Letter from Director to all parents - Aug. 24
Date: August 24th, 2011
Dear Parents and Students:
On behalf of my staff colleagues at UAS, I welcome you all, returning and new parents and students, to the 2011/12 school year. Last year I reported a starting enrolment of 1100 students, and with some space and staffing adjustments we are expecting a total enrolment this year between 1200-1220 students, with a few vacant spaces in grades 2, 7, and 9. Both IB classes, grades 11 and 12, are full with 94 and 85 students respectively.
The first day of classes as shown in the calendar we sent prior to the summer break is Monday, September 5, following Ramadan and the Eid-al-Fitr break. The 2011/12 school calendar can be found on our website (www.uasdubai.ae ) along with other regularly provided information. Within the first two weeks of school you will receive information about the Portal to which we will migrate a great deal of information that can be accessed by parents and students.
Please note that we have engaged a new cafeteria provider, Fine Food, a well- established company operating in many schools which I expect will lead to improvements that many have pointed out in the survey are much needed.
You will be receiving letters from Principals Eric Webb, Elementary, and Simone Sebban, Secondary in which they inform you of details concerning the start of classes and the orientation of new students. During the summer the business office and support staff under the direction of Business Manager Ayman Khouzam have been busy with many improvements including painting, vinyl flooring for the KG classes, and carpeting that includes the Secondary Library. New resources for teaching have been added for all areas of the school including technology upgrades. The Admissions Office has been busy throughout the summer, and the Principals are presently concluding the workshops for new and returning teachers. The new faculty are settling in well and are keen to get started. I need to mention that our newly hired Math teacher, due to unexpected medical treatment requirements, will join us on November 1 – but all is in good order as our experienced Math teachers have stepped forward to cover the classes for September and October which is surely the best “substituting” we can ask for. A maternity leave coverage for French teacher Tiffany Affagard for about 6-8 weeks at the start has also been arranged successfully.
We have received very good news from the IB Office in July regarding the results for the class of 2011, with a highly improved pass rate of 85% (surpassing the world average) which we may yet improve when three students who narrowly missed the diploma will re-sit some exams in November which, if successful as we have reason to expect, will take our pass rate to 90%. I am also pleased about the students who took courses for certificates and whose results in the external exams were also excellent. My congratulations to the students, the IB teachers and teachers who taught them before in preparatory years, and to our hard-driving IB Coordinator Carinn Mariani from whom you will receive more details in the usual secondary reporting.
We will be busy this year again with preparations for the KHDA Inspection which now includes a self-evaluation, and in addition we need to submit a 5-year report to the IB (yes, we are entering our
fifth year with the IB Diploma Program ) and begin the preparations for the Interim Evaluation Visit from the Council of International Schools and the Middle States Association, a joint visit scheduled for October 2012.
Finally, a few announcements and appreciations: I welcome again Stephen Michalik to the position of Athletics Director and Helen Farran as the new Elementary ICT Integration Coordinator with tasks that complement those of Sudha Sunder in the Secondary School. I thank my administrator colleagues, Eric Webb and Joan Marie Larter in Elementary and Simone Sebban and Scott Terry in Secondary for the fine preparatory work they have done with the faculty which is quickly becoming a united team. Candace Frazier-Klein and Hania Kabbara have been busy in Admissions with help from Lamya in my office and Hala, our receptionist, and Suzanne, my executive assistant has been managing the office with the usual high level of dedication.
Transport deserves the last word: Please make sure to contact our Transport Manager, Louie Garcia, Ext. 2112 – this is urgent as you can only get on a bus line from the very start if you sign up tomorrow Thursday, August 25th or Sunday, August 28th. After that it will take at least one week from the first day of school to bring you into the system and you will need to make your own transport arrangements for that time. Also, the Mirdif transport is full at this time, but additional sign-ups will be accepted but arrangements for transport will also take at least the one week from the start of school
Please note that transport, for those who are confirmed as signed up, begins at the end of the first day of school, September 5th (no morning transport on the first day).
Please note that the following school offices are open on Sunday, Sept. 4th from 9-3pm:
Admissions, Accounts, School store (Uniform!), Reception and Transportation.
We are all ready for the start on Monday, September 5. Best wishes for the intervening Eid holiday and a successful school year 2011/12.
Dr. Gunther Brandt