We Got Spirit!

Dear Families:

We have spirit! School spirit is a strong, emotional connection with your school, impacting students from elementary education through college.   Last week, school spirit and pride in our home countries was seen at International Day.  This and other events drive our school spirit and bring our community together.  The impact of spirit can be seen in a positive learning environment, fostering relationships amongst people, and increasing academic achievement.

This week we will have a Spirit Week in the MS.  There will be activities at lunch time and a House Competition on Thursday from 9:30am-12pm.  March 25-28 (Monday-Thursday) will also be dress down days IF students dress in theme. If they do not, they need to be in school uniform.  Below are the themes for each day. 

  • Monday: Crazy Outfit/Hair Day (Wear a crazy outfit!)
  • Tuesday: Twin/Triplet Day (Dress the same as a friend)
  • Wednesday: Meme/Vine Day (Dress like your favorite meme)
  • Thursday: House Colors Day (Dress in house colors)

I’m excited to dig through my closet and come up with some spirit wear this week.   Please encourage your student to dress up and demonstrate their spirit so we can continue to build a positive atmosphere for not only a happier school but a more productive learning environment.

Teacher Spotlight: Week Without Walls Videos

To share their learning during a Week Without Walls (WWW) experience, our students have been creating films to show during Scorpion Cast.  The Diverse Performing Arts experience was chaperoned by 7th grade Teacher Ashely Green and teaching assistant Junnel Ramos.  Students worked creatively in the WWW experience and  in making their video, which you can watch by clicking on the link below.

Calling All 6th Grade Parents!

We are planning the 5th grade transition plan for welcoming families moving from elementary to Middle School, to ease the process.  Please take a few minutes to complete a survey on the processes(click here).

8th Grade OPTIONAL Sexual Harassment Advisory Lesson

The 8th grade Advisory Classes will have an upcoming optional lesson on sexual harassment.  Families may choose to NOT have their child participate in the lesson.  If you choose to NOT have your child participate in this lesson, you must sign the opt out slip, assessable here, and return it to Mr. Gaffney or Ms. Thuen, the Middle School counselors. If you do not return this slip signed, your child will participate in the lesson.  Please contact the counselors or the administration with questions.

Upcoming Parent Coffee & Details Of Past Events

On Thursday, March 28th there will be a Director’s coffee to discuss our Arabic courses, from 8am-9am in the library.  Please join us!

Recap – Previous Parent Coffee

On March 7th, Director Sealey hosted a Parent Coffee to discuss our current actions and next steps for growth at UAS.  The coffee included a brief description of the action steps in the Middle School, which focus on increasing academic rigor and grading consistency in our classes.  The actions include:

  • Curriculum and Assessments: Our teachers are working in teams to implement new curriculum and assessments in Social Studies, Science, English, and Math.
  • Observation and Construction: We are observing our teachers (the Middle School has completed over 100 observations so far this year!) and provide constructive feedback on instruction.
  • Peer-to-Peer Learning: Our teachers are also observing each another each quarter to share instructional strategies.

Next year we will focus on:

  • Auditing: audit of our summative assessments to guarantee their rigor
  • Common Expectations: establish Common Classroom Expectations that each teacher is following to ensure best practices
  • Improved Grading: updates to our grading policies to improve clarity, student feedback, and consistency

In addition, we will be focusing on assisting our students with their organizational skills through common calendaring guidelines for homework.

As we continue to improve our communication about Middle School academics, we will begin hosting Academic Nights for parents to get information on what we are teaching and how you can support your child’s learning at home.

Lastly, below are answers to questions from the coffee:

  • Question: Will the Middle School teacher next year be highly qualified to teach the subjects they will instruct?

Answer: Yes.  100% of our core (Math, Science, English, and Social Studies) & elective teachers are teachers are certified to teach their content area.  69% of our teachers have a Masters degree.

  • Question: What is being done to improve Arabic Classes in the Middle School?

Answer: All Arabic teachers are engaging in professional learning on instructional strategies and reading that is done within UAS and by an outside provider.  Many Arabic teachers are being coached by our instructional coaches. Arabic staff are undergoing a rigorous evaluation process, under the direction of the Al Futtaim Educational Foundation, to assist with development.  Lastly, 7th and 8th grade classes have been created in order to better group students by their abilities.  We will also be reporting out to families scores on their next Arabic Benchmark Test (ABT), a standardized exam new to UAS.

Please let us know if we can answer any questions to best support your child in our community.

