“Welcome to High School” Grade 8 Parent Meeting – February 5

Dear Parent(s) of the Class of 2021,

We would like to invite parents of current Grade 8 students to our “Welcome to High School” evening on Sunday, February 5th at 18:00 in Secondary Library.

The Grade 8 event will cover the following topics:

New Regulations for American Schools in Dubai.
An introduction to the new structure for American Schools.
How UAS will ensure all students qualify for an American Diploma.
How UAS will ensure all students get the pre-requisites to enter the IB Diploma Programme.
An opportunity to discuss hopes and concerns… we want your feedback!

We look forward to seeing you on February 5th.

RSVP for Grade 8 Parents

Yours sincerely,

OB Sealey

High School Principal

osealey@uasdubai.ae

How About a Resolution for the Second Half of the School Year?

Greetings Parents and welcome to the amazing world of your UAS Middle School!!  We have reached the half way point of the 2016-2017 school year and the 2nd semester has officially begun.  WOOHOO!!  As I was pondering the remainder of this school year, I came across the following article in Parent and Child magazine that focused on New Years Resolutions.  Because we are starting the 2nd half of our academic calendar, I thought it was appropriate to encourage you to consider a conversation with your pre-teen about setting achievable goals and making resolutions moving forward.  I hope you enjoy this article.

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How About a Resolution?

Learn how New Year’s pledges help maximize learning.

New Year’s resolutions give a perfect opportunity for you and your child to discuss areas in which there’s room for improvement — so don’t miss out! Here are some ideas on how to take advantage of those January 1st (2nd semester) declarations.

 Getting Started

Simply stating your own pledge can open up a rich conversation. Be prepared to discuss, discuss, discuss! Kids who are more curious can go online to explore how the traditions of making resolutions came to be.

The next step, of course, is asking your child if he/she has any ideas for a resolution of his own. Encourage him by challenging the rest of the family to come up with similar resolutions. For example, if your child wants to improve his reading skills, invite everyone else to come up with one reading-related resolution. You can even put your child in charge of collecting each family member’s resolution and making a poster chart of them. Promote one of these for a happy, healthy, learning-filled year:

I resolve to . . .

  • Be more organized! Your child make the most of his time by making sure he knows how to take notes, organize his work, and schedule his life. Once the clutter is vanquished, homework and studying will be simpler — and he’ll have more time for fun.
  • Break a bad habit! Poor posture, biting your nails, too much TV, computer, or phone use: all are great candidates for kick-the-habit New Year’s resolutions. Quitting can be tough, but with encouragement your child can learn about determination and willpower — qualities that are valuable for years to come.
  • Cut down on soda! Ring in the New Year by making sugary, caffeinated drinks a treat, not an all-the-time beverage. After 6 p.m., implement a “decaf-only” rule so your child isn’t wide awake at bedtime. Substituting other liquids (such as water, milk, or juice) at dinner will have a calming effect and make it easier to sit down and concentrate on homework in the evening.
  • Eat healthier foods! Encourage your child to get balanced when it comes to eating. Not only will this resolution help your child’s body, but there are benefits for his brain too! And while switching from sugary snacks to nutritional foods can be a difficult transition for kids, it doesn’t mean treats have to go away completely or forever. Try using the term “cutting back” instead of “giving up” — it’ll make the task less daunting.
  • Get a good night’s sleep! Snoozing for at least eight hours per night can increase energy and boost concentration. Encourage reading in the evening, instead of stimulating activities such as TV, Web-surfing, or video games.
  • Improve academic habits! Suggest that your child aim to change his/her study habits, starting with creating a kid-friendly workspace. Try to be involved in his/her homework routine. Listen to the frustrations he/she might have with a certain subject, and work together to find a solution.
  • Move my body! Exercise is important for a healthy heart and brain, so spend time each afternoon working up a sweat. Even if your child isn’t involved in organized sports, you can still feel the burn with a daily walk together or a fun game (think Dance Dance Revolution!!!).

