Ramadan Timetable and Details

Greetings once again from the exciting world of your UAS Middle School!!! WOOHOO!!!

As you are well aware Ramadan will begin in the coming week, and I wanted to share some points regarding our daily timetable and what students/parents can expect during the last 3½ weeks of school this year.

Time Table

The adjusted Ramadan Timetable for the UAS Middle School will be as follows:

Period Start Time Ending Time Length
Period 1 8:30 9:10 40
Period 2 9:15 10:00 45
Homeroom + Break 10:05 10:25 20
Period 3 10:30 11:15 45
Lunch 11:15 11:55 40
Period 4 12:00 12:45 45
Period 5 12:50 1:30 40

Students who are not fasting will be allowed to eat in the cafeteria, but will be asked to not consume food or water in school hallways/classrooms, or in any outside area.  In order to keep students safe from the excess heat and humidity, all outside play areas will be closed beginning May 28, and no students will be allowed to play football on the pitch or basketball on the outside courts. Students will be allowed to be outside if they wish, but they will not be allowed to exercise or play sports. We will make inside air conditioned spaces (classrooms) available for those students who are fasting.

In addition to the time table information listed above, I am glad to share 10 tips/points about Ramadan as presented to the staff by the UAS Islamic and Arabic departments:

  1. 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, and the third “pillar” or religious obligation of Islam.
  2. The month of Ramadan is a happy occasion; it is the month that the Muslim holy book, the Quran was revealed 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.
  3. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. This means not consuming food or drink, including water, during the daylight hours. Smoking is also forbidden during fasting.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 thankfulness and appreciation for all of God’s bounties.
  6. Not only does fasting have spiritual benefits, but 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.
  7. 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, or greed. These are considered offensive at all times, but are most offensive during the Fast of Ramadan.
  8. Fasting is not an excuse. Although energy levels might be low, the point of fasting is not to slack off from other duties and responsibilities. Muslims believe they are rewarded for continuing to work during the fast. Therefore, fasting does not excuse students from completing their school work or taking assessments as planned.
  9. Keep in mind that Muslims are fasting joyously, and in fact, Muslims wait the entire year to celebrate the Holy month of Ramadan.
  10. After the end of Ramadan, a very festive and joyous holiday is celebrated by Muslims, known as Eid-ul-Fitr, or 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.

Assessments and Classwork/Homework

The last day of the school year for our students is June 20, and all students across the school will be dismissed @ 12:00.  Between May 28 and June 20, there is still curriculum to cover, and learning to measure.  While the shorter school days may bring about a reduction in the amount of homework/classwork – at the discretion of the teacher – there will still be assignments given, and assessments assigned.  I have asked the MS teachers to advertise assessments dates in advance, so that students (and parents) can plan accordingly.

Students Who Travel

Finally, if parents are planning to have their student leave prior to the end of the school year, please communicate with Ms. Lisa Scott in attendance, Ms. Hana in the MS office, and with individual teachers.  If students are absent, it is still their responsibility to complete school work and finish all assessments as assigned.  The best plan is to have your student be aware of all subject area assessment dates in order to avoid a mark of Incomplete “INC” on the quarter 4 and/or end of year report card.

I do hope this information is helpful for you and your Middle School student during Ramadan this year.   Please take good care and may peace be upon you.

The Incomplete (“INC”) Story

Greetings once again folks from the electrified world of your UAS Middle School!!! As the days get fewer and fewer, and as we race quickly toward the end of this school year, I wanted to take the time to explain our Summative Assessment Policy (SAP) and practice.

The goal of this assessment policy is two-fold: We aspire to hold our student accountable for completing all of their assessments, and we want to provide a grade (1 to 7) for all assessments completed.  In short, a student can no longer earn the mark of “0” for an assignment not yet finished.  In order for a student to earn a final grade that is posted on their report card, they must complete all of their assignments and assessments. If a student performs poorly they will earn a low grade.  If a student does not complete the assignment at all, then we cannot assign a grade because we have no evidence of what the student has learned, thus the student will earn an “INC”, or incomplete.

Our policy as last revised on March 14, reads as follows:

UAS Middle School Summative Assessment Policy

Students are expected to complete all summative assessments on time as prescribed by the classroom teacher.

  • Any summative assessment not completed and submitted by the teacher assigned due date will be recorded in the grade book as an incomplete (INC).
  • A student who does not complete a summative assessment on time will be expected to attend a compulsory session in the After School Learning Center (ASLC) until the summative assessment has been successfully completed. The assessment must be completed in the presence of a teacher.
  • In addition:
    • The student is expected to complete the assessment during one ASLC session. If the student has multiple assessments to complete, arrangements can be made for the student to attend the ASLC on multiple occasions.
    • If the student fails to attend the ASLC in order to complete the assessment, the student will be expected to complete the assessment in the presence of a teacher in a Saturday Morning Summative session.
  • Regarding the end of the quarter:
    • Students must complete all summative assessments by 7:45 AM on the last day of the quarter. During quarter 4, the last day for completing assessments is on June 15 – the last Thursday of the 2016-2017 school year.
    • Any summative assessment that is not completed by 7:45 AM on the last day of the quarter will earn the mark of incomplete (INC) in the grade book, and thus an INC for that class on the report card.
    • The lowest mark a student can earn on their report card is a level “1”

Please Note:

  • Any summative assessment completed beyond the Synergetic deadline in the company of a teacher will be accepted and graded. While not changing the incomplete status of any quarter grade on the report card, the graded summative assessment will be used to determine the full year grade.

