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  • 1. AL YASMINA ABU DHABI Connect issue 1SCHOOL Bloom 2012/2013 Grow Learn Nurture Play THE SECONDARY PARTNERSHIP AL YASMINA SCHOOL STRIVES TO BE AN OUTSTANDING INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY SCHOOL, MAXIMISING THE LEARNING POTENTIAL OF ALL
  • 2. WELCOMEWelcome to the first issue of The Secondary It also gives Al Yasmina School the chance to celebratePARTNERSHIP for the 2012/2013 academic year. The progress and achievement and provide more in depthSecondary PARTnership is the official newsletter of Al information to parents on a wide variety of subjects.Yasminas secondary school. It is published eight times ayear. The Secondary PARTNERSHIP keeps you up-to-date We welcome your feedback.with student activities across the secondary department. communications@alyasmina.sch.aeCONTENTSWelcome from the Secondary Principal, Mr Gale 3OUTSTANDING GCSE RESULTS FOR AL YASMINA STUDENTS 4THE OLDEST AND THE YOUNGEST STUDENTS 6FOCUS ON ENGLISH 7BOOKWORMS EAGER FOR READING PROGRAMME TO BEGIN 9ACHIEVEMENT CENTRE OFFERS SUPPORT FOR ALL SECONDARY STUDENTS 10WHO DO YOU CALL? 10FOCUS ON SPANISH 11WORLD CHALLENGE 12MAGAZINE INTERNSHIP 14POST-16 TEAM BUILDING AT AL FORSAN 15CANTEEN HITS THE MARK WITh NEW MENU 16BUSY YEAR AHEAD FOR FOY 17students of the month 17new al yasmina sports website 18The Secondary PARTNERSHIPTopics, trends, updates, views and news from the Al Yasmina Secondary DepartmentPictured on the cover: Mila Jabsheh and Reece Hillier 2
  • 3. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013FROM THE SECONDARY PRINCIPALAND HEAD OF SCHOOL, MR GALEThe first issue of the Secondary PARTnership for the yearintroduces the youngest and oldest students at Al Yasmina, MilaJabsheh and Reece Hillier. They are pictured walking througha doorway in the school, the youngest student taking the firststeps in her educational journey and the older student lookingahead towards a pathway to higher education and ultimately arewarding career.It’s a symbolic image; walking through the doorway signifies afresh start, entering unknown territory and new opportunities.The door represents hope, new prospects, the start of a newand exciting journey. For those who pause on the threshold, it’san opportunity to look back and reflect before taking that giantstep forward. Our Year 13 students will be doing exactly that innine months’ time, stopping to look over their shoulders beforeclosing the door on their secondary school education. Many ofthese young adults were amongst the group of 904 foundationstudents who joined the school when it opened its doors inSeptember 2008. A lot has changed since then - and so have We opened our doors after the summer break with a largethey. cohort of new teachers and a new management structure. Instead of the traditional pyramid, we have introduced a flatterStudent numbers at Yasmina have increased rapidly each year, structure and have broken key areas of responsibility into three,increasing to 1149 in 2009 and jumping to 1419 the following linked to the school’s development plan priority.year. In 2011, the roll peaked at 1445. As we go to print, the1563rd student has joined the school. A total of 1009 students • curriculum data and assessmentare in the primary school and there are 554 secondary students. • care, guidance and support of students, andAlthough the school has always been able to accommodate a • teaching, learning and professional development of staff.full contingent of students, for the first time we are operating These areas are managed by three Assistant Head Teachers.at near capacity with classes from FS1 through to Year 13. We Their appointments enable us to hone in on key areas andhave added another FS1 class, another two science labs, and effectively manage them. The establishment of an Achievementoccupied all the teaching spaces on the second floor. Centre (see article, page 10) adds another exciting dimension to the school. As always, there is a lot going on in our schoolWe are truly an international community school, with students community. I urge you to check our website regularly. Anfrom 71 different countries. Most are from the UK, with the exciting development is the addition of designated website fornext biggest group from the UAE and then Australia. Forty information on sporting fixtures and results. You’ll find the linksix per cent are girls, 54 per cent are boys. We have sole on the homepage of the school’s website and more informationrepresentatives from Finland, El Salvador, Moldova, Mexico, on page 18.Bangladesh, Romania, Iran and Tunisia. Having a full contingentof students makes me think about how we can prepare students Finally, thanks to everyone of you for the patience you havelike Mila, who will retire in around 2077, for the working world. displayed over the construction