United Arab Emirates / Abu Dhabi / Khalifa City A / GEMS American Academy

GEMS American Academy Q & A

GEMS American Academy Abu Dhabi is a highly rated (Very Good) US/IB curriculum school located on the outskirts of the city near the airport catering to 2,000 students from a wide range of nationalities.
Parents' Rating
3.8 out of 5 based on 26 reviews
At a glance
School phase
All through
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
radio_button_unchecked No data
Availability 2020/21
radio_button_unchecked No data
Annual fee average
AED 70,500
Annual fees
AED 52,870 - 73,670
Price band help
Opening year
School year
Sep to Jun
Dr. Kathryn Miner
GEMS Education
Main teacher nationality
US Citizen
Main student nationality
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Welcome to the GEMS American Academy official Q and A page. Here we ask the questions, and the school answers directly. It is its chance to have its say on specific areas you have told us you want to know about. If you think there are additional questions we should be asking you may contact us here.

What qualities and characteristics would you say define your school?

Our distinctiveness includes our warm, welcoming community and inclusive spirit, an American curriculum approach to learning, and our attention to the success of each child. The student is truly at the center of learning at GAA.

How many nationalities are represented in your school?

Currently 80+ nationalities are represented in our school.

What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?

12:1. In Kindergarten and Elementary we have one teacher and one education assistant per classroom. Middle and High School class sizes vary, however, at the maximum we have 25 students with 1 teacher.

Does your school have a waiting list?

For the 2019-2020 Academic Year, most of are grades are waitlisted, however, we are actively taking applications for 2020-2021.

Physical education and sport is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. How does your school ensure children engage in physical activity?

Physical education is a mandatory part of the curriculum for students KG-Grade 10. Students receive 2-3 lessons per week depending on their grade.

GEMS American Academy offers a comprehensive athletics and activities program intended to enhance the physical, social, emotional, artistic, and intellectual growth of participating students. After School Activity Program (ASA) Our after school activity program is teacher lead and is offered 4 times a year, for a six-week block.

How does your school promote healthy lifestyles?

Both PE and Classroom teachers encourage activity and discussions take place as early as KG through our Kitchen Lab which is a weekly class for KG – Grade 1.

How do you promote healthy eating?

At GAA we encourage students to eat healthy, nutritious foods. Monthly menus for our cafeteria are posted on the Slices catering website and weekly newsletter. Water is provided for all students, and students are required to bring their own refillable water bottles. Children should bring a healthy snack, including fresh fruits and vegetables, from home to eat during the morning break and lunch. Any food sent to school should be low in sugar, fat and not contain any nuts or nut products. Slices catering offer healthy options in the cafeteria.

Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students?


If yes, does it serve hot food?


What would be the amount spent by a student for their lunchtime meal?

Parents should budget between 15-20 dirhams per day

What is the starting and finishing time of your school day?

The school day for all Grades commences at 7:45am. Dismissal time is at 2:45pm for students in Kindergarten, 2:55pm for students Grade 1 through 5 and 3:00pm for Grades 6 - 12.

Is there a school uniform?

Yes, To view the school uniform please visit www.threadsme.com

Please advise on your discipline policy?

At GEMS American Academy a proactive and collaborative approach is used to solve discipline problems. The staff are committed to working together with children, parents, teachers and administrators to maintain high standards of behavior. Students are expected to behave appropriately and respectfully at all times. They must observe rules established with their teachers for classroom and playground activities.

Students are expected to abide by school rules and procedures any time they are at school, including after-school and evening activities, weekends and during any parent-sponsored events. Parents are asked to model and enforce GAA expectations and rules when on school grounds.

Our Discipline policy is included in our community handbook which parents receive at the start of the school year.

How often is the more formal feedback such as reports and parent/teacher meetings?

Parent-Teacher meetings can be booked anytime by both parties. We hold two Parent-Teacher-Student formal conferences a year.

Is Arabic taught as both a first language and second language in your school?

Arabic is offered as a first language to our native students and a second language to non-native students.

Which other languages are taught?

In our Secondary program students have a choice between French and Spanish

Do you offer EAL or TEFL support for those students where English is not their first language?

GEMS American Academy- Abu Dhabi accepts students who are English Language Learners (ELL) and/or children with learning differences who require Learning Support (LS) services, and/or students who have been identified as Gifted and Talented (G&T). In addition, GAA offers a counseling program that promotes learning.

Is Islamic Education/Studies for the Arab Muslim students delivered in Arabic for them?

Native Arabic speaking Muslim students will receive Islamic classes in Arabic. Non-Native speaking Muslim students receive Islamic lessons in English

Do you have a dedicated prayer room/s for the Muslim students?

yes, the school has a designated prayer room for our Muslim students

Does your school measure Value Added data? Please provide details of your current Value Added average scores

GAA administers formal assessments from kindergarten to grade 12 that measures progress and attainment. Specifically, the school uses MAP Test data and an early childhood education assessment. The resulting data is used to determine the level of the student, progress over time, and also informs instruction.