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Parents should note that the 2nd quarter report card will be available via the Portal on February 9.  When viewing this particular report card, you will find two statements to which I want to draw your attention. The comments are:

  1. REPORT CARD STATEMENT: PLEASE NOTE:  Comments will only be provided to students currently earning a level 1, 2, 3, or “INC”.
  • Explanation: Remember that a student earning a level 4 is meeting grade level expectations.  While we certainly want to encourage our students to achieve at the highest level possible, we are content if a student earns a level 4.  That said, as a staff we want to draw attention to any student who is not meeting grade level expectations, in hopes of continuing a dialogue between the teacher, student and parent.  These comments are intended to remind the student there is still work to be done, and that we are ready and willing to support their learning.
  1. REPORT CARD STATEMENT: PLEASE NOTE: An “INC” (Incomplete) indicates the teacher is unable to assign a 1-7 mark because the student did not complete a summative assessment.
  • Explanation: The UAS MS adopted a new summative assessment policy in October 2016.  The policy states that students must complete all summative assessments in order to earn a mark/grade. Because we no longer assign the mark of “0”, we cannot assign a mark/grade for any assessment that is not yet completed. If a student fails to complete their summative assessments prior to the end of quarter deadline, they will earn an incomplete mark and “INC” will be indicated on their report card.  In order for the student to earn an end of the year mark, they must complete their summative assessments.

If you have any questions about a mark/grade on your student’s report card, please contact the individual teacher directly, or feel free to email me at your convenience.

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Important Dates and Activities:

January 29: Frist day of quarter 3/semester 2

February 2: MS/HS Sports Day

February 8: Middle School Celebration of Achievement (COA) @ 10 AM in the MPH

February 9: MS/HS report cards are posted to the Portal.

February 12 – 15:  Week Without Walls

February 16: School Holiday

That’s the news from your neighbors in the Middle. Until our paths cross again, please take good care, and please remember, Middle School students matter!!  May peace be upon you.

Together, We are Building a Community

Hello parents and greetings once again from the wonderful confines of your UAS Middle School!  WOOHOO!!

I was so very pleased to see many parents in our Middle School last week. As we conclude our 6th quarter of existence as a Middle School on Thursday, January 26, the significance of parent involvement in our school did not go unnoticed.  Specifically, there were three events that drew parents into our “house” and helped to strengthen our relationships and build a more viable community.

On Monday, January 16, a group of parents gathered for the MS Principals Coffee, and to learn more about the progress being made within our MS Arabic Program.  Mr. Mahmoud Ali did a masterful job of detailing the Professional Development opportunities provided to, and the high level of expectations being required of, the MS Arabic staff. It is worthy to note that the Arabic staff, under Mr. Mahmoud’s leadership, is in fact rising to the challenge. Though there were many questions, the parents acknowledged the efforts and improvement being made.  Is there still room for improvement?  Of course the answer is yes, but as we focus on a growth mindset, the MS Arabic Department is fostering a climate of quality instruction and student academic achievement.

Thursday, January 19 brought a nice group of parents into the Middle School hallway for the monthly installment of the Counselors Coffee.  Hosted by our caring and talented duo of counselors: Kara Haines, and Mark Gaffney, the visiting parents engaged in conversation for nearly 2 hours that focused on our most precious commodity – our students. From my perspective, it is heartwarming to know our parents are so passionate about the safety and well being of their children.  Rest assured, the staff of the UAS MS shares that sentiment.  Parent voice was well represented, and most definitely heard!

Our final parent involvement opportunity happened on Wednesday, January 18, with our first ever MS band and choir concert.  Nearly 100 students graced the stage during the 2-hour musical extravaganza, and I would venture to guess that nearly 200 people filled the chairs of the MPH!  A fabulous crowd under any circumstances! The entire evening was a HUGE success starting with the grade 6 choir singing Scat Cat, and ending with the combined forces of all choir members singing a heart warming selection called Song of Peace. Many parents commented on what a magical evening it was, and I must wholeheartedly agree.  Emma Gordon deserves accolades for her work with all six groups spanning three grade levels and including both instrumentalists and vocalists.  Student introductions prior to each performance highlighted interesting details about each selection, and I couldn’t have been more proud of how our students conducted themselves throughout the evening.  The future is bright for the MS music program, of this there is no doubt!

