Panther Voices

September 2018 Edition 1 - Official Elementary Newsletter for GEMS United School

Aroma Pannu

From the Principal's Desk

Welcome to the first edition of Panther Voices- a place for US to connect, share our voices, celebrate events, and to learn about all things Elementary School related.

2018/2019 has started off with a roar and we are already settled into our learning routines. I look forward to seeing you this upcoming Wednesday, September 26th for our Back to School evening event from 5:00 to 6:30 pm to continue to build our strong home-school partnerships. Your child's teachers will share ways in which you can support your child's learning at home while also giving you a glimpse into their school day and our curriculum.

Enjoy scrolling through this edition of Panther Voices to see snapshots of what's been happening in ES and what's ahead.


Aroma Pannu


1. MAP TESTING - Map testing is on-going until the 27th of September

2. Coffee Morning - Meet and Greet with the Senior Leadership Team on the 24th of September (Monday) in the Auditorium at 8:30 - 9:00 AM.

3. Back to School Night – On Wednesday, Sept. 26th we are hosting a Back to School Night for parents to meet their child’s teachers and learn more about the learning that takes place in the classroom. The event will take place from 5 :00-6:30 PM for elementary parents (Pre-KG – Gr.5) and 6 - 8:30 PM for secondary parents (Gr.6-12). We will welcome parents in the auditorium at the start of the program before heading to the classrooms.

4. Grade 5 students: Slices is going cashless starting Monday, October 1st. If your child is currently purchasing hot lunch from the canteen, please be sure to register for a lunch card and top-up the account online. To register, click here. Please note, it will take 3 business days for the lunch card to be available and students are to pick-up their lunch card from the Parent Café.


Dear Parents and Students,

Our Annual Talent Show is quickly approaching! This year’s show will be structured similarly to last year - in that it will be a competition for prizes in the following categories: Audience Favorite, Best Solo Performance, Best Group Performance, Best Costume, Most Impressive Performance, Best Elementary Performer, Best Secondary Performer, and Best Overall. This year, there will be three rounds that are adjudicated by judges. Students who make it to the third and final round will be in the ‘This is US’ Talent show.

Round 1 of auditions are scheduled to take place after school on Wednesday, Oct. 3rd and Thursday Oct. 4th, 2018 from 3:45-6:15pm. Students only need to sign-up for one of those days.

Round 2 of auditions (for students who made it through round 1) will be held on Wednesday, October 10th & Thursday, Oct. 11th from 3:45-6:00pm. Students only need to sign-up for one of those days.

Round 3 (for students who have made it into the final competition) will take place during the ‘This is US’ Talent Show on Tuesday, October 23rd at 6:00pm.

In this competition, only the top acts will be chosen to move forward to the final round and performance. Students who are not fully prepared to perform their talent (without assistance) on the day of their audition will not be accepted. Students must bring their own backing tracks, music, and/or necessary items to their audition.

Backing tracks may not include any lead vocals and must be in a mp3 format (YouTube is not available during the audition). All music and backing tracks must be on a removable USB flash drive and labeled with the student’s name and song at the time of audition.

Examples of talents include (but are not limited to): singing, dancing, acting, comedy, magic, gymnastics, sports tricks, reciting poetry, playing an instrument, etc. We want to see what the students can do!!!

All talent acts will be evaluated based on a rubric. Judges will be looking for creativity, memorization, stage-presence, quality of performance, and confidence.

Sign-up sheets for the auditions have be placed outside of the Music classrooms in the H block and B block. The results will also be placed in the same location.

** Please note that students will be placed in the order of sign-up and they must be available to stay 30 minutes before / after their time-slot in case of no-shows or delays on the day of round 1 auditions. Students will be free to leave as soon as their audition is over. Parents may only watch their own child or may wait outside of the auditorium. Please be aware that there are NO buses for auditions / rehearsals and that parents should make the necessary arrangements to pick their children up after all auditions / rehearsals. Students who are chosen to participate in the talent show MUST be able to come and stay for the duration of ALL rehearsals.