Regards,

Amanda Soliván

Middle School Principal

Upcoming Events 

  • Sunday, March 24th– UAS Blood Drive from 9:30-1:30, Blood Drive Truck outside the Cafeteria
  • Sunday, March 23rd– Wednesday, March 2th- The Greatest Show Spring Musical at 6:30pm in the MPH
  • Monday, March 25th-Thursday, March 28th– Middle School Spirit Week
  • Thursday, March 28th– House Competition Day (formerly known as Sports Day) from 9:30-12:00
  • Thursday, March 28th– Early Dismissal, school is over at 12:00pm
  • Sunday, March 31st to Thursday, April 11th– Spring Break

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

Community Announcements

2019-2020 9th Grade Registration- From High School Administration

Dear Parents of Grade 8 Students,

UAS kindly invites you to a meeting on Sunday, March 24th at 2:00 in the MS/HS Library. At this meeting, the High School Administration will discuss the IB and American curriculum pathways on offer for students once they reach grades 11 and 12. It is important to understand the full journey through high school in order to make informed course registration choices for next year.

Following the presentation, students and parents will select courses and fully complete the registration process.

We look forward to seeing you on the 24th and continuing to work together to support your child.

Blood Drive

 

 

 

Coffee Q&A, Parent Surveys, and Much Much More…

Dear Families:

It was wonderful to see families and teachers come together at our 2019 Spring Conferences! Our students shared their learning, teachers provided feedback, parents shared their thoughts, and we came together as a community in the MPH. We tried a new format this Spring and we would love your feedback. Click here to complete a quick survey on the success and next steps in improving our conferences.

Middle School Spring Conference 2019

Parent Coffee Q&A
Last week Director Sealey hosted a Parent Coffee to discuss our current actions and next steps for growth at UAS. The coffee included a brief description of the action steps in the Middle School, which focus on increasing rigor and consistency in our classes. The actions include:
• Curriculum and Assessments: Our teachers are working in teams to implement new curriculum and assessments in Social Studies, Science, English, and Math.
• Observation and Construction: We are observing our teachers (the Middle School has completed over 100 observations so far this year!) and provide constructive feedback on instruction.
• Peer-to-Peer Learning: Our teachers are also observing each another each quarter to share instructional strategies.

Next year we will continue to improve by:
• Auditing: audit of our summative assessments to guarantee their rigor
• Common Expectations: establish Common Classroom Expectations that each teacher is following to ensure best practices
• Improved Grading: updates to our grading policies to improve clarity, student feedback, and consistency

In addition, we will be focusing on assisting our students with their organizational skills through common calendaring guidelines for homework.

To improve our communication about Middle School academics, we will begin hosting Academic Nights for parents to get information on what we are teaching and how you can support your child’s learning at home.

Lastly, below are answers to questions from the coffee:
• Question: Will the Middle School teacher next year be highly qualified to teach the subjects they will instruct?

Answer: Yes. 100% of our core (Math, Science, English, and Social Studies) & elective teachers are teachers are certified to teach their content area. 69% of our teachers have a Masters degree.

• Question: What is being done to improve Arabic Classes in the Middle School?

Answer: All Arabic teachers are engaging in professional learning on instructional strategies and reading that is done within UAS and by an outside provider. Many Arabic teachers are being coached by our instructional coaches. Arabic staff are undergoing a rigorous evaluation process, under the direction of the Al Futtaim Educational Foundation, to assist with development. Lastly, 7th and 8th grade classes have been created in order to better group students by their abilities. We will also be reporting out to families scores on their next Arabic Benchmark Test (ABT), a standardized exam new to UAS.

Please let the Middle School Administration know if you have any questions regarding the action steps we are taking this year and in the planned future.

Course Registration for the 2019-2020 School Year
It’s time to start planning for next year! On March 19th, our 6th and 7th graders will be registering for their courses. 6th and 7th grade parents will receive an email this week with information on the course registration so they may determine the best courses with their child.

UAE Social Studies Grade Reporting
We are now reporting on your student’s academic progress in UAE Social Studies. The KHDA has provided us with course standards, which are instructed in classes throughout the Middle School. As a result, you will see assessments in each class on UAE Social Studies standards within Synergetic. At the end of the 3rd and 4th Quarters, we will combine the assessments in all classes for a final grade.

Grading for UAS Social Studies will be communicated on the same 1-3 scale as Moral Education, rather than the 1-7 scale for other classes. Next year, we will have a separate class on UAE Social Studies.

Please communicate with Middle School Administration if you have any questions.

