United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Al Barsha / GEMS Dubai American Academy

GEMS Dubai American Academy Q & A

GEMS Dubai American Academy, part of the GEMS school group, is a US curriculum school offering a US High School Diploma and, increasingly, the option of the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme. It is the only US curriculum school to have achieved the highest inspection rating of Outstanding from the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau, now for eight years in a row.
Parents' Rating
2.2 out of 5 based on 61 reviews
At a glance
School type
School phase
All through
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
fiber_manual_record All grades
Availability 2020/21
fiber_manual_record All grades
Annual fee average
AED 82,500
Annual fees
AED 61,190 - 86,260
Price band help
Opening year
School year
Sep to Jul
Teacher turnover help
Tammy Murphy
GEMS Education
Main teacher nationality
US Citizen
Main student nationality
US Citizen
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Welcome to the GEMS Dubai 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?

GEMS Dubai American Academy (DAA) is GEMS Education's flagship American school. Offering both an enriched American Curriculum and the International Baccalaureate Diploma to students from around the world, DAA prepares its students for success in the world's most prestigious universities and colleges.

DAA is the only American curriculum school in Dubai to receive the KHDA rating of Outstanding, and has received this rating since 2011. Read the most current KHDA report here.

Recently celebrating its 20th anniversary, DAA is one of the most sought after American schools in Dubai. The school's outstanding heritage is coupled with its future-fluent program which embeds creative design, edge robotics and digital fluencies at its core. Through teaching, learning and innovation, students develop a mastery of multiple literacies and fluencies to support genuine world-class learning, personal growth and future readiness. DAA offers a diverse range of extra-curricular, athletic, and leadership opportunities to enrich the holistic development of each student.

Our staff teaches and inspires excellence in academics and life-long learning skills by continually reviewing and building an enriched American curriculum, promoting student achievement, encouraging integrity and nurturing a desire to learn.

At GEMS Dubai American Academy, we aim to be good citizens who are:

Respectful and inclusive, celebrating diversity
Aspirational and inspirational in pursuit of excellence
Committed to the well-being of people and of the environment
Open-minded, creative, resilient and reflective
Passionate and determined in embracing and driving positive change
Ethical in our actions and accountable for them

How many nationalities are represented in your school?


Are there high proportions of a particular nationality?

yes - North American

What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?


Does your school have a waiting list?

We are accepting applications for K1 through grade 12.

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

Participation in PE and swimming is mandatory through Grade 10 and elective in Grades 11 and 12. DAA is a member of the MESAC and ECC Sports and Activities leagues. The large majority of students participate in some form of athletics during their years at DAA. DAA has over fifty sports teams for students from Upper Elementary through High School.

How does your school promote healthy lifestyles?

DAA promotes healthy lifestyles through an integrated curriculum which, from the Early Years on, emphasizes the importance of exercise, healthy eating, and overall wellness. Counselors and PE teachers provide lessons in health and wellness to Elementary students. In the Middle and HIgh schools, advisors and counselors work together to ensure students learn about and practice healthy lifestyle choices.

How do you promote healthy eating?

DAA promotes healthy eating both through the curriculum and through provision of healthy foods in the cafeteria. DAA has an on-site hot and cold lunch program which is overseen by a nutritionist. Rules regarding the kinds of snacks that can be brought to school are in place to encourage healthy eating, particularly in the formative years of Elementary School.

Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students?

Yes, there are two cafeterias, a seniors' snack lounge and a Parent's cafe.

If yes, does it serve hot food?


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

Approximately 15Dhs - 25Dhs

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

All students begin class at 7:40am.
KG1-G5 - dismissal at 2:45pm
G.6-12 - dismissal at 2:55pm.
There is a staggered early dismissal every Tuesday to allow for Professional Development of faculty. ES dismissed at 1:40 and MS/HS dismissed at 1:50pm every Tuesday.

Is there a school uniform?

Yes, our students are required to wear the school uniform which can be purchased from Threads. More information is available on our website.

Please advise on your discipline policy?

www.gemsaa-dubai.com. Handbooks, including disciplinary policies, are available via our school website.

What is your medium of instruction?

The language of instruction is English.

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

DAA offers both first and second-language instruction in Arabic, as per the laws of the Ministry of Education of the UAE.

Which other languages are taught?

French and Spanish

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

Yes we do

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

There is Islamic A and B. Islamic A is taught in arabic and Islamic B is taught in english.

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


If external examinations and assessments are part of your curriculum, which ones do you offer?

PSAT and SAT for high school students wishing to take the exams as part of university preparation, IB Exams for certificate and diploma students. MAP and CAT4 testing for selected grade levels.

Do you develop independent learning through homework and, if so, what are your recommendations regarding this, particularly time spent on homework?

Homework practices at DAA are based in current research. The time spent on homework is determined by age and stage for children’s development. In high school, the challenging nature of the program does require a significant amount of daily homework to support independent learning.

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?

Differentiation for all students allows for extension activities for those most able. DAA teachers strive to challenge all students appropriately.
Co-curricular program in athletics, fine arts, languages, music, drama, and leadership provide great opportunities for enrichment for all students, regardless of academic level.

Do you have a learning support team in your school?

yes we do

Not all schools are staffed or resourced to offer learning support to those children with either moderate or significant learning needs. To what level can you offer support for those with learning differences?

DAA offers learning support to students in all years who, with support, can be successful within DAA’s curriculum. Students are monitored closely by Learning Support teachers and counselors. DAA provides individualized learning plans for those who provide valid educational testing indicating that a student would benefit from learning support.
DAA students have a wide range of learning needs. Teachers work with specialists, counselors, and parents to ensure that each child’s academic needs are met. We do expect parents to work with us in a positive fashion and to disclose learning issues at the time of admission, as per Ministry of Education by-laws.

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?

Yes we do. Our parent group is called DAA Parent Association (DAAPA).

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

yes there are

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

Yes, we do. We offer new family orientation sessions.
Parents of newly enrolled students are welcomed with a series of parent coffees sponsored both by the school and by DAAPA. During the opening months of the school year, many events are planned to include and educate parents about DAA. School and Parent led clubs such as parent book club and master swimming club for parents along with yoga sessions on campus are a few examples of how we integrate parents into our community.

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