UAS Ski Trip: Parent Information Session

This year, UAS will be organizing a ski camp in Switzerland for skistudents in Grades 4-8 during the first week of Spring Break, March 25-April 1. Students who attended last year reported that it an excellent trip – they had fun with their teachers, peers and learned how to ski through the process!

UAS will hold an important information session in the ES library on Tuesday, October 4th @ 6:00pm. Click here for more information or see below!


Open to grades 4 to 8
UAS contacts:

  • Larisa Sharifi, PYP Coordinator: (ES)
  • Bryan Renzi, PE Teacher: (MS)

The daily itinerary includes skiing/snowboarding all day with counselors, followed by dinner and evening programs that may include a disco, movies, mini-Olympics, skits, awards, swimming, etc.

The estimated price of 11,000AED is inclusive of 6 days lift passes, 6 days of full lessons, equipment rental, air travel, all taxes, lodging, meals, busing, evening entertainment and accident insurance.

Arrangements are provided by Viamonde, a company that specializes in providing ski camp programs for international schools. We will be located at Anzère, in the French-speaking canton of Valais.

Oct 4 : Initial meeting with students and parents – ES Library @ 6:00pm
Oct 15 : Deposit and registration due (3,000AED*)
Dec 1 : 2nd payment due (4,000AED)
Jan 12 : Balance due (4,000AED**)
March : Pre-departure meeting
March 25 : Depart for Switzerland
April 1 : Return to Dubai

*This deposit is non-refundable.
**This amount is an estimate at this time. Change in airfare, number of participants, etc. may affect price.

Counselors Coffee Notes and Important Dates

The first installment of the UAS Middle School Counselor Coffee was held on Thursday, September 22, with a nice crowd of more than 20 parents in attendance.  This informational event included a question and answer session and was hosted by our awesome MS Counselors: Kara Haines and Mark Gaffney. Please enjoy the following summary of this months Counselors Coffee.

The middle school years are a crucial time in social and emotional development. We believe that middle school students have very unique needs and we strive to provide students with a nurturing and caring environment including a strong connection to the adults that interact with them every day and the peers they are surrounded by. Research (we will be sharing with you during the course of the year) shows that students who feel safe and connected perform better in school.

Advisory classes are one important piece of a system that supports the emotional growth of middle school students. Our advisory classes are small, 12-14 students, and are led by one teacher. The role of the Advisor is to get to know each student as an individual, to know their interests, strengths and weaknesses. Advisors will liaise with other teachers in middle school to support academic success and positive behavior as well as social and emotional growth. The advisory groups meet every day for Homeroom and REGAL, and they also meet once a week for a specific advisory lesson. Advisory lessons are developed with the counselors according to the ISCA curriculum standards and are adjusted to meet current student needs and interests. Advisory lessons will cover four domains, one each quarter. Academic skills, Personal and Emotional skills, Global Perspectives and Life skills. Advisory lessons include a focus on personal identity, responsibility and communication and digital citizenship. Life skills will provide lessons geared towards transitions, looking ahead to the future and some career exploration.

We will also have a focus on student voice and aspirations through the work that staff members are doing with Dr. Russell Quaglia. The advisory groups are formed for the express purpose of providing a safe space for students to express themselves and assuring that adults are listening to students in regards to their own education and their aspirations for the future.

Communication between parents and the school staff members is essential to a successful school year. Please contact your child’s advisor if you have a general concern, and please contact the subject area teacher if you have questions or concerns about classroom materials or performance. The counseling team is here for any celebration, question or concern that you have. Please feel free to drop in during the school day or to email and make an appointment to see either of us.

Keeping up with the flow of information is very important, please continue to check the middle school Blog and individual teacher Blogs for important dates. The Counselors also maintain a Blog, if you would like to be subscribed and be notified about updates on any of these blogs please come in and visit the technology hub, they can help.

During the course of our coffee morning parents shared that they are very happy with the approachability and open door policies of all of our staff here at UAS. Parents also reported that their children are happy to come to school and have enjoyed the beginning of the school year. They praised the multicultural environment that we maintain and the special attention that we have paid to communicating curriculum at the Back to School Night. Parents shared a concern about peer pressure and social media and the effect that both are having on the current generation of children. We will continue to provide workshops, current research and tips on setting guidelines with your children. Parents asked for more information about age related personal and emotional development, sports and fitness awareness, understanding the importance of hard work, limiting short cuts and appreciating the learning journey as well as the biological, psychological that children experience during middle school. We will do our best to present these topics to you over the course of the school year, please also tune into our Counseling Blog page.

We are looking forward to your continued support.  Mark Gaffney and Kara Haines


Important Upcoming Dates 

Technology Tuesday – previously planned for September 27 has been postponed and will be rescheduled

Week Without Walls Parent Presentations in the Secondary/Middle School Library:

  • Sunday, September 25
    • 6:00 – Grade 6 Parent meeting
    • 7:00 – Grade 7 Parent meeting
  • Wednesday, September 28
    • 6:00 – Grade 8 Parent meeting

Thursday, September 29: NO school for students: Professional Development day for the teachers

MAP Testing for grades 6, 7 & 8: October 4 – October 6

Thank you for listening and remember that Middle School Matters!