Please feel free to email us with any questions.

Warm Regards,

Ms. Chin (Elementary Music)

Ms. Massaquoi (Secondary Vocal Music)

Mrs. Outree (Secondary Strings Music)


I am writing to invite you to join the GEMS US Parent Book Group. This year we will be reading the book entitled You, Your Child, and School, by Sir Ken Robinson. Sir Ken Robinson’s latest book is focused on supporting parents and other caregivers. It is clear that adults play significant roles in how their children are educated, and Robinson uses this work to encourage adults to be active and critical participants. Throughout, Robinson offers sound advice on what counts as a good education and provides practical ways to help make sure any child gets one. The focus on understanding who each child is as an individual and helping them find their own spark of genius is an empowering stance for parents to embrace (from School Library Journal).

You, Your Child, and School can be purchased in at Borders, ordered online…or downloaded on your device of choice.

Book Club Meeting Dates will be as follows:

Monday Oct 1st

  • Chapter 1: Get Your Bearings
  • Chapter 2: Know Your Role.

Monday Oct 8th

  • Chapter 3: Know Your Child
  • Chapter 4: Raise Them Strong

Monday Oct 15th

  • Chapter 5: Understand What School Is For
  • Chapter 6: Choose the Right School

Monday Oct 22nd

  • Chapter 7: Go to the Source
  • Chapter 8: Build the Relationship

Monday Oct 29th

  • Chapter 9: Tackle the Problem
  • Chapter 10: Look to the Future

All meetings will be from 8:45-10:15am—the first hour being dedicated to specific chapter topics and the remaining time for relevant small group discussions. These groups are intended to be educational, supportive, self-reflective, and fun! Please come ready to talk.

If you are interested in joining this group, and committing to the 5 week program, please contact me at or give me a call (ext. 615) so that I can reserve a space for you. We will look to cap the group at 20 participants. Please reach out if you have any questions.


Joe Murphy

Director of Student and Community Wellbeing


Liam Kirwan

Athletic Director


WOW...What An Awesome Week!!!

This was our biggest week of try-outs EVER here at panthers HQ. We had over 50 students assessed for our advanced and development swim squads and almost 40 students come out for our elementary soccer teams for grades 3-5. Thank you to all our young Panthers for showing such enthusiasm and eagerness to be part of our teams! To top the week off, we received our approval to begin using our new outdoor soccer field, track facilities, tennis and basketball courts which are located across the road from our campus. We can’t wait for our elementary students to get an opportunity to use them!


  • Development swimming on Sundays will begin this Sunday, Sept. 23rd after a successful swim assessment this past week. We were really impressed with the standard of swimming from all of our students.
  • Advanced swim squad began their training sessions this week and will continue as such. If you need confirmation of the days, please see the swim squad schedule below. Also please note advanced swim squad members are required to purchase the US Panther swim suit; however, this can be worn in swim lessons during curriculum time too. Development swim squad students are welcome to purchase the squad swim suit; however, this is not a requirement.
  • Elementary soccer for grades 3-5 will take place on our new pitch next week on Monday. All students are to meet the coaches in the gymnasium lobby. Please ensure your child has water and a cap as it is still quite warm out there.

**If your child missed a try-out for any sports team, please email our Athletic Director Mr. Liam Kirwan at to see if it is possible for a late try-out or assessment. Unfortunately, some teams are now full and unable to accept more students this term**



Joseph Murphy

Elementary Counselor

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James

Counselor Corner is our opportunity to share what’s coming your way from the counseling department at GEMS United School. Our counseling team is here to support students, parents and faculty. We have a counselor in each division who understands the developmental needs of our learners and we are excited to work together to support the holistic growth of all our students. Matthew is an expert in all things “college” as well. We are specialists in transition and happy to have a chat about this rollercoaster that is expat life.

