2019-2020: Teaching Staff, New Schedule & an Increased Focus on Academics

Dear Families:

Last week we wrapped up our spring MAP Testing.  We appreciate all the hard work students put into their test! For the final MAP Testing of the year, our staff and students performed a MAP poem entitled “Believe in Yourself.”

2019-2020 Middle School Teaching Staff

Many families have been wondering: What will next year be like? Who will be teaching at UAS Middle School?  Will all of the core classes be taught by teachers that are highly qualified in that area, like Social Studies?

Yes, all of our core classes are taught by licensed teachers in the content area they instruct.  Below are the core teachers for next year, as we continue to build a better school and community.

Our 6th grade teacher and electives will be announced later this week.  Additionally, the Arabic and Islamic placements are still being determined and will be distributed as soon as possible.

Grade & Subject Teacher
6th Math/Science Samarah Qadir
6th English/Social Studies Internal Candidate
7th & 8th Grade Math Steve Quinn
7th & 8th Grade English Zach Holtz
7th & 8th Grade Social Studies Anoushae Beram
7th & 8th Grade Science Laurie Langille

2019-2020 Schedule

Our current 10-day schedule is confusing for students and has led to a myriad of problems from regulating assessments to an inconsistent number of periods available to a class depending on the day of the week the class is taught.

To improve our academics and community, we are adopting a 2-Day Block Schedule, with either 90-minute or 45-minute periods, depending on the class.  The block allows us to:

  • Have a consistent schedule that is easy for students to follow
  • Ensure all classes are taught every day OR every other day
  • Regulate the assessment calendar, so no more than two summative assessments can be given on one day
  • Provide Arabic, French, and Spanish classes every day for 45-minutes, thereby improving our programing by increasing the amount of class time and frequency of the courses

You may ask, won’t 90-minutes be too long for classes?

The 90-minute classes are for Core Subjects.  These classes will have less disruption and more concentrated time making it easier for teachers to do labs and other academic activities that take time to complete.

We will provide professional learning to teachers on instructing 90-minute periods, and as we currently do, monitor classroom instruction with monthly observations.  Click here to view the Middle School Schedule for next year.

Which classes will be 45 minutes?

This will include Arabic, World Language, the Arts, and Islamic courses.   The schedule includes a page that shows how the 90-minute blocks will be divided for the electives.  PE is the only class that will run a 60-minute period.

Won’t seeing a core class every 2 or 3 days a week, instead of 5, negatively impact my child?

No. The two-day schedule, known as the Block Schedule, is popular in international schools.  Further, it allows us to have an average of 225-minutes of “contact time,” meaning the amount of class time a student has every two weeks with a subject and teacher.  The goal for scheduling in American schools is at least 200 minutes per week, so we are ensuring an additional 25 minutes of instruction over that 200.

Increased Focus on Reading for the 2019-2020 School Year

The new schedule will also enable us to have a Regal Reading class for 30-minutes every other day.  Educational research notes the importance of reading for choice in developing a love of reading and the necessity of having time to simply read to develop fluency. We are creating a Regal Reading Room, where students will have comfortable seating and a reading selection.  There they will have silent-sustained reading with a book they select.  Books can be in any language.

Our English teachers will be discussing the books students are reading in their class.  Further, we will be tracking the number of pages read and providing incentives to students.  We are excited to make 2019-2020 a year devoted to reading!

Increasing Emphasis on Helping Students with Academics & Organization

Under the Block Schedule students will be in a “Flex” period for 25 minutes every day.  During this period Advisory and Moral Education curriculum will be combined, focusing on socio-emotional learning necessary for adolescence growth.

Next year, we are adding lessons on executive functioning (meaning organizational) skills by helping all students with calendaring, study skills, and tracking their assignments.   Further, we are adding lessons from Common Sense Media, which assist students with digital citizenship, so they know appropriate ways to use social media.  Lastly, we are adding typing lessons for all grades.

Common Classroom Expectations- Helping to Improve the Consistency of Instruction

This Spring our teachers helped to develop expectations for instruction in every classroom. These expectations are based on best practice research to help us maximize the positive impacts of instruction.   In doing this, we are providing greater consistency and improved instruction in our classes.

The Middle School administration will continue to conduct monthly observations of teachers, to ensure the common expectations are met in all classes by the end of the month. Click here to see a copy of our Common Classroom Expectations.

Optional Summer Assignments

We will be providing students with optional summer reading assignments and other course work this year, to help them continue to focus on academics throughout the break.  More information will be coming!

UAE Social Studies on 3rd Quarter Report Card

Quarter 3 report cards were published with a report on UAE Social Studies course, as required by KHDA.  The standards for the course were taught in nearly every course in the Middle School, and teachers have been asked to report-out on assignments that cover the standards.  Please note, scores range on a three-point scale, similar to Moral Education.

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 

  • 7th Grade Arabic Benchmark Test on Tuesday, May 21st from 9:30-11:15
  • 5th Graders Come to the MS for Buddy Day from 9:00 to 1:30 on May 30th

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

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