Registering for the ASAs

September 20, 2016

Dear Parents,

After School Activities (ASA) Registration for elementary, middle school and high school will open at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, September 21, 2016.

Registrations will close on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 5:00 PM.

We are happy to offer more than 23 ASA choices in the elementary school, 20 in the middle school and 23 in the high school during this first session. Thanks to the hard organizational work of Alison Backous, Kristen Miller and Asha Burton, our kids are so lucky to have such amazing choices! We have tried to provide a nice balance of no-charge options as well as options where there is an additional charge.

You can find detailed descriptions of the ASA activities in these locations:
Middle School

Please follow the steps below to register your child for an ASA activity:

Log on to your parent portal page here.
Follow the link to view the descriptions and choose the ASA Activity.
After submitting the form, you will receive an immediate confirmation email.

If you register your child for a paid activity, kindly pay accounts promptly and bring your receipt to the school office. Please note that the registrations for paid ASA activities is not complete until full payment is made and without payment ASA assignments will be given to other children.

The supervising teacher will send a follow-up email by September 24th to confirm your child’s participation. Please note that spaces are limited in some activities and enrollment will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you have any questions about the activities, please send an email to:
Elementary School:
Middle School:
High School:

For portal support please email

Thank you for your continued support in the ASA Program,

Andrew Torris

Subscribing to Teacher Blogs

Dear Parents,

Welcome the 2016-17 school year. We are beginning our second year of using our middle school blog site at as our means of communication with parents. Currently all UAS middle school parents are subscribed to the main middle school blog. You will receive email notifications new information is posted for the entire middle school parent community. As parents, you are also subscribed to the grade level blog of your child. Grade level blogs will be updated when there is important information needing to be shared that pertains to the entire grade level. You will receive an email notification when updates are made here as well.

Middle school teachers also have individual blogs. These blogs will be updated on a regular basis. If you would like to be subscribed to individual teacher blogs for your student, please follow the following step by step instructions:

1. Go to
2. Hover over teachers/contacts near the top of the page on the middle school blog – a drop down menu will appear. Examples by grade level or subject below:


3. Click on the teacher pages you would like to subscribe/receive email notification that an update has occurred. You may choose any or all teachers – but you must go to the pages individually and put in your email address.

4. screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-9-10-48-pmFind “subscribe by email” – it will be on the left or the right side of the screen – depending on the organization of the page. Type in your personal email address and click subscribe. You will receive an email and you will need to confirm that you have subscribed to the blog page or pages. You will now receive emails when a blog post has been updated.

Dear Parents of Middle Schoolers: May Your Presence Be Your Gift

Howdy hello parents and welcome once again to the exciting world of the UAS Middle School! WOOHOOO!!!  Here’s hoping you and your family enjoyed a wonderful Eid Holiday, and that you are looking forward to continuing the MS adventure!!!

May Your Presence Be Your Gift

I remember fondly when I was growing up many of the treasures I collected from my parents on birthdays and other special occasions.  I remember Lego sets, Hot Wheels and Rock ‘n Roll music! I remember sweatshirts(hoodies), board games and Playdough.  My dad was a farmer/rancher and so he basically worked 7 days of the week.  Though he was always home for dinner, when I was less than 11 years old, I rarely remember seeing him in the house during the day.  Once I turned twelve I began doing my own chores on the ranch, so I was able to see him more often during the day when I was not in school. My mom kept the house running, and with 5 children to chase after, that was no easy task.

I’m sad to share that neither of my parents are still living, but I cherish the many fond memories I have of them from my days growing up in North Central Montana, USA. One of the fondest memories I have of what my parents gave me as a child was their gift of time.  I don’t remember my mother ever missing one of my music or drama performances, and I don’t recall my dad ever missing one of my American football games.  Many was the time that my mom was the only parent at the event, and I must say that her son was very proud to have her in the audience.

As a parent myself I recognize and understand that kids sometimes give us mixed messages.  On the one hand they will encourage you not to attend a game, a play or a school event.  They will often make sarcastic comments to their friends within your earshot implying they hope their parents aren’t one of “those” parents that attend every one of their events. While on the other hand, I believe our kids secretly wish you would “be there for them”.  In my 35 years as an educator, I have found it oh so very rare that a Middle School student doesn’t appreciate their parents’ positive participation in their various school activities.  Does this sound confusing to you?  They are pre-teens, why are you surprised?

The MS Back to School Night (BTSN) will be held on Tuesday, September 20 beginning @ 6 PM in the MPH.  Your positive participation would be appreciated by my staff and I, but please recognize that your participation will also be welcomed by your Middle Schooler.  Like my parents did for me, oh those many years ago, you have likely provided your children with many gifts through the years.  I assure you that there is no greater gift you can give your pre-teen than to provide them with the gift of your time by attending their events: if not the BTSN, then their athletic contests, their music or drama performances, or the MS Celebration of Achievement assemblies.  (Stay tuned for more information about these assemblies.)  Whether you realize it or not, you are still the most influential adult in the life of your child.  I assure you that your gift of time will always be better than Playdough!