Winter MAP Testing Results
The MAP test is one way we learn about student’s strengths and areas for growth in Math, Science, Reading and Language usage. The results for the Winter MAP assessment have been uploaded to Synergetic for you to review. Attached here are instructions on how to access your child’s MAP test scores.

MAP reporting and testing can be difficult to read and understand. To assist you, we have 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.

5th to 6th Grade Transition & New Parent Feedback
We want to make the transition process better for those who are entering into our Middle School community. As we start to plan for next year, we are looking for feedback on the transition from UAS Elementary to Middle School from students and parents. Further, we would like to know more about how we can support families who are new to UAS. If you are a 6th grade parent or new to UAS please look at your email and respond to our feedback forms. Emails will arrive this week.

8th Grade OPTIONAL Sexual Harassment Advisory Lesson
The 8th grade advisory classes will have an upcoming optional lesson on sexual harassment. Details on the lesson will be shared with 8th grade parents by email, and you will be provided with a method to “opt out” of your child taking the lesson, if you see fit.

Teacher Spotlight- Mr. Quinn
The American Curriculum Standards, called the Common Core State Standards, focus on teaching 21st Century skills. In math, that means answering real world problems. The 3 Act Math questions, from Pearson curriculum, has students answer real world problems in videos. Eight grade math teacher Mr. Quinn created his very own “3 Act Math” problem on linear equations. To see the video click here. Great work in making real world applications engaging questions Mr. Quinn!

Please let us know if we can answer any questions to best support your child in our community.

Regards,
Amanda Soliván
Middle School Principal

Upcoming Events

● Saturday, March 16th – International Day, 2pm to 7pm

● Sunday, March 17th – TIMMS Testing for Selected 8th Grade Students

● Tuesday, March 19th- 6th and 7th Graders Course Registration for 2019-2020

● Thursday, March 21st- UAS Film Festival Bake Sale from 1-2 & 3:10-4:15 in the Reception (details written below)

● Sunday, March 24th- UAS Blood Drive from 9:30-1:30, Blood Drive Truck outside the Cafeteria

● Thursday, March 24th- House Competition Day (formerly known as Sports Day) from 10:00-12:00

● Sunday, March 31st to Thursday, April 11th- Spring Break

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

Community Announcements

2019-2020 9th Grade Registration- From High School Administration

Dear Parents of Grade 8 Students,

UAS kindly invites you to a meeting on Sunday, March 24th at 2:00 in the MS/HS Library. At this meeting, the High School Administration will discuss the IB and American curriculum pathways on offer for students once they reach grades 11 and 12. It is important to understand the full journey through high school in order to make informed course registration choices for next year.

Following the presentation, students and parents will select courses and fully complete the registration process.

We look forward to seeing you on the 24th and continuing to work together to support your child.

 

Re-Enrollment for the 2019-2020 Academic Year- From the UAS Administration
We are writing to inform you that re-enrollment payment for the 2019-2020 academic year will officially open on April 14th. In order to serve you best and to plan effectively for the next academic year, we would appreciate it if you could complete the attached re-enrollment form and return it to the admissions office as soon as possible but prior to the payment deadline of May 9th.

Click here to download the re-enrollment form.

To view the amount required for your child’s grade level, please click here.

The re-enrollment payment is credited towards the first semester tuition fees for the 2019-2020 academic year. Payment can be made online or in the accounts department by cheque, cash or credit card.

Please note that, if your plans change and you will be moving out of the Emirate of Dubai before the start of the 2019-2020 academic year, the re-enrollment fee is fully refundable, as per the KHDA regulations.

 

Junior Scorpion Basketball Program- From Athletic Director Rob Calandra
During the week of March 17th, we will be starting our Junior Scorpion basketball program here at UAS for grades 4, 5, and 6.

Like all of our Junior Scorpion programs, these basketball teams are put together to be all-inclusive, teach students about the rules and regulations of basketball, help to develop each child’s skills in the game of basketball, and to create a safe and fun learning environment for all children involved.

Each team will practice twice a week from 3:20pm – 4:30pm in the gym. There will also be two jamborees during the season for each team. The jamborees are on Wednesday, May 1st and Saturday, May 4th.

The teams are free to join. However, each student is required to purchase the Junior Scorpion multi-sport uniform for the jamborees. These can be purchased from the school store for 126dhs including VAT. The uniform comes with a t-shirt and a pair of shorts. Kids are asked to wear these for the games. If they have already purchased one earlier in the year, they do not need to purchase another one.

Kids are asked to wear athletic clothes and sneakers everyday to practice and to bring a refillable water bottle.

If your child requires a late bus, it must be noted on the registration form so that the coaches know to let those students leave 10 minutes early.

