The Panther Perspective

GEMS United School Monthly Newsletter

3rd Edition

Kate Vavpetic

Head of School

Dear Parents,

"In the midst of the game, your son stopped what he was doing to check on a friend who had been tripped and help him get to his feet; he is always so kind to others, no matter what else is going on." "We love having your daughter stay over at our house because she is so happy, respectful, and thoughtful. She even thanked our nanny for making her breakfast, pointing out that it was more work for her to have one more person there! She didn't have to do that!" As a parent, comments like this one make you smile ear to ear, make your heart leap out of your chest, and make you want to share the praise with everyone who will listen, don't they?

The GEMS Jewels of Kindness program is designed to highlight all the amazing ways in which our children model values like kindness, respect, empathy, and compassion. It is a means of encouraging our students to think about values and their behavior at school, at home and in the wider community. Our goal at GEMS United School is to partner with you to promote these values so consistently that they become embedded. Some of our most joyful assemblies are those like we had last Tuesday, when we awarded Jewels of Kindness certificates and pins to Louis, Eamon, Aisha, and Josh. We're eager to award our Elementary students Jewels of Kindness certificates at their Community Sharing on November 25.

Please, help US celebrate Jewels of Kindness with your child(ren) by sending us these "small moments," the stories about how your sons and daughters show kindness, empathy, respect, and compassion. Keeping these values at the forefront of our minds will help our homes, school, community, and world become kinder, better places.



PS: Please complete our parent survey. What are we doing well? What can we improve? There's no US without U!


News & Announcements

  • SWIMMING AT GEMS US - All swimming activities including PE lessons and Panther swim teams are temporarily on hold for the next two weeks for pool maintenance.
  • MAKER MORNING - On Monday, Nov. 18th, we will host a Maker Morning in the auditorium beginning at 8am. Come and explore!
  • MIDDLE SCHOOL ECOVENTURE PARENT MEETING - After school on Monday, Nov. 18th, Ecoventure staff will be on campus to provide a presentation about our local Week Without Walls Water Adventure Feb. 23-26. Location: auditorium.
  • ELEMENTARY MOVIE NIGHT - The weather is beautiful! Come join US on the small soccer pitch for Movie Night on Monday, Nov. 18th and watch Ferdinand. Tickets cost 10dhs per person prior to the event and 15dhs at the event. Doors open at 5:45pm. Pack a picnic and enjoy the show!
  • PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES (PTCs) - PTCs will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 19th and Tuesday, Nov. 26th from 2-6pm. An email with information regarding how to schedule a time to meet with your child's teacher(s) was sent via email on Sunday. To register, click here. Conference registration for Tuesday, Nov. 19th will close at 1:30pm on Sunday , Nov. 17th for Secondary and 5pm for Elementary. Secondary parents can register for Nov. 26th conferences on Sunday beginning at 5pm.
  • TEDDY BEAR PICNIC - Do you have a little one turning 3-4yrs old or know a friend who may be interested in our Kindergarten program? We are having a Teddy Bear Picnic on Tuesday, Nov. 19th at 9am for prospective families. The children will read stories, play games and enjoy some tasty treats plus have the opportunity to meet students, faculty and administration. Join US! RSVP to Ms. Kambree at
  • THANKSGIVING LUNCH - On Thursday, Nov. 21st, we will celebrate a favorite American tradition on campus thanks to our wonderful United Parents. Thanksgiving lunch will be catered by Shakespeare and the cost is 40dhs/student. All students have been given a form and envelope for payment which can be placed in the drop-box in reception. Our canteen will only be serving a cold lunch service on this date. Click here for the form and more information.
  • THANKFUL GRAMS - Middle School Student Council is celebrating the spirit of the season with Thankful Grams. They will be selling Thankful grams for 5dhs during MS & HS lunch starting next week and these notes will be distributed on Wednesday, Nov. 27th.
  • SECONDARY MUSICAL AUDITIONS - This year's musical will be the Little Mermaid. Auditions will be held Nov. 24, 25 & 27th. See the Visual and Performing Arts section below for more details.
  • ELEMENTARY REPORT CARDS - On Monday, Nov. 25th, elementary report cards will be released in PlusPortals under your child's e-locker. You can access the Elementary Portal via the following link: Plus Portals Elementary. Your registered email address in your username and if you do not know/or forgot your password, select the "can't access your account" option and you will receive an email to reset your password.
  • GEMS PARENT SURVEY - We want to hear from you! If you haven't completed the survey, click here. There is no US without you and we value your feedback and partnership in making GEMS United School a place you and your family belong!
  • ELEMENTARY COMMUNITY SHARING: All parents are invited to our next Elementary Community Sharing on Monday, Nov. 25th beginning at 8:45am in the auditorium. Grade 5 will be presenting on this day.
  • NATIONAL DAY SCHOOL CELEBRATIONS - We will be celebrating UAE National Day on Tuesday, Nov. 26th. All students are encouraged to dress in traditional UAE attire or wear the colors of the UAE flag. If wearing flag colors, students are required to wear a minimum of two flag colors; otherwise, regular school uniform is required. Also note tank tops, short tops, shorts (for secondary), sweatpants, very tight and/or ripped clothing are not permitted. Closed-toed shoes are required.

