter from the Athletic Director

“Amazing job by our boys and girls volleyball teams after playing their hearts down at Abu Dhabi for their first match of the season.  The girls were able to pull out a win in a best of 3 set against the always tough ACS Vipers.  The boys were not fortunate enough to grab a win after losing in two sets but kept things close and worked very hard the entire game.  We are very proud of both teams.”

“Good luck to all of our competitive swimmers who are heading over to DAA on Saturday for their first time trial of the year!  These times can be used to set individual and team goals for the rest of the season!”

Information about the upcoming Junior Scorpions soccer season for any grade 6 students interested.

A Letter from the Athletic Director

 

JUNIOR SCORPIONS SOCCER PROGRAM

Hello parents and students,

I hope everyone had a great first two weeks of school so far and that everyone is enjoying their classes.  Starting the week of September 23rd, we will once again be starting up our Junior Scorpions soccer program for grades 4, 5, and 6.

Junior Scorpions is a developmental program offered by UAS which gives students the opportunity to participate and learn the fundamental skills of soccer in a fun and safe learning environment while also staying fit.  Any student is free to join no matter their experience or skill level.  This program takes place after school on the field at UAS.

Our program is part of the JEAC conference which includes other international schools in the UAE.  The focus of JEAC is to reinforce the value of sportsmanship, respect, teamwork and self-discipline through healthy and fair competition.  During competitions against other schools all students will receive equal playing time and scores will not be kept.  The emphasis we put on this program is learning and fun.

This year we are going to have students purchase a Junior Scorpions uniform that includes a top, shorts, and a water bottle.  The uniform is required and can be purchased from the school store for 120AED.  The same uniform will be used for all sports (soccer, track and field, basketball) and will only need to be purchased once even if the child participates in all three.  These uniforms can be used the following school year as well, as long as they still fit.

If you would like to register your child for the Junior Scorpions soccer program please click the link below and fill out the google form.

Junior Scorpion Soccer Registration Form

You must also submit these three forms for your child before they are able to participate.  Once these are handed in your child will be covered for the entire school year.

Medical Release

Insurance Form

UAS Athletic Participation Form

This year, there will be no weekday single games.  Instead, each team will have two jamborees, one midseason and one at the end of the season.  Here are the practice schedules and Jamboree schedules for each grade:

Grade 4 Boys

Practice: Mondays and Thursdays (3:20pm – 4:30pm)

Jamborees: Wednesday, Oct. 17th at ASD (4:00pm) and Saturday, Nov. 10th at ACS Abu Dhabi (9:00am)

Grade 5 Boys

Practice: Sundays and Wednesdays (3:20pm – 4:30pm)

Jamborees: Wednesday, Oct. 17th at Dunecrest (4:00pm) and Saturday, Nov. 10th at Dunecrest (9:00am)

Grade 6 Boys

Practice: Sundays and Wednesdays (3:20pm – 4:30pm)

Jamborees: Wednesday, Oct. 17th at UAS (4:00pm) and Saturday, Nov. 3rd at DAA

Grade 4, 5, and 6 Girls

Practice: Mondays and Thursdays (3:20pm – 4:30pm)

Jamborees: Wednesday, Oct. 17th at DAA and Saturday, Nov. 3rd at ASD

We hope to see many students signed up by the week of September 23rd.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact to me.

Thank you,

Rob Calandra

 

UAS Health Clinic Policies and Procedures

Dr. Amna, the School Physician, has released the 2018-2019 policies and procedures, which includes health forms.  Click here to access the document.

 

We Heard Your Feedback: Cafeteria Options

Based upon parent feedback last school year, the UAS cafeteria has refined its menu.  We now have a daily healthy meal option.  For 15 AED students will receive a meal of a main course (to include a protein), a vegetable, a fruit and water.  Other decisions are as follows:

  • Pizza once a week to be served on Tuesday only
  • Sides of salad bar, tabbouleh, hummus, fresh fruit juice, fruit smoothies (no powder)
  • Corn Cobb two times weekly (no cup of corn)
  • Fruit whole wheat pancake once weekly
  • Sandwiches containing protein (no processed meats)

A Letter from Experiential Learning Coordinator – Week Without Walls Registration

Dear Parents,

It is time to register your child for the Grade 6 – 11 Week Without Walls program in February 2019.  WWW is a compulsory component of the UAS curriculum and we have some exciting opportunities for our students to enhance their learning, whether it be on an International Trip, at an Adventure Camp, or through Local Day workshops.