The prevailing theme throughout the week of parent participation was: community.  One of the things that makes me so very proud as the Principal of the awesome UAS Middle School is to see all key stakeholder groups – students, staff, parents – engaging in meaningful and various ways.  We are only as strong as the sum of our parts, and it is obvious to this observer that we are growing stronger by the quarter.  I appreciate and commend those parents who were able to join with us this week, and I encourage all parents to seek opportunities in the future to participate in “our” learning community.  I am reminded of a quote I read early in my career from an unknown author: “While students may comprise only 20% of the earths population, they are 100% of our future.” How very true.  The lives of our students’ matter, and thus our collective contribution to their success matters.  Together we will make a difference in the lives of our young people, and I thank you for your willing partnership to that end.

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Important Dates and Activities:

January 26: Last day of quarter 2/semester 1

January 29: Frist day of quarter 3/semester 2

February 2: MS/HS Sports Day

February 8: Middle School Celebration of Achievement (COA) @ 10 AM in the MPH

February 9: MS/HS report cards are posted to the Portal.

February 12 – 15:  Week Without Walls

February 16: School Holiday

That’s the news from your neighbors in the Middle. Until our paths cross again, please take good care, and please remember, Middle School students matter!!  May peace be upon you.

What A Middle School (pre-teen) Boy Needs Most From His Parents

Happy day to you and greetings from the UAS Middle School!  WOOHOO!!

I hope you enjoy the following informative article that addresses what Middle School (pre-teen) boys need most from their parents.  Having raised a son of my own, and after my years of experience as a Middle School Principal, the “research” is very clear:  The middle years are a time when your Middle Schooler needs you more than ever.  Each of our pre-teens is unique, and develops and matures at a different rate. I hope the information below will inspire you to continue your active participation in their life.  Good luck!

 

By Monica Swanson

Middle School.  Just saying the words brings me frightening flashbacks of puberty and pimples.  Of insecurity and awkwardness. (not to mention, bad hair and braces.) Really, there may be no more challenging time in life than those middle school years.

Raising four boys of my own, I am keenly aware of all that they go through to transition from boyhood to manhood.  Their body, mind, and emotions are changing so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. And parents, here’s what I know:  If there is ever a time your son needs your support, it is in their Middle School years.

Your Middle School son may be pulling away more now. He may be telling you that he’s really grown up now, and ready for all kinds of freedoms.  He might tell you that his friends get to do this and that and play this and that, and you’re the really lame parent if you don’t do the same.  I know, I know.  Because, many parents hit the middle school years and then step back.  Maybe there is an awkwardness to this new season in their son’s life, or perhaps the parents just get busy or hit burnout, I get that, but pulling away and giving kids too much freedom at this age is premature, and can be extremely dangerous.  Sure, you may have taught your kids basic values and morals in their younger years, but now is the time to help them apply it all.  Middle School is an ideal time to mentor your son in how to practically work out the character qualities that he learned as a boy. So even if it seems like the other parents are giving freedoms and privileges that you are not, I say to you, Mom and Dad:  Don’t feel pressured to do the same. You’re better than that.

You know your son better than anyone, and you can make the call when the time is right.  The tricky thing with middle school boys is that there is a huge spectrum of developmental and maturity level among them.  You may have a sixth grader who is developmentally still like a fourth grader.  On the other hand, you may have an eighth grader who looks and sounds like a seventeen year-old.  Things are happening at an inconsistent rate, wildly varying from one young body to the next.  And perhaps your greatest job during these years is to study that boy, and determine just where he is on that spectrum.  You, the parent, will know the very best where your son is developmentally and maturity-wise, and you must parent him accordingly.  Not according to a number (grade or age.)  Not according to what his friends are doing.  According to what is the very best thing for your son, in the stage he is currently in.