INTERNATIONAL WWW TRIP PAYMENTS - The deadline for final payment for all international Week Without Walls trips is Wednesday, Nov. 27th; payment is to be made through our Accounts department.

  • NO SCHOOL - There will be no school for students on Thursday, Nov. 28th as it is a Professional Development day for faculty and staff.
  • NATIONAL DAY HOLIDAYS - The KHDA has announced we will have the following holidays in recognition of Commemoration Day and UAE National Day: Sunday, Dec. 1st - Tuesday, Dec. 3rd. All classes will resume on Wednesday, Dec. 4th and this will be a "B" week.
  • ELEMENTARY SPORTS DAY - Pre-K through grade 5 will be having their annual Sports Day on Wednesday, Nov. 27th from 9am until 12pm next door at our sports facilities and parents are welcome to attend. There will be an awards ceremony at 2:30pm. Students are to be dressed in their PE shorts and house color shirts and wear athletic footwear and hats.
  • If you will be leaving the school and relocating during the Winter Break, please make sure to notify us. Login to the Parent Portal to request a Transfer Certificate and inform the Registrar if you will need any documents from the school. If you have any questions, you can contact the Admissions Office or email Kambree Moses at
  • SOCKVEMBER - Our Middle School Student Council is organizing their annual Sockvember drive to help those less fortunate. These items will be given to the Emirates Red Crescent.
  • The book fair will be located in the reception area for your convenience. We receive a percentage of the profits from the sale of each book. The more books we buy as a reading community, the higher the percentage.


At the end of last year, we launched the GEMS Jewels of Kindness program which seeks to exemplify students exhibiting core values including compassion, kindness, respect, helpfulness and empathy.

The aim of this program is to emphasize the importance of values education to help our children become better world citizens. The students highlighted in this section are nominated by their families or teachers and recognized by the school as children learn best when there is close collaboration between home and school on core values.

Share Your Story!

Take the opportunity and share your story. Tell us how your child exhibited one of the following values and let's build a stronger and kinder community together. Kindness is contagious!

Write US at :

Jewels Of Kindness Recipients

See below for the students recognized at this week's Middle School and High School Assemblies. Our Elementary recipients will be recognized at our next community sharing on Monday, Nov. 25th.

Louis Mcinnes

Gr. 11

Louis volunteers weekly at Sands Fitness in Dubai Motor City as a coach for teens/young adults of determination through the Heroes of Hope Program.

His nominee stated "the energy, encouragement, focus and compassion he shows to his buddies each week is truly incredible. His buddies respond well to his coaching and push themselves to work harder and find courage to try something new."

Eamon Murphy

Gr. 9

Eamon demonstrated for all of US what caring, kindness and helpfulness looks like. He helped babysitting a young 3 yr old child in his home. He took the time to play with her and help her feel at home. He treated her just like a member of his family. The nominee stated "I am grateful for the time, care and kindness he showed towards our daughter."

Aisha Moharram

Gr. 12

Aisha was recognized for being a ''kindness bomb''. She took the initiative to celebrate her mother's birthday and also prepare a thoughtful beautiful book of their family's happy moments. She also reached out and provided support to a friend who was in need of assistance. Her mom, and all of US, are proud of her kindness and empathetic nature.

Josh Orton - Middle School

Josh, Gr. 6, was nominated for a Jewels of Kindness Award for his positive transition to middle school and going out of his way to help other students in science class. He demonstrated helpfulness in supporting the learning of his classmates.


