United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Dubai Sports City / GEMS United School Sports City

GEMS United School Sports City Q & A

GEMS United School is the newest incarnation of Bradenton Prep Academy, a US curriculum K-12 school (KG1 to Grade 12) located in Sports City, Dubai that currently serves 660 students.The school has 86 full-time teachers, not including the Principal and a senior leadership team. The 2017/2018 KHDA report has the school ranked as Good for the second time.
Parents' Rating
help
3.8 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
At a glance
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Good
Curricula taught
Availability 2019/20
fiber_manual_record All grades
Availability 2020/21
not_interested No
Annual fee average
AED 67,000
Annual fees
AED 32,421 - 79,258
Price band help
Premium
Status
Open
Opening year
2009
School year
Sep to Jun
Principal
Katharine Vavpetic
Owner
GEMS Education
Main teacher nationality
US Citizen
Main student nationality
US Citizen
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LET'S GO

Welcome to the GEMS United School Sports City 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?

At GEMS United School students and parents alike comment on how they enjoy the small community feel of our school and the overall genuine kindness of students, faculty and parents. The environment for students to engage in learning is positive and students know our faculty and administration are available to help and assist them on their educational journey.

How many nationalities are represented in your school?

Over 65 nationalities present at GEMS US.

Are there high proportions of a particular nationality?

We are a multicultural American International school with the largest percentage of students coming from North America followed by Egypt, Korea and Denmark.

What is the teacher: student ratio in your school?

Our KHDA approved ratios are as follows: 2:25 in KG with a teacher and teaching Assistant; 2:27 in grades 1-5 and 1:27 in grades 6-12. However, many of our classrooms have on average 20-24 students per class.

Does your school have a waiting list?

Yes. We have a waiting list. Once a particular grade is full, a student can be put on the waiting list and will be contacted by our Registrar when an opening becomes available. Our Admissions team can be reached at 04-818-3600 or you may email the Registrar at Registrar_gus@gemsedu.com

Describe your school's approach to education and teaching?

At GEMS United School, we are ALL curious learners inspired to reach beyond. Classrooms aren’t limited by four walls. In hallways on flexible seating, snuggled into a reading nook, in the shade of palm trees on outdoor benches and tables, on couches in dedicated “Happiness Corners,” in the Senior Lounge, students learn, collaborate, and explore with each other and with their teachers. We work hard here, but we also play hard. From Music Mondays to Tinker Days before school, joy and laughter are fundamental to our daily experience. We value wonder, questioning, trying and failing, advocating and serving our community and beyond. Everyone belongs here and is welcome here, from the moment they hear “Good morning!” from Senior Leadership at the front doors of each building every morning. We strive to embody in thought, word, and deed courage, inquiry, kindness, and respect. From daily Morning Meeting in grades PK-5 to daily Advisory in grades 6-12, small groups of students connect meaningfully with adults. Teachers and students know each other well which fosters mutual respect, a space in which courage and risk-taking are encouraged and rewarded, and everyone benefits from regular random acts of kindness.

Our pilot program, Personalized Learning at GEMS US (PLUS), allows students to direct their own learning and become confident self-advocates. Students have access to and understand their own data. They work with teachers to design personalized learning opportunities, alone or with peers, which fill in gaps and add to their learning. Every child matters here. Every child belongs here.

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

Students from Pre-KG through grade 12 partake in Physical Education classes a minimum of two times per week. We also encourage students to get involved in sports teams and activities on campus. We offer soccer, swimming, golf, and basketball for elementary students and add track and track and field, volleyball, badminton and tennis as additional offerings for secondary students. In addition, students can join after school non-team based physical activities such as kickball, soccer, running, parkour, dance and open-gym basketball.

How does your school promote healthy lifestyles?

At GEMS US, we understand that an active lifestyle leads to a healthier life which is why our students have a minimum of two PE lessons week and in Elementary there are two recesses daily for students to play, climb, run, jump and maintain an active lifestyle. Teachers also incorporate discussions of healthy eating and nutrition throughout the curriculum and annually, we have a visit from the dentist to examine students and provide a seminar about healthy eating and how what we eat effects the overall health and our teeth.

In our student handbooks there is specific guidance on unhealthy items not allowed in the school. For instance, chewing gum and carbonated drinks are not allowed on campus. For the well-being of all students, we do not allow sweets or food items into the school on birthdays. In place of snacks, students may donate an item to the class to be enjoyed by others (i.e., a game, deck of cards, favorite book, special pencils, etc.) Student nutrition and positive academic/social success are very closely linked.