Please download our Week Without Walls magazine here to help you in your selection and preparation.  You will also find useful information regarding immunizations.

It is important that you read the Pre-Trip/Activity Participation Terms & Conditions, which you can find here.

For the cost list, please click here.

You can download the timeline of events for easy reference here.

Follow the guidelines below to select and register for the 2019 UAS Week Without Walls program. Official registration will not be complete until ALL steps are completed.

Step 1: Initial registration to be made on this link, where you will be able to select your child’s chosen trip or activity. After clicking on the link, you will need to input your Synergetic username and password, then click on the Week Without Walls tab to proceed with the registration.

Step 2: Next week, we will send you a second link from the provider in order for you to complete the registration according to your child’s chosen trip or activity.

Step 3: The deposit payment will need to be made at the UAS Accounts desk by September 27th.

When the above steps have been completed, you will be officially registered for the 2019 UAS Week Without Walls program.

Note 1: Spaces on these trips and activities are limited and will be booked on a first come, first served basis.

Note 2: If a trip or activity falls below the specified quota, then the trip or activity will be cancelled and your deposit will be moved to another trip or activity of your choice.

Adventurously yours,

Sarah Ghanem
Experiential Learning Coordinator

Soliván’s Sunday Coffee

Dear UAS Middle School Families,

It has been an exciting first week for all of us at UAS!  The nervousness, joy and activity filled the hallways as students met new friends, reunited with old ones, and began the school year with their new classroom teachers.  The Scorpion energy that filled the building this week, and at the Aquaventure Water Park, was amazing!

To support and develop the whole child, we must also live whole lives.  This week’s Teacher Spotlight shines on Eight Grade English Teacher Mr. Holz.  In addition to teaching, Mr. Holz has many passions, including music, photography, writing, and his blog on building personal wealth.  Mr. Holz has blended these passions into his blog, The Happiest Teacher, which was recently recognized in an article by The National – UAE Edition.  When discussing the blog, Mr. Holz identified the values learned from his mother, how having multiple interests not only provides him with more balance, but it also makes him a better teacher.  He stated, “a lot of the ideas incorporate themselves into my teaching practice, the things I learn aren’t just compartmentalized.” Mr. Holz encourages students to find multiple interests in their lives, and to live, along with him, the UAS belief that we must enjoy a positive and healthy lifestyle.  For more reading on the importance of having multiple passions in your life, I’ve linked the Forbes article The Case for Pursuing Multiple Passions.  And, for more information on Mr. Holz’s blog, click here to view the article in The National – UAE Edition.

As begin this new school year, I am excited to join you in supporting the development of our children’s academic curiosity, intellect and social values.

This week will begin “The Week Without Walls” program, which is one of the many opportunities we provide at UAS to enable our students to explore new interests and learn through service to others.  On Monday, September 10th, we will host “The Week Without Walls” Parent evening from 5:00pm – 6:30pm.  There will be a rotation schedule for the event, with international trips in the Elementary library and Local Camp Providers in Room #2200.  The rotation schedule is listed below:

  • Middle School Night (5:00 – 6:30pm):
Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8
5:00 – 5:30 International Trip Talk Adventure Camp Talk Local Activities Fair
5:30 – 6:00 Local Activities Fair International Trip Talk Adventure Camp Talk
6:00 – 6:30 Adventure Camp Talk Local Activities Fair International Trip Talk

If you have any other stories of students, staff, and parents living our mission, philosophy, and beliefs please let me know.  Have a great week!

Warm Regards,

Amanda Soliván

Upcoming Events

  • Monday, September 10th – Week Without Walls Parent Evening, 5:00pm – 6:30 pm, in the Secondary Library. Also, the first Scorpion Cast with your daily announcements will be posted on the MS Blog, available here.
  • Monday, September 17th – Back to School Night for Parents, 6:30pm -8:30 pm, in the MS
  • Important dates are noted on the online school calendar, available online here – 2018-2019 school calendar.

Announcements

 

Registration with Emirates ID, by Director of Admissions

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.

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.

Lunch- Please have the lunch cards

Starting this week, students will not be able to purchase lunch using cash.  Please assist your child in charging their student card.

Annual Forms Signed By Thursday, September 13th

We will continue to use previous policies on technology, phones, and academic honesty under the Student Honor Code.  Parents are asked to review the policies and sign them with your student.  Hard copies of the forms were given to your student last Sunday, and  are available at the links below:

Forms for Athletics

To participate in athletics, forms must also be signed.  Paper copies will be printed and given to each student in their Advisory Class.  You are welcome to review, print, and sign the forms before school begins.  They are accessible at the links below.