Musical Auditions

Auditions for the secondary Musical, The Little Mermaid, will be held on Nov. 24th, 25th & 27th after school.

Audition packets can be picked up from either Ms. Massaquoi (H012) or Ms. Carter (E004) or you can find them on google classroom at "m7wenh." This location is where you will find the audio files.

Concert Attire: Pre-k - Gr 5

Semiformal outfit with colors of white, black, red and green. Students may wear a solid color or combination of any 4 colors. No jeans.

Concert Attire: MS & HS Choir

Students in Middle school will wear their white music polo with nice black bottoms and black shoes. High School girls will wear their GUS black choral gown and the boys will wear their white dress shirt, and black vest, bowtie and pants. All students are required to arrive at 5:15pm in the music room.



Thirty-one secondary performers took to the runway filled with confidence and pride and entertained the audience with two spectacular performances. Additionally, four high school students (Erin Post, Reina Baassiri, Aishat Sulieman and Camille Kieboom) represented GEMS United School with grace and elegance as models for Runway Dubai.

It was truly a proud night to be affiliated with GEMS United School. We have such enthusiastic and talented students and faculty and we are so proud of them! Keep reaching beyond!!


As part of Dubai's Design Week, Elementary Art teacher, Ms. Ussher, and classroom teachers took students in grades 4 & 5 on a field trip to Dubai Design & Innovation where students learned about how art and design can have a great impact in shaping the world we live in. In addition, the experience also brought a deeper understanding and context to what students have been learning in class.

GEMS Music Hub

If you have a child who is taking music lessons and would like to take part in one of the GEMS music competitions in January, please contact your child’s GUS music teacher.

Students must have completed a piece at the minimum level of ABRSM grade 1-2 by November depending on the instrument. Ms. Chin and Ms. Massaquoi will determine which of the three competitions your child would qualify for.



Season 1 is coming close to the end and what a season it has been thus far! A massive well done to all of our Panther athletes and coaches for their dedication and perseverance to succeed. Already three of our secondary teams have been crowned DASSA Divisional Champions and we have some others still in hot pursuit of adding some more titles to the US Panthers name.

Best of luck to all of our teams in their final games this season. This week we have 5 home games so make sure to check out our recent results and upcoming games tables so you can come out and support!


Varsity Girls Basketball Team

Division 1 League Champions

Varsity Girls Soccer Team

League Champions

Secondary Swim Team

League Champions

Season 2 Sports

Our Panthers sports program is always looking forward and we are already looking toward our season 2 sports. All of our Season 2 sports start the first week back after the winter holidays in January except for our Middle School development basketball and soccer teams. These two teams will start next week as we have our first tournament on December 7th.

Any Middle School students interested in participating in season 2 basketball or soccer for boys and girls, there will be open sessions for all to attend on Wednesday 20th of November at 7.00 a.m. Students interested should attend the session and sign-up. If they are unable to sign-up on this morning, they should inform Mr. Kirwan in F102 before Thursday the 21st of November.

Gymnastics Opportunity

If your child is interested in representing GEMS US in a schools gymnastics competition, please email our Athletic Director, Liam Kirwin, at

Varsity Girls Basketball

Varsity Girls Soccer

Secondary Swim Squad

Varsity Boys Basketball currently sitting in 2nd place in their division.

Our U11 Boys soccer all smiles before their home game.

Middle School Volleyball team having fun at their tournament at Dunecrest.

U9 Development Soccer team. Gooooo Panthers!!!!

Coaching Opportunities

Are you interested in coaching? Our Panthers sports program wants to get more of our community involved so if you would like to be an assistant sports coach for season 2. Please email our athletic director Liam Kirwan at

Our Season 2 Sports are as follows:


Liam Kirwan, Athletic Director

For any questions regarding sports training, games or events, please email


Recognizing Local Culture

Last weekend, Muslims across the world celebrated Mawlid or Mawlid Al-Nabi "Birth of the Prophet" in observance of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, which is commemorated on the 12th of Rabi' Al-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar.

To recognize the occasion the Islamic department has been working with all of our Islamic students across the school on student-led presentations and hands-on activities to share with peers. The aim of this activity was to recognize our host country's culture and share information about who the Prophet was and his significance in the Islamic culture.

During these celebrations our Islamic students sang, shared stories and stood before their peers and presented information. They also led an activity to signify how we can all learn from each other regardless of our religion.