Hitting the middle school years is like getting to half-time of an important game:  You may be ahead now, but the game’s not over.   Towel-off, get a big drink of water, and then gear up for the second half.  You want to finish strong.

To be fair, there are some middle school students who are very mature, responsible and self-directed.  But here’s my thing:  If they think they are so grown up, give them a chance to prove it.

My parenting MANTRA:  WITH FREEDOM COMES RESPONSIBILITY.

You want more freedom?  Show me how responsible you are!  Whatever maturity level you find your middle school son in, here is list that applies to all:

WHAT EVERY MIDDLE SCHOOL BOY NEEDS MOST FROM HIS PARENTS:

  1. Love and support:  Tons of it.
  2. Supervision: with ever-so-gradual increasing freedoms.
  3. Help with friends! Give them guidance and counsel.  My favorite quote: “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”  Meet their friends, and get to know them as well.
  4. Self-control:  Talk about it.  What does it look like?  How to apply it.
  5. Lots of communication: Talk to him about growing up.   Choices.  Girls.  Peer pressure.  Please get Dad in on this.  Talk to him and let him talk to you.
  6. Activity: Your Middle Schooler is all pent-up with energy, stress, and hormones.  Get him moving every single day and it will help tremendously.
  7. Laughter: He may not have a fully matured sense of humor yet, but he is getting there.  Laugh with your son and enjoy him.
  8. Hugs and touch: Mom AND Dad – he needs these from both of you.
  9. Healthy food: A Middle Schooler is old enough to understand that his food choices will affect his health, his acne, and his moods.  Try hard to have healthy food at home, and help him make good choices when he is not home.
  10. Positive place to hang out:  Middle Schoolers begin to crave fitting in and hanging out somewhere besides just at home.  Find a good after school program, sports team, or club.  Not just hanging out down the street, at the skate park or beach, but give them opportunities to connect with good people in good places.
  11. Tons of encouragement. “You are growing into such an amazing young man!” “Wow, look at your muscles!”  “I’m so proud of WHO you are becoming.”  “You are making really good choices!”  Etc etc etc.  Do not hold back on encouragement!

Middle School can be awkward, and challenging, and with your son, you will encounter moods swinging and hormones cranking.  It can also be a positive time, as kids gain self-confidence and maturity.  Be involved in your kids’ lives to make these the best years possible!

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Important Dates and Activities:

 January 16: MS Principals Coffee – 7:45 AM.  During this informative presentation parents will learn more about the great work being done within the UAS Middle School Arabic Department.  This parent session will be hosted by Mr. Mahmoud, the UAS Head of the Arabic Department, and Mr. Wasel, the Head of the Middle School Arabic Department.  These dedicated gentlemen will outline the work being done by the entire Arabic team to raise the level of Arabic within the Middle School.  In addition, the Arabic course outline will be shared, resources will be made available, and questions will be encouraged.

 January 18: MS Band and Choir Concert – 6:30 PM in the MPH:

January 19:  MS Counselors Coffee – 7:45 AM

January 26: Last day of quarter 2/semester 1

January 29: Frist day of quarter 3/semester 2

February 2: MS/HS Sports Day

February 9: MS/HS report cards are posted to the Portal.

That’s the news from your neighbors in the middle. Here’s hoping our paths cross soon and very soon. Please take good care, and please remember, Middle School matters!!  May peace be upon you.

MAP Begins and Principals Coffee Approaches

Welcome back to the exciting world of the UAS Middle School!  WOOHOO!!!  It is safe to say that the students and staff at our awesome school have hit the ground running in 2017.  In addition to end of the quarter assessments and project due dates, the calendar is filled with activities and programs to keep us all very, VERY busy.  The truth is, after a 2-week winter holiday, being busy is a good thing!  J

Please rest assured that we are doing everything we can to find a balance between activities, programs and due dates.  It is our hope we can effectively manage the calendar in order to find an appropriate mix of concerts, final exams, and test schedules.  Finding this balance is of course an attempt on our part to keep student, parent and teacher stress to a minimum.  Planning, organization, eating properly and getting a good night of sleep are essential elements to helping our young people manage their hectic lives and keep a positive attitude.  Thank you for supporting your child in this fashion.  Your guidance can make such a huge difference toward ensuring their academic success and emotional stability.