  • Athletic Forms (For Students Planning on Participating in UAS Athletics Only)

Welcome Back!

Dear UAS Middle School Families,

The first week of school of the 2018-2019 school year is almost here, one of the most exciting weeks of the year.  On behalf of teachers and the leadership team at UAS, we are overjoyed to welcome you!!

Many of us get the nervous jitters about the start of the year, as we don’t know what to expect.  To help ease those jitters, we want to open the year with a chance to connect, communicate and answer questions or concerns you may have about the upcoming year at UAS.  Please connect with myself and the leadership team by phone, email, social media at the contact information below.

  • Miss Hana Malek, the Middle School Executive Assistant at hmalek@uasdubai.ae, 971-4-232-5222
  • Mr. Kurtis Troittier, the new Middle School Assistant Principal at ktrottier@uasdubai.ae, @kurtis_trottier
  • Ms. Amanda Soliván, the new Middle School Principal, at asolivan@uasdubai.ae, @UASMidPrincipal

We are here and happy to assist you throughout the year!

On Wednesday, September 5th from 7pm to 8pm at the Middle/High School Library, we invite you and your family to join us for Meet and Greet to gather to connect and communicate, to answer questions and concerns.  Refreshments will be provided!

On behalf of the team at UAS Middle School I look forward to meeting your family, and welcoming students next week to the start of a great year!

Warm regards,

Amanda Nicole Soliván

 

 

Schedule for the First Week of School

  • Sunday, September 2ndNew Student Orientation, 10am – 12pm in the MS/HS Library
  • Tuesday, September 4th – First Day for all MS students.                                            (No Early Release)
  • Wednesday, September 5th – Meet and Greet the MS Principal

(For Students, Day 4 School Schedule Observed)

  • Thursday, September 6th – All Student Field Trip to Aquaventure
  • Monday, September 10th – Week Without Walls Parent Evening, 5:00pm – 6:30 pm, in the Secondary Rooms
  • Monday, September 17th – Back to School Night for Parents, 6:30pm -8:30 pm, in the MS

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do Students Go When They Arrive On The First Day?

MS students will start the day with their Advisory Teachers.  A list of students, their advisory teacher, and the room of their first class is assessible online here – First Day of School Advisory List – and will be posted at each entrance of the school. Guides will be available in the hallways to get your child to the right room.

 

What is the All Student Trip to Aquaventure Waterpark?

On Thursday, September 6th, all MS students will go on a field trip to Aquaventure, a waterpark at Atlantis, The Palm.  It will be a great time for students to build relationships with their peers and teachers.

To attend, students must return a signed available online here – permission form – and pay the 250 dirham fee to the Accounts Department.  There is a snack bar menu for your child to get lunch, as well as educational tours, click on the links for more information.

What does my child need for School Supplies?

We request that your student arrives to school the first day with their school supplies.  The school supply lists for each grade level are assessible online below.

 

What Annual Forms need to Be Signed?

We will continue to use previous policies on technology, phones, and academic honesty under the Student Honor Code.  Parents are asked to review the policies and sign them with your student. The forms are available at the links below:

How does my student participate in Athletics?

To participate in athletics, forms must also be signed.  Paper copies will be printed and given to each student in their Advisory Class.  You are welcome to review, print, and sign the forms before school begins. They are accessible at the links below.

  • Athletic Forms (For Students Planning on Participating in UAS Athletics Only)

What is the Uniform Policy?

Students uniforms will remain the same as last year.  The uniform store is open this Saturday, September 1 and throughout the week from 7:30am – 4:00pm. The Uniform Policy is available here – uniform policy.

How does my student select Elective Classes?

Students may select their Elective Classes.  If they did not select their courses at the end of last school year, have them see their Middle School Counselors by the end of the first week.  If students do not complete course selection by Thursday, September 6th the elective will be assigned.

 

Where can I find the School Calendar?

Important dates are noted on the online school calendar, available online here – 2018-2019 school calendar.

More Connecting and Communicating

We love to recognize accomplishment and appreciation of students, parents, and staff for going above and beyond to help others, sharing new ideas, and great teaching and learning.  Please let us know when great things happen!  

We also want to continuously connect and communicate with you on upcoming events, important policies and student performance.  Below is a summary of different ways to connect to what is happening in the Middle School, and how your child is progressing.