University Preparation

Grade 12 Parents: All university applications with a deadline of January 15th are to be submitted by November 27th to ensure favorable outcomes for our students.

All 9-11 Parents: Christmas, Spring Break, and Summer vacation are excellent times to visit universities. Grade 12 will be here before you know it! We encourage you to take the time to explore possibilities in your home country or to plan family vacations near locations where you are considering to study abroad.

You may also consider using these vacations to allow your child to “job shadow." A job shadow can be an informal way to get eyes into the life of various professions. Consider starting first with your own company, and those of close friends and family.

Empowering Kids

Parents often wonder what kind of tasks their children can be expected to participate in at home. Just how much responsibility should be given to a child? Hopefully, we see the tremendous potential in our kids.

It can be particularly difficult to teach kids about responsibility as an expat because we often have gardeners, maids and nannies who do many of the jobs we might normally be responsible for. Regardless, it is an important learning opportunity for our children. Of course the level of responsibility varies with age but every child who carries some consistent responsibilities around the house gains from the experience. The child who has a job to do feels more a part of the family. He/she feels important, even competent, and yes, bigger.

Responsibilities help a child gain independence and self-reliance. By learning to do a job and taking credit for it, a child will learn a skill that will help them in school and in all of life’s endeavors. How does a parent get a child to maintain his/her first enthusiasm for routine jobs that need to be done? Surprisingly, payment for these jobs rarely makes a difference.

There are some things to try that might help:

  • Always give encouragement, not criticism.
  • Never, never nag. Remind once and follow through with a natural consequence such as no chores, no store.
  • No lectures, no threats. Simply carry out expected family fun times with children who have completed their jobs.
  • Don’t make it a major crime if a chore is not done, but don’t excuse it and cover up for it either. Children don’t do well with wishy-washy parents, but they also don’t do well with heartless, demanding parents.
  • Find peaceful happy times to talk lots with each other about the roles everyone plays in the household. Help your child see how important his/her role is to you. Having a regular schedule of times to do jobs, works best.

You can count on your child learning responsibility if he/she sees you taking responsibility seriously, such as being on time, carrying through with a promise, and watching you regularly gain satisfaction from a job well done. The example you provide in the home can do wonders in teaching this valuable life trait.

(adapted from Karin Klein's article

Have a great week!

Joseph Murphy

Director Of Student & Community Wellbeing


Thanksgiving Lunch

In the season of thankfulness, we will host a Thanksgiving lunch for all students and staff on Thursday, Nov. 21st. The delicious meal will be catered by Shakespeare and Co. and will include turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, carrots and cookies.

There will be a vegetarian option for all students and chicken nuggets for our Early Years friends. A sign up form came home with students and was sent via email this week to complete. Please submit your form and 40dhs/student in the drop-box outside of reception by Sunday, Nov. 17th.

Tickets will be given to the teachers the day of the Thanksgiving lunch for those who participate. If you do not have the form, see the link below.

We hope your child enjoys this wonderful opportunity!

Parent Social

Join us on Monday, Nov. 25th for a movie showing of “Last Christmas” at the MOE. A late morning showing coupled with some food and fellowship. Mark your calendar and stay tuned for more details.


November Menus (Gr. 5-12)

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

We also now offer a live cooking station daily. Please see the details below for the weekly menu. Cost is 15dhs per meal.

Slices Registration

Want to register for Slices canteen services? Click the parent Sign-Up link below.


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:

Please include your 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.

To view your child's report cards, grades (Gr. 6-12), MAP results and CAT 4 (for applicable grades), visit our Plus Portals login page (Secondary). Elementary families need to login at Plus Portals login (Elementary)

Your user name is your registered email (each parent has a separate account) and your password is specific to your requirements.

You can select "can't access your account" to recover/reset your unique password. If you need assistance, please contact Suja at


Interested in applying for the FAB GEMS Credit Card?

Contact Mr. Mohamed Abdul Wajeed at 050-6167137 or Mr. Jijesh K 052-7575967 to learn more about the GEMS FAB credit card. Alternatively, you can email

Have you downloaded GEMS Rewards?

Don't miss the opportunity to save! Download the app today from the App store or Google Play and begin saving today.

There are many 2 for 1 deals on food, entertainment, beauty and attractions and you can apply for the GEMS FAB credit card to save on tuition and apply for the the GEMS Ambassador program at your fingertips.



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