How do you promote healthy eating?

Teachers reinforce healthy eating habits with students in the classroom as well as at lunch time while they are monitoring students. Our Physical Education department has a comprehensive curriculum including health, wellness and nutrition for students in grades 6-10 and we offer Holistic Wellness to students in Grades 10-12. Our counselors and our school nurses also provide enrichment to students about making healthy choices and how to maintain good health.

Does the school have cafeteria facilities for the students?

Yes. We offer hot lunch canteen services through Slices for all students at GEMS US. Students can choose from a variety of healthy options. Elementary students have their lunches delivered directly to the students while older students in grades 5-12 can visit the canteen, make their own selections and pay with cash or use their ID card for a cashless option. Slices works closely with their nutritionist in preparing healthy menus for our students.

If yes, does it serve hot food?

Yes. Slices offers a variety of healthy selections including meat and vegetarian options as well as a variety of freshly made salads, sandwiches and take away options for students.

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

12-22dhs depending on whether they choose a full meal including a main, soup, salad, fruit, dessert and drink or if they choose to stick with the main course which includes a protein, vegetable and carbohydrate.

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

For students in Pre-KG the school day is 8:30am-12:30pm with a free stay-and-play until 1:30pm. KG1 students begin at 8:30am and finish at 2:30pm with a free stay-and-play until 3:30pm and KG2 - Grade 12 are in session from 8:30-3:30pm Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday while on Tuesdays we have early release for all students at 1:30pm (with the exception of Pre-KG) for weekly staff professional development.

Is there a school uniform?

http://www.gemsunitedschool.com/for-parents/school-uniforms/

Please advise on your discipline policy?

http://www.gemsunitedschool.com/for-parents/student-parent-handbooks/

How do you feedback progress and attainment to students and parents?

We utilize Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing to assess student attainment and gauge progress toward intended learning outcomes. Students take the MAP test three times per year to assess progress throughout the year and guide classroom instruction. They talk with teachers about their scores and projected targets. Parents also receive the results to understand how their child is progressing academically. In addition, our faculty is available to meet with parents and provide feedback outside of the regularly scheduled Parent Teacher Conferences.

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

In Elementary, parents receive student report cards quarterly and Secondary students (grades 6-12) receive two progress reports and two report cards yearly. Parent Teacher Conferences are held twice a year.

What is your medium of instruction?

English

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

Yes. Students are divided into sections based upon whether they are native or non-native speakers for Arabic instruction and scaffolding takes place by grade level to help increase student progress and attainment in Arabic.

Which other languages are taught?

Arabic, Spanish and French are offered as additional languages. We require 3 years of a secondary language, in addition to Arabic, in order to graduate with a U.S. High School Diploma.

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

GEMS US offers an ELL (English Language Learners) program for grades 1-12. Our program includes small group instruction and classroom push-in, where necessary. The ELL program uses resources made by Cambridge University which help older students prepare for the IELTS (made by Cambridge) and other international language fluency tests like the TOEFL that are necessary for post-secondary education. Our resources also support younger students with the necessary vocabulary development for grade level success.

The BPA ELL program uses the internationally recognized WIDA language test which helps level students so that classroom teachers can accommodate and modify effectively. The WIDA also allows the ELL department to track student progress in language acquisition. We strive to offer targeted and personalize language instruction based on individual student needs.

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

Yes. Islamic Studies is taught in Arabic for native speakers and English for non-native speaking students in all grades.

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

Yes.

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

Students take several assessments throughout the year. Students in grades 1-11 take Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) to assess progress and attainment in English, Math and Science. This information is used to evaluate instruction and also helps us measure how our school is performing among other International American schools as well as schools in the United States.

We also conduct the Cognitive Abilities Test (CAT4) for students in grades 4, 6, 8 and 10 to identify students’ strengths, weaknesses and learning preferences which assists in us in providing personalized learning.

Students in grade 10 take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test). This preliminary test provides students with a baseline for preparing for the SAT, which is a test used by American Universities to evaluate academic achievement in students seeking college admission.

Students also take the TIMMS, PIRLS, ISA, and PISA tests in various years, depending on when the tests are offered.

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

Homework is meant both to reinforce and enrich classroom learning. Assignments may be extensions of material explained in class. They may also include additional practice or research. The amount of time children spend on homework will often vary due to their attention or skill level. The homework guidelines followed in elementary from KG2- 5th grade are 10 minutes/per grade level, four times per week.

