GWA Drop-off, Pick-up and Parking Explained


GWA Drop-off, Pick-up and Parking Explained
Volume 7, Issue 1
September 4th, 2014
GEMS World Academy-Dubai develops inquiring, reflective and caring learners who, through the rigour of the IB programs,
have the knowledge, skills and character to take action and create a better, more peaceful world. Supported by highly
qualified staff in world-class facilities, our diverse international community is encouraged to develop intercultural
understanding and respect.
A Note from our Elementary Principal
Dear Elementary Parents,
The first week of school has truly been a great success thanks to you, our wonderful GWA team, and, most
of all, our students. We want to thank you for your cooperation and for entrusting us with your children.
It’s a commitment we all take very seriously, so thank you.
On Wednesday, September 10 at 7:00PM, we wish to welcome you to our “Back to School Night”. We will
offer three sessions. During these three sessions, please make sure to attend the presentation(s) of your
child’s (children’s) classroom teacher (sessions 1 and 2 only) and be sure to visit the tables of our specialists
(sessions 2 and 3 only). Sessions will run from 7:00-7:25 (session 1), 7:30-7:55 (session 2), and 8:00-8:25
(session 3). If you are unable to attend, please let your child’s teacher know and I’m sure they’d be happy to
send home any information you might have missed.
Our Elementary Family-Student Handbook is available for you at this time. It is very important for each
family to read this document as it answers many of the questions you might have about life at the “big, blue
school.” To review our handbook, please click on the following link: Family-Student Handbook
Finally, the GEMS World Academy-Dubai Home-School Agreement is being sent home on Sunday. Please
review this document, sign it, and return it with your child to school on Monday. If you’d like access to this
document to print at home, sign and return, you can access it here.
See you at Back to School Night on September 10th!
It has been a great start to the year! Thank you for your support.
Jason Smith
A Quick Glimpse at the Week Ahead!
Sunday, Sept 7
 Day 5
 KG1A (New Students)—
Emirates ID Scan
 Gr5 Swimming Tryouts—
After school
Monday, Sept 8
 Day 6
 KG1C (New Students) Emirates ID Scan
Tuesday, Sept 9
 Day 1
 KG1E (New Students) Emirates ID Scan
Wednesday, Sept 10
 Day 2
 No Assembly
 KG1F (New Students) 
Emirates ID Scan
Gr4 Swimming Tryouts—
After school
Back to School night 7pm
GWA Drop-off, Pick-up and Parking Explained
To view the GWA cafeteria menu, please visit the GWA
website at
Thursday, Sept 11
 Day 3
 Gr 2 - Gr5 Assembly
 KG1D (New Students) Emirates ID Scan
 1:30 Dismissal
Get to Know Our ES Leadership Team!
Name: Jason Smith
Position: Elementary Principal
Nationality: American
Years in Education: 15 years
Educational Qualifications: Master’s in Educational Leadership, School Superintendent
Credential (in process)
Graduated from: BA from Luther College (Iowa, USA) & MA from Seattle Pacific University
(Washington, USA)
Worked at GWA since: August 2014
Countries worked in: USA, UAE, Qatar
Area(s) of passion in education: Early literacy, leadership, and assessment
Interests/hobbies: Tennis, Singing, and playing with my children!
How I model lifelong learning: I am an avid reader of professional development books. Books that focus on leadership
and literacy development are my favorites! I love sharing newly learned information and new questions I have with others.
Interesting fact about me: During my senior year in college, I almost switched career paths from education to opera performance. I think I made the right decision!
Name: Jeffery Hart
Position: Elementary Assistant Principal
Nationality: Canadian
Years in Education: This is my 17th year
Educational Qualifications: B. Arts (English/Humanities), B.Ed (Primary/Junior), and M.Sc.
(Edu. Leadership and Management)
Graduated from: York University, University of Toronto, and Manchester
Metropolitan University
Worked at GWA since: 2007
Countries worked in: Canada, USA, England, Kuwait, Qatar, and UAE
Area(s) of passion in education: Language Arts, Computers, and Assessment for Learning, to name only a few
Interests/hobbies: Camping, travelling/exploring, digital graphic design, learning guitar, and walking my dog
How I model lifelong learning: I’m often motivated by uncertainty and trying things because they are new or they might
present a challenge to me. I happily look at failures as the stepping stones to success; making mistakes and reflecting on
them means I’m always learning and trying to improve
Interesting fact about me: I’m married to Melanie Hart, one of our Kg1 teachers, and we’ve now been together for almost 25 wonderful years!
Name: Darlene Huson
Position: Elementary Assistant Principal
Nationality: American
Years in Education: 15 years
Educational Qualifications: Master’s of Education in Elementary Education; Post-Master’s in
Educational Leadership
Graduated from: BA from Bard College and MA from The College of New Jersey (USA)
Worked at GWA since: 2011
Countries worked in: USA, UK, Iceland, Japan, Italy, UAE
Area(s) of passion in education: Early Childhood and the Visual Arts
Interests/hobbies: Spending time with my family
Interesting fact about me: I come from a family of eight children and I am the only one who does not work in a bank.