We will have MPAC Basketball Academy supporting our teams and coaches throughout the season during our practices as well.

Below are the schedules for each team:

Grade 4 Boys:
Coach: Stephen Quinn (8th Grade Math Teacher and MS Boys Basketball Coach)
• Practice: Mondays and Thursdays
• May 1st Jamboree @ Universal American School
• May 4th Jamboree @ American School of Dubai
Grade 5 Boys:
• Coach: Josh Kachmarik (MS Boys PE Teachers)
• Practice: Sundays and Wednesdays
• May 1st Jamboree @ Dunecrest American School
• May 4th Jamboree @ To be determined
Grade 6 Boys:
• Coach: Serdrick Chattman (JV Boys Basketball Coach)
• Practice: Mondays and Thursdays
• May 1st Jamboree @ American School of Dubai
• May 4th Jamboree @ Universal American School
Grade 4,5,6 Girls:
• Coach: Peter McManus (ES PE teacher and MS Girls Basketball Coach)
• Practice: Sundays and Wednesday
• May 1st Jamboree @ Dubai American Academy
• May 4th Jamboree @ American International School in Abu Dhabi

Please use the link below to register your child.

JR Scorpion Basketball Registration

Thank you all for your continued support of UAS Athletics.

International Day- From the PTSO

Conferences Are Coming!

Dear Families:

Your voice has been heard- at the last Middle School Parent Coffee – and we listened!  Parents who attended asked for conferences with their child and to meet with all teachers.  Our Spring Conferences format will include Parent and child requested meetings with all their Middle School Teachers. We are asking all students and a parent   to attend Spring Conference so students and teachers can share strengths, discuss opportunities for improvement, and next steps in student learning.  In addition, the Middle School Counselors will be available for brief meetings in their own rooms in the MPH.  A list of the room numbers is here.   We look forward to seeing you there!

Winter MAP Testing Results

The winter MAP tests were completed on Thursday.  The results have come in and will be shared with parents during the Spring Conferences.  You will be notified by email when they have been published to Synergetic.

A special thanks to 8th grader Noor Halawa and other Middle and High School students for helping us make the High Hopes Winter MAP video. You can see it at the link below!

8th Grade Optional Sexual Harassment Advisory Lesson

The 8th grade advisory classes will have an upcoming lesson on sexual harassment.  Details on the lesson will be shared with 8th grade parents by email, and you will be provided with a method to “opt out” of your child taking the lesson, if you see fit.

Momo Challenge

The administration and counselors at UAS Middle School would like to pass along some information regarding the internet-based “Momo Challenge.” The purpose of this email is to make you aware of this social media “challenge” and urge you to monitor your child’s social media and internet usage. The “Momo Challenge” allegedly involves children being contacted by “Momo,” a disturbing character, who then asks them to complete a series of dangerous tasks. While this “challenge” has been reported by numerous news outlets to be a hoax, children may still have real fears and worries associated with it.
Please see the links below to learn more information:

https://parentzone.org.uk/article/three-minute-briefing-momo-challenge
https://www.forbes.com/sites/andyrobertson/2019/02/27/dont-panic-what-parents-really-need-to-know-about-momochallenge/#3a15f6fa3a4b
We want to pass along information to our parents/guardians as well as to our students to ensure that we are encouraging all to make safe and smart decisions online. Children may have fears, concerns, or misinformation related to the “Momo Challenge.” We will be briefly discussing this topic with 7th and 8th grade students during Advisory on Tuesday and with 6th grade students on Monday. The main points of these conversations will be:

  • Children should always report anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe online to a trusted adult
  • Students should never share personal information online and should make sure they have strong privacy settings on social media accounts
  • We should not be encouraging anyone to watch “Momo Challenge” content

Please visit the links below for some information on children’s use of technology and parent tips:

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/parents-ultimate-guide-to-parental-controls

https://www.parenting.com/gallery/social-media-monitoring-kids?page=0

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child’s administrator and/or school counselor.

We look forward to discussing your child’s progress at conferences next week!

Upcoming Events 

  • Thursday, March 7th at 8am- Scheduling closes for Parent, Student, and Teacher Conferences
  • Thursday, March 7th – Director’s Coffee at 8:30 am in the Secondary Library
  • Sunday, March 10th & Monday, March 11th– Parent, Student, and Teacher Conferences
  • Saturday, March 16th – International Day
  • Sunday, March 17th – TIMMS Testing for Selected 8th Grade Students
  • Sunday, March 31st to Thursday, April 11th– Spring Break

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