  • Scorpion Cast – A daily video or what is happening in the school will continue.  They can be accessed daily at the UAS YouTube, linked here, and will be posted on the Middle School Blog.
  • UAS Newsletter – A weekly communication from the school, this email will provide information from all three divisions.
  • Middle School Blog – this blog, available here will be updated weekly to provide you with important information about our division.  It will include upcoming dates, stories of recognition of students, parents, and staff, as well as resources parents can use to support their children in academics and socio-emotional needs.
  • Google Classroom – You will receive regular notifications from Google Classroom.  Each classroom will provide you with information on daily classwork and homework.  I encourage you to access Google Classroom weekly.
  • Online Gradebook– This is one of the most important keys to monitoring your child’s academic progress.  A weekly check is best! Teachers are required to provide feedback on assessments within 10 school days and update them on Synergetic, which is linked here.   If you are having problems accessing Synergetic please contact the IT department.
  • Social Media: Follow UAS-Dubai on Twitter (@uasdubai) and Instagram(@uasdubai)!  

 

 

New Student Orientation

Dear New Students & Families,

We are delighted to welcome you into the Universal American School community!  Starting in a new school is a transition. We want to make it as comfortable and easy on students, and families, as possible.  Come join us Sunday, September 2nd from 10:00am-12:00pm  when we will host an orientation for students and parents new to the middle school.  We will gather in the Secondary Library. You will be provided with directions to the library when you enter the main entrance of the school.

At the orientation, students will be greeted by “student ambassadors,” who will show them around the school and answer their questions.  Further, teachers and other staff members will be there to show them how to access materials for their classes and help them address other topics pertinent to the life as a middle schooler at UAS.

For parents, we will provide you with information on our academics, communication, grading, grade book, and programs.  Several teachers and members of our staff will also be there, as well as other parents who are delighted to answer your questions.

Please email me, Hana the MS receptionist (hmalek@uasdubai.ae) or the MS Assistant Principal Mr. Kurtis Trottier (ktrottier@uasdubai.ae)  if you have questions, or specific topics you would like addressed.  My email is asolivan@uasdubai.ae.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Warm regards,

Amanda Soliván

Middle School Principal

 

 

Meet the New Middle School Administration Team

Middle School Principal-Amanda Solivan

Previous to coming to UAS, Amanda was the Senior Manager of Teacher Development at the Denver Schools of Science and Technology (DSST), a network of thirteen American charter schools. There she led instructional coaching, helping teachers in all content and grade levels improve their teaching strategies. In doing so, Amanda trained the Directors of Curriculum and Instruction at each school on the best coaching practices and strategic planning for professional learning.

Prior to joining DSST, Amanda was the Secondary Girl’s Assistant Principal at the American International School in Abu Dhabi and an Assistant Principal at South Middle School in Aurora Public Schools, an American school district. There, Amanda was in charge of instructional leadership, led strategic planning and professional development, and was responsible for student discipline.

Amanda started her educational career in public and private schools in the US where she taught high school history for ten years. During this time, Amanda traveled internationally to write curriculum as part of the Hanban Delegation to China and the National Consortium for Teaching East Asia to Japan. Amanda presented her curriculum at the American National Council for the Social Studies, and led professional learning in several capacities, including running professional learning for all Social Studies teachers within Aurora Public Schools. Her work in curriculum and instruction was recognized when Amanda was awarded as the Colorado Teacher of the Year in 2013.

 

Middle School Assistant Principal-Kurtis Trottier

Kurtis Trottier is currently entering his 8th year at UAS and 11th year in Dubai. He comes from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and has previously been an English teacher in the High School as well as an Athletic Directors for the past 3 years at UAS. Previous to that, Kurtis spent 3 years teaching English at another international school in Dubai as well as a couple of years teaching English as a second language in Korea.  

He has recently completed his Masters in Educational Leadership through the University of Northern Iowa and is excited for the opportunity to move into his new leadership role as an Assistant Principal with UAS’s Middle School.

 

How Can I Properly Express My Gratitude?

Hello parents, and greetings one final time from the friendly confines of the UAS MS!

As this school year rapidly moves towards its final day on June 28, I pause to give thanks, and to reflect upon the many blessings for which I will be forever grateful.  My four-year journey as a principal at the Universal American School has been full of thrilling adventures, exciting challenges, and just enough middle school drama to make my own personal news reel memorable.

As I reflect upon my 3-year stint as the MS Principal, I am filled with sentiments of appreciation, gratitude, and admiration.