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At the end of the school year, students will receive a report card that contains 5 grades for each year long class, and 3 grades for any semester/half-year class.  For example, students will earn a grade for their core classes (math, science, English, social studies, and Arabic, etc.,) in quarter 1, 2, 3, and 4, plus they will receive a Full Year grade. Any student who has not completed all of their summative assessments or assignments will earn the mark of “INC” on their Full Year mark.  The responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the student to complete their assignments when assigned.  If the student did not finish the assessment when prescribed, it is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements with the teacher to complete the assessment as expected.  The completion of the assessment is the only solution to erase an INC mark from the report card

If you have any questions or concerns about an incomplete mark that appears on your child’s report card, I encourage you to speak with your child first.  Secondly, I encourage you to coach your child to speak with the teacher in order to make a plan for successfully completing all assessments, so that the end of year report card can be free of “INC” marks.

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Important Dates and Activities:

May 15:          MS Band and Choir concert @ 6:30 in the MPH

May 18:          MS Counselors Coffee @ 7:45 – location TBD

May 18:          Grade 8 student social/celebration

Until our paths cross, please take good care, and remember, Middle School students matter!!  May peace be upon you.

The MS is Energized for an Awesome Week!

Welcome to May and greetings to from the UAS Middle School!!!  WOOHOO!!

There continues to be lots of activities and excitement in the hallways and classrooms of the UAS Middle School!  One could argue that the energy generated within our awesome school is indicative of any middle level school. While that statement is probably quite true, I of course believe that our students and staff are extraordinary, and thus the enthusiasm produced is likewise exceptional!

There are two parallel activities upon which our school wide community is focused this week:  Teacher Appreciation Week and Respect Week.

Respect Week:

Sponsored by our very own MS Student Voice Committee (SVC), these amazing students have created a wonderful program for our students and staff on May 8, 9, and 10.  Monday, May 8 is Student Voice Day.  Students will participate in student-led discussions about our learning community.  They will have the golden opportunity to share their voice, and discuss with one another ways which we can make our school even more terrific!

During Technology Tuesday, students will focus on how to respect themselves and others while using technology.  Students will be role playing in a controlled chat room activity and then discussing appropriate interaction strategies.  To raise awareness for the day’s activities, Tuesday will also be a dress down day.  Students are encouraged to dress as their favorite device, wear a logo from a technology company, or dress as a technology celebrity.

Wednesday, May 10 will complete the Respect Week activities, with the SVC sponsoring Career Day.  Students will be able to attend one of 13 amazingly interesting presentations about what the professional world is like. We are so very fortunate that 13 members of our community have agreed to talk to our students about their jobs and the path they had to take to get to where they are today.

Teacher Appreciation Week:

Our staff is absolutely amazing!  I am truly grateful and blessed to have been an educator for 35 years, and during this time I have had the good fortune to have worked with many outstanding educators.  That said, I believe the current group of MS teachers is truly excellent and I am so very proud to be their principal.  The fact is, your children are lucky to be in their care! J As a result, I would encourage you to reach out to any one or the group of teachers that serve your child and say thank you.  For me, this week is not about buying gifts for your child’s favorite teacher, but more about showing your appreciation and regard for the difficult work they do.  Trust me, teaching is a challenging, yet richly rewarding job.  Our staff teach because they love working with young people – your children!  Feel free to contact them and say thanks this week, or at any point during the last few weeks of the school year.  Rest assured that a “pat” on the back will go a long way to continue building mutual trust and respect.

In addition to these two activities this week, you are also cordially invited next week to the Middle School Band & Choir Concert on Monday, May 15th, 2017 @ 6:30 pm in the Multi-Purpose Hall. Each of the grade level bands and choirs will be performing 3 pieces and one mass piece. The choir students will be singing classical, pop, and African pieces in multiple languages! The band students will be playing some favorites including “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, the main theme from “Star Wars”, as well as more complex piece you might not know yet! There will be choreography, clapping, narration by students, and two wonderful finales!

Over 100 middle school students will be involved in this concert. It’s a fantastic night, and we would love to have you join us. Come and see what the MS Music Program is all about! Admission is free, and the concert will last approximately two hours. If you have any questions about the concert, please contact Emma Gordon, the Middle School Band & Choir Teacher (egordon@uasdubai.ae).  We hope to see you there!

Last but not least, please remember the Fringe Festival on Tuesday, May 9 @ 6:30 PM in the Library, highlighting the artistic gifts of our talented students!

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Important Dates and Activities:

May 7-11:       Teacher Appreciation Week

May 8 -10:      Respect Week, sponsored by the MS Student Voice Committee

May 9:            Fringe Festival @ 6:30 in the Secondary School Library

May 15:          MS Band and Choir concert @ 6:30 in the MPH

May 18:          MS Counselors Coffee @ 7:45 – location TBD

May 18:          Grade 8 student activity – stay tuned for more details

 Until our paths cross, please take good care, and remember, Middle School students matter!!  May peace be upon you.