I hope to see you on September 20.

Please note the upcoming important MS dates:

  • Tuesday, September 20: MS Back to School Night beginning @ 6 PM in the MPH
  • Wednesday, September 21: CAT4 Assessment for grades 6 & 8
  • Thursday, September 22: Counselors Coffee from 8 to 9 AM in room #1102
  • Thursday, September 29: NO school for students – PD for teachers

Thank you for “listening” to my message today.  I hope to cross your path in the very near future.  Until then, please take good care and remember: Middle School matters!

Advisory Groups Begin

Day 2 and Day 7 will be days when 45 minutes will be allotted to the UAS Advisory Program. September 5 was the first official meeting where students and teachers had the opportunity to meet together and set up guidelines and expectations for the school year.

EID Holiday, BTSN and other MS News

Hello parents, and greetings from the UAS Middle School!  WOOHOO!!!

Here is the latest MS news!

  1. The EID Holiday was officially announced earlier this week, and UAS will not be in session from September 9 – 17.  Here’s hoping that you and your family have an enjoyable holiday.  May your travels be safe, and your adventures be many!
  2. Our first day back in school after the EID break will be Sunday, September 18, and this will be a Day 6 schedule.  Please refer to the schedule provided your MS student and help them to be prepared and organised for their first day back after the break. Thanks!
  3. Please note that the MS Back To School Night (BTSN) will be held on Tuesday, September 20 beginning @ 6 PM in the Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH).  Parents will first be treated to a short program and then have the golden opportunity to meet with the talented and dedicated teachers of the UAS Middle School. WOOHOO!!! Please stay tuned for more details immediately following the EID break
  4. The first Counselors Coffee will be held on Thursday, September 22 from 8 to 9 AM in room #1102. This session will be an open forum and a welcome to middle school for those new parents attending.  You are encouraged to come meet your counselors, ask questions and share any requests for topics you would like to have addressed during this school year.
  5. It is also important to note that students will not be attending school on Thursday, September 29 because the dedicated staff of UAS will be participating in a day of Professional Development.

Until we speak in person, please take good care and peace be upon you.

Grade 6 and 8 CAT Test Date


Grade 6 and 8 parents were sent an information email this morning about the upcoming CAT4 test on Wednesday, September 21. We ask that all grade 6 and 8 students have earphones/headphones on that day. A section of the CAT4 will require listening.

Thank you

MS Auditions and Tryouts

Parents should note that there are lots of student activities beginning this week at the UAS Middle School!  WOOHOO!!  Athletics and drama tryouts highlight the activities calendar, as listed below:

  1. Auditions for Aladdin, the AMAZING MS musical will be held on Wednesday, September 7, from 3:30 to 5:30 in the MS music room M04/M05 in the MPH. Students will need to sing and act during the audition, but please remember that everyone who auditions will be in the show! For further details, please see or contact Ms. Gordon or Ms. Cris.
  2. Any student interested in participating during in the UAS MS Athletics program for Season 1, must complete the Athletic Participation Forms prior to the first practice. Forms are available on the UAS Athletics website, or in the MS office. Tryouts are scheduled for this week as follows:
  • Swimmers: tryouts began on Sunday, September 4 immediately after school. Students who are interested in swimming should consult with Mr. Carter for a tryout schedule and practice times.
  • Golfers: Students interested in playing on the UAS golf team are encouraged to speak with Mr. Barrett, the grade 8 English teacher, and this years golf coach.
  • Volleyballers: Tryouts begin on Monday, September 5 @ 3:20 in the gym and will last for 2 hours.
  • MS Academic Games: NO tryouts are necessary. The 1st practice will be held on Wednesday, September 7 at lunch in Ms. Coppes room #1103
  • Important tryout information is located on the Athletics bulletin board
  • If you have any questions or concerns about the UAS Middle School athletic program, please feel free to contact Mr. Dylan Carter at:

Good luck to all the budding Scorpion Superstars!!! WOOHOO!

In addition, students are also encouraged to participate in the first ever UAS Middle School Student Council!  WOOHOO!  Why should your student consider participating in Student Council?

  • Student council is a great way for students to be involved in student activities in middle school and have a voice.
  • It will be a lot of fun and very rewarding!
  • The time commitment will be maybe once or twice a month (but maybe more frequent at certain “busy times”), and meetings will be held during the lunch time.
  • Its a great way to meet new friends!
  • Participating in Student Council will provide opportunities to help others while gaining valuable life-long memories and skills.
  • Students who are interested in participating must collect a form from Ms. Jennifer Starling in Room #1115, and return the form to her by Thursday, September 8th.
  • More information about the MS Student Council can be found on the bulletin board next to Ms. Starlings classroom.

UAS goes to IMG Worlds of Adventure

On Thursday, September 1, UAS Middle School had the unique opportunity to be the the FIRST school group to visit IMG World’s of Adventure. It was a fantastic experience and a great way to celebrate the end of the first week of school. It is estimated IMG can accommodate 25,000 people. At 11:00, the 300 UAS middle school students were the only guests there. As you can imagine, there were no lines for the rides. INCREDIBLE!!!! A fantastic time was had by all.