works taking place in ourHow can we predict what the future will be like for Mila and her school carpark. It has been an immensely frustrating exercisefellow classmates? Many of the jobs they will do haven’t been for everybody. But now, with the end in sight, we will have ainvented yet. It is up to us to give them the skills they will need carpark with speed bumps, signs and flashing lights. But it willto become successful, global citizens and to ensure they have only ever be as safe as the motorists who drive in it. Please,a lifelong love of learning and that they are happy, confident consider others when you enter the carpark. Student safety isachievers. our priority. There are many doors to be opened at Al Yasmina School with"There are many doors to be opened a world of opportunities behind each one. I urge everyone ofat Al Yasmina School with a world of our students to open the door, look inside and embrace theopportunities behind each one." challenges awaiting them inside. Welcome back. Let’s make this year the best ever. 3
  • 4. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013 OUTSTANDING GCSE RESULTS FOR AL YASMINA STUDENTS Al Yasmina School has recorded exceptional GCSE results, with the majority of students convincingly surpassing their UK counterparts, beating their predicted grades and achieving an impressive rate of progress in core subjects. The results also came out tops when compared to other established British curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi. Assistant Head Teacher of Curriculum, Data and Assessment, Mr Commons, describes the results as “outstanding. The results are first and foremost due to the hard work of the students themselves. This is coupled with high quality teaching and effective intervention strategies to support students to stretch themselves further,” he says. “Last, but not least, the success is due to the support from parents in ensuring students are working hard, both at home and in school.” The Bottom Line • 100% of Al Yasmina Students successfully passed five or more GCSE subjects with 98% of this group achieving the expected benchmark of five GCSE subjects with marks between A* - C • 91 % achieved five or more GCSE subjects with marks from A* - C, including Maths and English • 75 % achieved five or more GCSE subjects with marks from A* - B in any subject • 36 % achieved five or more GCSE subjects with marks from A* - A in any subject • 28 % achieved nine or more GCSE subjects, with marks from A* - A in any subject The percentage of students attaining A*-B grades has risen significantly (+11%) from 2011 to 2012 and is significantly above the UK national averages (+30.1%). This is can be directly attributed to well-targeted intervention, modifying assessment and challenging targets. The outstanding attainment of 28% of students who attained 9 or more A*/A grades further underpins the impact of key actions outlined in the school’s secondary improvement plan.COMPARING AL YASMINA RESULTS TO UKNATIONAL AVERAGES UK National statistics Al Yasmina School UK National Al Yasmina School 2011 results 2011 Statistics 2012 results 2012Five A* - G 98.8% 100% Not yet 100% availableAny five A* - C grades 74.8% 98% 98%Five A* - C, incl maths and English 54% 89% 91% (+35%) (+37%)Five A* - B grades 44.9% 64% 75% (19.1%) (30.1%)Five A* - A grades 23.2% 29% 36% (+6.2%) (13.2%)Nine or more A*- A grades 28%Average added value (from CATs 1.3 grades (raw score 1.25 grades (raw scoredata) 4.4 to 5.7) 4.95 to 6.20) 4
  • 5. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013KEY STAGE 3The figures in the chart below show that by the end of Key Stage 3 (Year 9), Al Yasmina students areconsistently outperforming their counterparts in the UK, with marks well above the UK national averagesin the core areas of English, maths and science. This trend is exhibited over a four-year period. English 2008 UK 2009 2010 2011 2012 Published Results (DFES) 4+ 100% 100% 100% 100% 5+ 76% 97% 98% 91% 85% 6+ 38% 38% 62% 46% 58% 7+ 9% 0 28% 4% 12% 8 NA NA NA NA NA Maths 2009 2010 2011 2012 4+ 100% 100% 100% 100% 5+ 79% 91% 100% 100% 100% 6+ 56% 64% 87% 72% 92% 7+ 28% 41% 57% 56% 73% 8 NA 0 16% 24% 23% Science 2009 2010 2011 2012 4+ 100% 100% 100% 100% 5+ 76% 97% 98% 98% 100% 6+ 43% 39% 64% 61% 88% 7+ 14% 0 9% 28% 38% 8 NA NA NA NA NAFrom 2010-12, Al Yasmina’s focus has been on challenging the more able learners and improving thequality of learning for all. The impact of this is reflected in improved standards of attainment in the coresubjects. (2012: Level 6+ 58% in English, 92% in maths, 88% in science of students at the end of KeyStage 3 were at least 3 sub levels higher - which is more than one whole level - than the UK nationalaverages.)YEAR 10 GCSE MODULE RESULTS A* - A A* - B A* - C A* - C GCSE Science Completed GCSE 61% 80% 94% 100% Biology 66% 78% 88% 100% Chemistry 60% 77% 95% 100% Physics 53% 78% 91% 100% History Module 1 47% 68% 85% 100% Geography Module 2 57% 82% 89% 100% Maths Module 1 47% 80% 89% 100% Business Studies Module 1 39% 89% 100% 100%AS Results: Thirteen courses were studied at AS level. There was a 100% pass rate in 12 of the subjectswith an average of 56% A*-C grades. 5