I am overflowing with admiration for the teaching staff, with whom I was fortunate to work this past three years.  Together we have created a middle years’ program of which we are all very proud.  After 3 years of existence, our growth and improvements have been extraordinary, and our school climate positive and nurturing in nature.  I believe the overall value of our program should be measured by the quality of teaching and the depth of the learning that took place within our classrooms, the relationships built between the MS staff and our awesome students, and by the level of excitement and happiness that can be felt when traveling through our hallway.

Speaking of our awesome students, I have been rewarded every day for the past 36 months with the enthusiasm of our pre-teens who have populated our classrooms. Their energy has been an inspiration and motivation every day since I first walked into the building. Make no mistake about it, middle school kids are unique, but I truly believe each one of them has something valuable to offer. The MS students have impressively made many positive contributions for the greater good of our school, and I have confidence they will continue to contribute to UAS – in their own distinct fashion – for years to come.

I am grateful to have been supported by caring parents, who day in and day out have demonstrated concern for their children. We have come such a long way since the first parent meeting in September 2016, when we were still building our MS “plane” as we were flying it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in me as your MS Principal, and for providing me the golden opportunity to work with you to do what was best for your children.  My life is richly blessed for having known you and your middle schooler.

This community has been my family on this side of the planet since August 2015. Just as I have been left with many memories of activities, conversations, positive relationships and exchanges with people throughout my tenure, I hope that I have – in some small fashion – left a positive mark or impression.  At the end of this year, I will walk out the door with my head held high, proud of the many accomplishments we as a community have made, grateful for the people who have touched my life, and thankful for the many experiences I have been fortunate to share.  My 36-year educational journey will begin anew in August, but a piece of my heart will remain here within the hallowed halls of the UAS Middle School.

Thank you again for your support, and until our paths cross again in person, may peace be upon you and your family,

Pat

MS (and HS) Ramadan Timetable and Facts You Need to Know!

Greetings from the excitement filled hallway of the UAS MS.  As I write this article and I glance at the school calendar, I am in complete shock!  The month of June is fast upon us, and As unbelievable as it may seem, the school year is quickly coming to an end.  That said, there is still a lot of learning to be done, a lot of fun to be had, and we still have a lot of curriculum to cover, so hang on for a fast and frenzied ride to the finish line!!  WOOHOO!!

As you know, the Holy month of Ramadan has begun.  In recognition and celebration of Ramadan, I wanted to share with you some important facts recently provided to the entire staff by our Islamic Department.

  • Ramadan is a special month of the year for over one billion Muslims throughout the world. Beginning with the sighting of the new crescent moon. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. The third “pillar” or religious obligation of Islam.
  • The month of Ramadan is a happy occasion; it is the month that the Muslim holy book, the Quran started revealing to Prophet Muhammad PBUH. Muslims are called by their religion to celebrate the month by coming together in worship, fasting each day for thirty days from dawn until sunset.
  • During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset every day. This means not consuming food and drink, including water, during the daylight hours. Smoking are also forbidden during fasting. For married adults, it also includes refraining from marital relations during the hours of fasting.
  • Muslims arise early in the morning during Ramadan to have a pre-dawn breakfast meal, known as “Suhoor”. At the end of the day, the fast is completed by taking the “Iftar” meal, which usually includes dates, fresh fruits, appetizers, beverages and dinner. Later in the evening, Muslims attend special night prayers called “Taraweeh” at their local mosque.
  • Ramadan is also a time of intensive worship, reading of the Qur’an, giving charity, purifying one’s behavior, and doing good deeds. As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate and learning to thankfulness and appreciation for all of God’s bounties.
  • Not only does the fasting have spiritual benefits. Abstaining from food periodically will aid the body in cleansing itself from impurities. Fasting allows the body to rid itself of poisonous substances that can lead to serious illness and disease.
  • The good that is acquired through the fast can be destroyed by – the telling of a lie, slander, denouncing someone behind his back, a false oath, greed or covetousness. These are considered offensive at all times but are most offensive during the Fast of Ramadan.
  • Fasting is not an excuse. Although energy levels might be low, the point of fasting is not to slack off from our other duties and responsibilities. We believe that we are rewarded for continuing to work and produce during our fasts. Fasting is not a reason to push meetings or schedules.
  • Keep in mind that we’re fasting joyously (despite the tired look on our face). In fact, we wait for this month the whole year, so you don’t have to feel sorry for us. We are not trying to be rescued.
  • After the end of Ramadan, a very festive and joyous holiday is celebrated by Muslims, known as Eid-ul-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast. On the day of the Eid, Muslims attend special congregational prayers in the morning, wearing their nicest clothes and perfumes. Muslims greet and hug one another, saying “Eid Mubarak”, which means “Holiday Blessings.” Muslim families visit each other’s homes and have special meals together. Children are often rewarded with gifts, money, and sweets.