For elementary students, 20-30 minutes of daily reading, aloud or to oneself, as practice outside of school is most critical and supported by research to have the greatest impact on student achievement. We highly recommend reading to and with your child to enhance the reading experience and support comprehension/understanding.

For secondary students, homework involves both individual and group work. Students also engage in project based activities both inside and outside of the classroom to promote both independent and cooperative learning. Projects may carry over weekends and extended periods. Students enrolled in Advanced Placement classes will have an increased homework load as needed to prepare for the AP exams.

How do you support gifted, able and talented students?

At GEMS US we support gifted, able and talented students through differentiation within the classroom. We also have an after school program, by invitation only, to support and challenge these students outside of the classroom.

What percentage of your sixth form that take exams at 18 go to university, and where, in general, do they go?

All students graduate successfully from GEMS US with a US High School Diploma and 90% matriculate to higher education around the world. The largest percentage of students go to the United States, Canada and the UK.

Do you have a learning support team in your school?

GEMS US currently has a learning support team to address a variety of learning needs. Our team is made up of 3 SEN teachers, 2 ELL teachers, 2 interventionists and 1 teaching assistant.

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?

GEMS US is well staffed and resourced to offer learning support to those children with mild to moderate learning needs. Our admissions policy does not have set guidelines for students with learning needs as we treat each admissions case on an individual basis.

Does your school have particular expertise in dealing with a specific learning need such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, aspergers syndrome and so forth?

All of our learning support teachers have experience and qualifications in a variety of areas which allows us to work with a variety of learning needs.

Does your school have an educational psychologist or access to one to assess and support those youngsters with more challenging learning and emotional needs?

GEMS US currently has a psychologist who comes to the school once per week to support and assess are students.

Do you have a parents’ group supporting the school?

Yes. The GEMS United School Parents Association is top notch. They host an array of events on campus including Trunk or Treat, Thanksgiving Lunch, Winter Bazaar, International Day and many more activities including teachers’ luncheons, bake sales, popcorn Tuesdays and all school pizza day celebration. Additionally, they have a social committee who organizes cultural trips for parents. Examples include: the Blue Souq in Sharjah, The Sheikh Mohammad Cultural Centre for Understanding as well as the Louvre and the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. All of these events are wonderful opportunities for students and parents to get involved and foster the close-knit community atmosphere our school offers.

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

We hold monthly coffee mornings for parents to have an opportunity to speak with the Senior Leadership in conjunction with a workshop on topics pertinent to child development, parenting and student achievement.

Parents are also invited to attend community sharing assemblies in Elementary which occur bi-weekly. In the KG program there is a “Muffins with Moms” and “Donuts with Dads” program where parents are invited into the classroom to engage in learning with their child. For older Elementary students and High school students, parents are invited to share in their child's learning progress for special events such as writing celebrations, poetry events, music concerts, art exhibitions and end of year learning celebrations.

We also conduct annual curriculum evenings for both our Elementary and Secondary programs. In Secondary, parents are invited to participate as students using their child’s schedule to visit each teacher and learn more about each of their child’s subjects. Parents are also invited to sports day events, bi-annual musical concerts, plays and sporting events held on campus.

Is there an opportunity for parental representation on your school Board of Governors?

GEMS US has a Local Advisory Board consisting of volunteer parents, Senior Principals, and other school advisors. We also have an active Parents Association elected by parents and Parent Association Board of Officers with annual elections every spring. GEMS Education has a corporate Governing Board and Executive Officers that govern all GEMS schools under the guidance of KHDA.

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

In the beginning of the year, we offer an orientation for new students and parents as an opportunity to learn more about the school, expectations and to help familiarize them with their surroundings as well as the staff and faculty on campus. As new families join GEMS US throughout the year, we offer this service in a more personalized way taking them on a tour, introducing them to faculty and key support staff and help them become familiar with all aspects of GEMS US.

We have also started a Student Ambassadors program to support new students and their families as they are welcomed into our school. They also serve as a resource for support as they transition into their new environment. Our Ambassadors conduct student tours, assist at school-wide events and are also a resource for new students.

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Comments
1 Archived Comment
RB
Archived 1st Dec 2015, 13:15

I believe classes are too big even for KG and the teachers have no time to do anything besides herd kids and that the teachers don't have good interaction with the parents.

I had two children here. I don't know if the teachers are overwhelmed by the number of kids in their classes but this is, in my opinion, American education at its worst.

- Comment edited, WSA

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