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?

The Support Team collaborates with students, families, the classroom teachers, and counselors (as needed), pushing into the mainstream classroom. Inclusion ensures education is accessible to all students regardless of age, race, gender, and abilities. Student Support Team specialists co-plan and co-teach in a differentiated classroom environment in order to cater to all students’ needs through accommodation and adaptation of the GAA curriculum. Inclusion, as we are using the term at GAA, is a vital philosophical commitment of a caring learning community to the education of children with unique learning styles.

At GAA we are proud of our efforts to meet the needs of each student. This includes students who are identified as gifted and talented, and students who have identified barriers to learning:

For more information, please click on the link below:


Do you have a learning support team in your school?


Our KG-12 team of professionals include:

•Learning Support Teachers
•English Language Learner (ELL) Specialists, and
•School Counsellors

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?

AT GEMS American Academy we welcome and encourage parent involvement. GAA currently has two Parent associations:
 GAAPA: Who organize and coordinate all our events throughout the year, and offer parent support.
 BOOSTER CLUB: Who assist with our after school activities (ASA) and support our competitive Sports Teams.

Are there opportunities for parents to support the learning, activities and events within the school or on trips other than through the parent group?

There are many opportunities for parents to get involved, from Parent Engagement events, or when classes are looking for helpers. Of course, we always love to see our parents cheering on our Sports teams as well. Go Wildcats!

Do you offer specific activities, events or information sessions for those parents new to the school and/or area?

At the start of each year and again after Winter Break we host a number of information sessions and coffee mornings to help our new families get settled. All new families receive a tour of the school before students are expected to begin classes.

We continue to run these sessions throughout the year to better assist families new to GAA and Abu Dhabi.

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11 Archived Comments
Archived 10th Mar 2015, 10:56

This school dropped from A2 to B5 in 1 year...I think that says it all, no?

Archived 19th Mar 2015, 12:32

For me, the issue isn't that the school's ranking has dropped, but rather, how much it dropped. We see every year, schools will up or down a ranking slot. But to drop 3 spaces in one year? That shows there was a miscalculation by the administration of the school (and possibly by GEMS as well).

I do hope they get it together; the UAE needs more good schools that don't just offer a US curriculum, but also are more orientated towards a Western culture socially (not just Western academics). This way, parents wanting to put their kids in an American school have more options.

Archived 10th Mar 2015, 11:18

It says the school has grown, and there is a significant number of new staff members. GEMs will no doubt resolve the issues, but there is always a period of normalisation after such growth.

Archived 10th Mar 2015, 15:38

I don't know, to me it says the school seems to be run more like a corporation than a school. Good management can and should have factored in how such rapid expansion should affect the students (and if not, that SHOULD be their first priority).

I'm not saying this is a bad school. I do hear wonderful things about the faculty and facilities. And I understand that the demand for schools is increasing, and some schools are expanding to meet the demand. I am just saying, the school (and GEMS in general) should maybe realize "slow and steady wins the race", even if it is a cliche.

Archived 10th Mar 2015, 16:27

Personally I would agree with that Ahmed.

Archived 11th Aug 2014, 16:33

I have four children at GEMS AA. We are pleased with the education they received last year as well as the rigor! Yes, we will miss the staff and administrators that we respected (danx2). However, as an international educator, I know that teachers fulfill contracts and need to decide for their families the next best move. We are encouraged by meeting the new administrators and look forward to another academic year at GEMS AA....

Archived 10th Nov 2013, 20:26

I have had my children at GAA for three years, and have observed the quality decrease each year. This year, my son in middle school has had his schedule changed at least five times, has had teachers that barely speak English, and has had teachers send home requests for students to bring supplies from home. My child's teacher in the elementary school reports that she is lacking essential materials for her class. The root problem at GEMS is that the corporation controls the local budget, and has not allocated sufficient funds for materials and qualified teachers.

Archived 1st Dec 2014, 10:33

My opinion: Move your kids to ACS-AD. It is a much better school.

Archived 11th Nov 2013, 22:06

So why don't you move your kids? Why jeopardize your children's quality of education? Why nothing has been done till tody?

Archived 29th Jun 2013, 13:32

GEMS is only concerned with image. Necessary services are subcontracted. GEMS profits from these services, but takes no responsibility for the poor service provided by these monopolies (uniforms, school lunches, after school activities). The community is good in spite of the corporation, not because of it. Don't be fooled by the beautiful building. We have loved the teachers but the good ones leave as quickly as possible. The poor quality, expensive, restrictive uniforms, change every year. Despite charging the highest tuition of any school in the area you will be continually asked for money for field trips, fundraisers for the class activities etc. High achieving children are asked to complete meaningless busy work so that they don't get too far ahead of their peers.

Archived 18th Sep 2013, 10:20

"High achieving children are asked to complete meaningless busy work so that they don’t get too far ahead of their peers."

What do you mean?

I came to know there are different levels in many of the subjects!

Why do good faculty leave Gems?

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