Ramadan Timetable

Parents should note that the we are currently operating under a revised Ramadan schedule. As you are likely aware, the UAS MS and HS are both utilizing a revised time table which you will find below. Students who are fasting have access to a quiet room during the lunch break to rest. A separate room is being provided for each or our 3 grade levels. Students who are not fasting have been asked to only eat or drink water/juice within our cafeteria. In addition, no outside play is allowed during Ramadan.  MS students are allowed to go to the library, the cafeteria, or the quiet room for their grade level.  Due to the expected high temperatures, students are allowed to go outside, but are certainly being discouraged from spending any length of time in the sun.

                          2018 MS/HS Ramadan Timetable

                                    8:00AM to 1:00PM

MS timing Length Length HS timing HS
Period 1 8:00 – 8:45 45 45 8:00 – 8:45 Period 1
Period 2 8:50 – 9:35 45 45 8:50 – 9:35 Period 2
BREAK 9:35 – 9:50 15 15 9:35 – 9:50 BREAK
Period 3  9:55 – 10:40 45 45 9:55 – 10:40 Period 3
LUNCH 10:40 – 11:20 40 45 10:45 – 11:30 Period 4
Period 4 11:25 – 12:10 45 40 11:30 – 12:10 Lunch
Period 5 12:15 – 1:00 45 45 12:15 – 1:00 Period 5

ID Cards Only in the Cafeteria

Parents should note that cash is no longer being accepted in the cafeteria. In order to purchase food or drink in the cafeteria, students must have money in their account and present their own identification card to be electronically scanned. Several announcements have been made to our students, and they are also aware of this change in practice.

Thank you for your attention to these details.  Until our paths cross in person, please take good care and may peace be upon you.

 

Celebrating MS Music and Preparing for the Ramadan Timetable!

The MS/HS Music Concerts were A-MA-ZING!!!!

Our MS band and choir students performed upon the stage of the MPH last week, under the direction of Emma Gordon.  Sharing the stage with Ms. Gordon was HS music teacher Lauren Corarito and her High School student musicians.  Both the band and choir performances were simply sensational, and the UAS community has so very much for which to be proud.  While Lauren is relatively new on the UAS music scene, Emma has been positively contributing and building our music program for several years. Bravo to both Emma and Lauren, and to the extraordinary and talented students who so memorably shared their gifts.  The fruits of their labor were on full and impressive display last week, and the future clearly looks bright for the UAS fine arts programs!!!  WOOHOOO!!

Ramadan Timetable

Parents should note that the we will be operating under a revised schedule later this week as Ramadan will begin.  While the official starting day has yet to be announced, the UAS MS and HS are prepared with a revised time table which you will find below. Students who are fasting will be have access to a quiet room during the lunch break to rest. A separate room will be provided for each or our 3 grade levels. Students who are not fasting will be asked to only eat or drink water/juice within our cafeteria. In addition, no outside play will be allowed during Ramadan.  MS students will be encouraged to go to the library, the cafeteria, or the quiet room for their grade level.  Due to the expected high temperatures, students will be allowed to go outside, but certainly discouraged from spending any length of time in the sun.

2018 MS/HS Ramadan Timetable: 8:00AM to 1:00PM

MS

MS Timing

Length

Length

HS Timing

HS

Period 1 8:00 – 8:45 45 45 8:00 – 8:45 Period 1
Period 2 8:50 – 9:35 45 45 8:50 – 9:35 Period 2
BREAK 9:35 – 9:50 15 15 9:35 – 9:50 BREAK
Period 3  9:55 – 10:40 45 45 9:55 – 10:40 Period 3
LUNCH 10:40 – 11:20 40 45 10:45 – 11:30 Period 4
Period 4 11:25 – 12:10 45 40 11:30 – 12:10 Lunch
Period 5 12:15 – 1:00 45 45 12:15 – 1:00

Period 5

 

Thank you for your attention to these details.  Until our paths cross in person, please take good care and may peace be upon you.

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Upcoming dates and activities:

  • May 16: Ramadan begins (tentative) revised schedule from 8 AM to 1 PM