Please note the following dates and important information:

 January 9, 10, 11 & 12:  Students started the second session of MAP testing on Monday, January 9. The Measure of Academic Progress, or MAP, is a computerized adaptive test which helps teachers, parents, and administrators make informed decisions that promote student academic growth. For the first time, the test will be administered three times during this academic year; once in the fall, once in the winter and once in the spring. Please note that MAP helps determine your child’s instructional level and measure academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year, in the areas of reading, math, science and language usage.

January 16: MS Principals Coffee – 7:45 AM.  During this informative presentation parents will learn more about the great work being done within the UAS Middle School Arabic Department.  This parent session will be hosted by Mr. Mahmoud, the UAS Head of the Arabic Department, and Mr. Wasel, the Head of the Middle School Arabic Department.  These dedicated gentlemen will outline the work being done by the entire Arabic team to raise the level of Arabic within the Middle School.  In addition, the Arabic course outline will be shared, resources will be made available, and questions will be encouraged.

 January 18: MS Band and Choir Concert – 6:30 PM in the MPH: Under the watchful eye of Ms. Emma Gordon, our instrumentalists and vocalists will take to the stage for what promises to be a delightful musical extravaganza!  I hope you can attend!

January 19:  MS Counselors Coffee – 7:45 AM

January 26: Last day of quarter 2/semester 1

January 29: Frist day of quarter 3/semester 2

February 2: MS/HS Sports Day

February 9: MS/HS report cards are posted to the Portal.

That’s the news from your neighbors in the middle. Here’s hoping our paths cross during one of the various programs in the coming weeks. Please take good care, and please remember, Middle School matters!!  May peace be upon you.

Last Day for ASA Sign Ups

REMINDER Today is the last day to sign up for the ASA Program! An exciting NEW activity has recently been added. Register today.

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 that you have requested to register you child for an activity.

Another Exciting Opportunity Available Beginning Sunday, February 5 at 3:20. All Are Welcome.

 fabc-bridges

Happy New Year from the UAS MS!!!!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017!!! WOOHOO!!!!  Here’s hoping that you and your MS student enjoyed a sensational winter break, filled with some quality family time mixed with a good amount of fun, and spiced with a wee bit of relaxation as well!

Please note the following dates and important information:

January 2-5: After School Activities (ASA) registration continues.  The ASA registration will close at the end of business on January 5.

January 9, 10, 11 & 12:  Students will start the second session of MAP testing next week. Parents are kindly reminded to support your child by providing ample resources (food, sleep, etc.) so your student can perform at his/her optimal level.

As you may recall, the Measure of Academic Progress, or MAP, is a computerized adaptive test which helps teachers, parents, and administrators make informed decisions that promote student academic growth.  At UAS, we use the MAP standardized test with elementary, middle and high school students. For the first time, the test will be administered three times during the academic year; once in the fall, once in the winter and once in the spring. If you have not done so already, please feel free to check out the fall 2016 results, which are now available on the UAS portal for parents. Please note that MAP help the UAS educational professionals determine your child’s instructional level and measure academic growth throughout the school year, and from year to year in the areas of reading, mathematics, science and language usage.

January 16: MS Principals Coffee – 7:45 AM

 January 18: MS Band and Choir Concert – 6:30 PM in the MPH: Under the watchful eye of Ms. Emma Gordon, our instrumentalists and vocalists will take to the stage for what promises to be a delightful musical extravaganza!  I hope you can attend!

January 19:  MS Counselors Coffee – 7:45 AM

January 21: PTSO sponsored International Day – please stay tuned for more information

January 26: Last day of quarter 2/semester 1

January 29: Frist day of quarter 3/semester 2

February 2: MS/HS Sports Day

That’s the news from your neighbors in the middle. May this New Year be filled with many blessings for you and your family, and remember, Middle School matters!!  Until our paths cross, please take good care.