Upcoming events and General Information

1. Parent Book Club begins on Monday, October 1st. We are reading Sir Ken Robinson’s book, You, Your Child and School. If you would like to participate reach out to Joe Murphy at for more information and to reserve a place. More information can be found in this newsletter under upcoming events.

2. Stop by our Wellbeing Hub in C-Block. Just inside the main door. There is a library of parenting books available and always a space for you to sit and read!

3. Parent Coffee mornings will be hosted by the counseling team at different times through the year. Look for those announcements in future newsletters. Our first Parent Coffee will be in October and connected to supporting our families in transition. If you are interested in resources, please check out the following link Families In Global Transition.

As we move forward please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do to support!

Joe Murphy- ES Counselor

Delisa Woods- MS Counselor

Matthew Abbate- HS Counselor


Meray Janbein

Head of Islamic Department

What is Hijri Islamic New Year?

Recently, we enjoyed a holiday and we want to share with you the meaning behind the holiday.

Hijri is derived from the Arabic word Hijrah, which means migration. In the religious context, it specifically refers to the migration of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) more than 14 centuries ago.

The occasion marks 1,440 years since the migration of Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and his companions from Makkah to Madinah, Islam’s holiest cities in Saudi Arabia. The first year in the Islamic calendar, Hijri 1, corresponds to the year 622AD.


Splash & Learn

Peace One Day

This initiative was started in 2001 when the United Nations unanimously adopted the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on 21 September – Peace Day.


Parent Trip

Le Louvre, Abu Dhabi

Join US for our first parent trip of the year to the new art museum, Le Louvre, in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, October 3rd. We will take a bus and depart from the school at 8:40am and return at 3pm.

This will be a private tour for our group and costs are outlined below (based on the number of participants):

  • 25 attendees - 105dhs
  • 20 attendees - 116dhs
  • 15 attendees - 133dhs

Please note lunch is not included in the prices listed above. If interested, reserve your place now with Fabienne Buchard at or 050 250 7405.



When your child is ill or will not be attending school, you will need to inform the school about your child's absence to the following GEMS US staff member:

with the child's name, grade & section along with a day of expected return (if known).

For extended absences , please complete the absence form and return to the appropriate staff member noted above for approval by the Principal.

September Menus (Gr. 5-12)

Located on our GEMS US website under the Parents tab; you can also click here - September menus

Slices Registration

To register for Slices canteen services (both Elementary & Secondary), register online by clicking the link below.

Once you register one child, you will receive an email to the registered user with login details. Login to the portal at to begin using services. Once inside the portal, you will be able to add additional children and select services.

  • Students in Pre-k through grade 4 can order hot lunches delivered to the classroom by selecting from menus. Please note, Slices requires 48h (business hours) notice for ordering a meal.
  • Students in grades 5-12 will visit the canteen for lunch services and use a cashless system. For the month of September we will accept cash payment for purchases. Beginning October 1st, we will go cashless. To register for a lunch card, follow the steps listed above for registration. It will take 3 working days for your child's card to be available at the school and can be picked-up at the Parent Cafe. Once your child has the card in hand, he/she can begin using the cashless system. You will login to the portal to top-up money on your child's card or students can top-up with cash/card at the Parent Cafe.

For more information about Slices, visit our website: Slices Canteen Services or contact our Parent Relations Executive, Lisa Khoury at

After School Activities (ASAs)

ASA registration has now ended for Term 1. Thank you to all those who have registered. You will hear from your ASA teacher/provider no later than September 27th.

Term 1 will begin on Sunday, September 30th. Please note the ASA late bus, for registered STS bus users, is available on Sundays, Mondays & Wednesdays. If your child has an ASA scheduled on Tuesday or Thursday, you will need to arrange transportation home.




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Visit our website to review information regarding the school calendar, news and for our student & parent handbooks.