Get to Know Our ES Leadership Team
Name: David Gerber
Position: Primary Years Curriculum Coordinator
Nationality: American
Years in Education: 11
Educational Qualifications: Bachelors of Arts in Education and Curriculum, presently pursuing
Masters in Education (Advanced Certificate in IB Education)
Graduated from: University of Montana, Missoula
Worked at GWA since: August, 2011
Countries worked in: 4
Area(s) of passion in education: Developing international mindedness and conceptual understandings
Interests/hobbies: triathlon, rock climbing, sailing, kiteboarding…I want to learning how to fly an ultralight plane
How I model lifelong learning: I try and learn something new every year. I share my reflections as I learn. Often times I
share frustrations or challenges I was able to overcome using tools I learned from previous experiences. It’s funny how
everything is connected!
Interesting fact about me: I will get married in April of 2015.
From our Admissions Team
To register your child with the Ministry of Education (KHDA) all new students transferring from out of Dubai will
need to provide the following to our KHDA representative, Eman Mahmoud.
New Students, PK-G12: Parents must scan Emirates IDs (Student and 1 parent ID) with Eman.
New Students, Grades 2-12: We must scan Transfer Certificate with Eman.
Note: Internal Dubai Transfer Students do NOT need to do the above process
Attached is a calendar so parents can go class-by-class to Eman’s office from 8:30am-12pm with transfer
certificates and Emirates IDs to her secondary office - 007.
1. School Start
2. Start EC
Gr1 –12
7. KG1 EN
8. KG1 JY
9. KG1 KM
10. KG1 MH
11. KG1 MS
14. KG1 NB
15. KG1 SS
16. PreK GO
17. PreK LW
18. PreK MB
21. KG2 AL
22. KG2 CM
23. KG2 HW
24. KG2 KA
25. KG2 NW/
28. Gr1 AW/
Gr1 CV
29. Gr1 LP/
Gr1 KM
30. Gr1 FK/
A Note from the School Counselors
Greetings GWA Parents and Families!
Welcome back! The beginning of a school year is an exciting time full of opportunities and possibilities. The students are
learning the new routines and reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. There are many things that we can do
to help the children have the best start possible. Here are some tips to help your child transition successfully back into
1. Scale back the bedtime hour to allow your child to have plenty of rest. Begin bedtime at least fifteen minutes earlier
than you would normally to help them get used to the new bedtime.
2. Make sure your child eats a nutritious breakfast to have enough energy for this energetic time.
3. Create a homework basket or a place that both you and your child know where homework will be looked at and
4. Develop your morning routines; practice them with your child so that your family can have a positive start to the day.
5. Communicate regularly with your child’s teacher and learn which school rules you can begin reinforcing right away to
help them be successful at school.
6. Ask your child about who their friends are and encourage them to reach out to other kids that seem nice. Remind them
that making friends sometimes takes more than one attempt. If the first attempt isn’t successful, then try again or try to
make friends with someone else. GWA staff will be assisting with this process of helping each child feel connected to the
school, the class, and to each other.
The counselors are available to help the students to settle into this school year, especially the new students. If you have
any questions about these tips or if you feel your child is not adjusting as well as you would like, please feel free to contact
us. We are very excited about this school year and look forward to hearing from you.
Alicia (Cia) Ashenden
(Pre-K through KG2)
Kevin Nelson
(Grades 1 through 3)
Kim Leiske
(Grades 4 and 5)
Volunteer Sign Up
Nomination for Treasurer
Digital Citizenship Newsletter
Bringing Back the Rules After Summer
Did you find your summer months involve more free time, unstructured routines and a lot more screen
time than normal? According to the Harris Interactive Poll, half of all parents witness their children
watching more television, playing more video games, and surfing the web over the summer
months. Bringing back the rules after summer is something every family starts to think about as
students return back to school. Common Sense Media offers ideas and advice which can help make
the back to school routine much simpler after the summer holidays.
Involve all family members in establishing new back to school home routines
Ensure there is a balance of exercise, reading, social and family time, school work and
entertainment in each weekly routine
Turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. The stimulation to media makes it
difficult to help kids settle down and impedes healthy sleep patterns
Use the school library
Be the media role model for your children by modeling healthy habits that you would like your kids
to follow
To keep up to date information and resources, visit the GWA Digital Citizenship Weebly
and like us on our Digital Citizenship Facebook Page
Kimberly Leiske, Elementary Counselor
Important Upcoming Dates
September 7
September 10
September 10
September 28
September 29
October 4
October 5 – 9
October 12
November 4
November 20
December 2– 3
December 18
Gr5 Swimming Tryouts—After School
Gr4 Swimming Tryouts—After School
Back to School Night—7pm
GR4/GR5 Soccer tryouts (Signup Sheet in the Cafeteria)
Gr4 Soccer Tryouts
Arafah Day*
School Holiday (Includes Eid Al Adha)
Classes resume
Islamic New Year*
Faculty training Day—No school
UAE National Day
Start of Winter Break—12pm Dismissal
*Islamic Holidays are subject to change
You can always view our calendar at!
Your Child’s
The Class Weebly will be
the classroom teacher’s
primary means of
communicating general
information about the
classroom with families. Please be sure to check it at least once weekly.
Teachers will be updating weekly, at a minimum. The classroom websites will be
ready for parent viewing by September 10th. Please visit http:// to access your child’s Class Weebly.
Dear Parents,
GEMS Music Academy will begin on the week Sept. 14th (Sunday). For our returning students with
individual music lessons, deadline for payments is on Sept. 7th . Payments are now accepted online
and the accounts office.
For new applications, please register online :
For more information click here
These individual music lesson are offered during school time. Please be advised that this is not an

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