  • 6. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013THE OLDEST AND THEYOUNGESTLittle Mila Jabsheh observed Year 13 student Reece Hilliercarefully, looking at him with enormous eyes as he bent down toask her name. She was too shy to answer, but watched him withinterest as our photographer started taking snaps of the FS1 andYear 13 students, who represent the oldest and youngest studentsat Al Yasmina School. Reece, who was born on 19 September, is19-years-old, while Mila, who has just turned three, celebratedher birthday the day before. A little overwhelmed by all theattention, Mila remained silent but curious, and was happy togive Reece a high five, then a low five, before returning to her FS1classroom. OLDEST AND THE YOUNGEST: Mila Jabsheh and Reece HillierNEW STAFFOFF TO A GREAT START: New teachers who joined Al Yasmina School this term are: standing, from left: Mr Wood (Curriculum TeamLeader, Design and Technology), Mr McNaught (Science teacher), Mr Harwood (Science teacher), Mrs Eaves (ICT teacher), Mr Donald(Curriculum Team Leader, Science).Sitting , from left: Mr Atkinson (Maths teacher), Miss Natschowny (History teacher), Ms Crighton (Teacher of Learning Support),Mrs Gale (Examination Officer), Miss Greenwood (DT Teacher), Miss Harrison (English teacher), Mrs Cuven (Modern ForeignLanguages teacher), Mrs Dunn (ICT/Business teacher), Mrs Wood (History teacher), Mrs Alley (Assistant Head Teacher- Learning andTeaching/Continuing Professional Development), Mrs Hodgson (Subject Leader, History)Not pictured: (Mr Smith – Director of Sport), Mr Dube (Curriculum Teacher Leader, ICT & Business Enterprises), Mrs Hewitt(Psychology teacher), Mr Davies (Curriculum Team Leader, Modern Foreign Languages), Mrs Prestwood (Learning Support Assistant),Mrs Jeannie Munro (Learning Support Assistant). 6
  • 7. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013 TOP GCSE ENGLISH RESULTS FOR AL YASMINA STUDENT With an A* for English language and an A for English literature, Year 12 student Priyanka Iyer was one of the cohort of top attainers in Al Yasminas GCSE English results. Priyanka says she was pleasantly surprised by the A* as she felt her strength was more in English literature. "I enjoyed English literature because I enjoy reading books and analysing text and I also enjoy creative writing," she says. The class studied the John Steinbeck novel "Of Mice and Men" and the play "View from a Bridge" by Arthur Miller, analysing the characters and themes. Priyanka is heading for a career in medicine so has opted for physics over English literature this year but says she is leaving English behind with some regret. "Its definitely something I enjoy." "I enjoyed English literature because I enjoy reading books and analysing text and I also enjoy creative writing."TOP MARK: Priyanka Iyer scored an A* in English language and an A for Englishliterature IGCSE ENGLISH LANGUAGE RESULTS IGCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE RESULTS 98% of learners achieved A* - C 91% of learners achieved A* - C 84% of learners achieved A* - B 82% of learners achieved A* - B 37% of learners achieved A* - A 39% of learners achieved A* - AOUTSTANDINGPROGRESS INENGLISH FOR A LEVELSTUDENTReece Hillier thought his eyes were deceiving him when he openedhis AS exam results. His predicted grade for English was a D, andthe Year 13 student was fully expecting to see his a mark aroundthat level on his exam results. But instead, a grade B leapt out athim. "Deep down I thought I would do better than what Id beenpredicted to do," he says. "I put in the hours, I did the work - Ienjoy my subjects. But when I opened that envelope, I thoughtwhat?"Reece attributes his success to his teachers, who he saidconstantly encouraged him, urging him to keep studying andproviding ongoing assistance. "They worked with me constantly. Istudied practice essays and improved my writing style." Despitehis preparation, Reece says he was shaking before I went intothe exam. Now, with a B under his belt, he has changed his A2options. "I was going to drop English and take physics. I got a goodgrade, it would be a shame to waste it."He has chosen the two books he will study for the year - AHandmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood, and George Orwells 1984."I put in the hours, I did the work - I enjoymy subjects. But when I opened thatenvelope, I thought what?" IMPRESSIVE PROGRESS: Reece Hillier received a B for his English exams 7
  • 8. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013BOYS ALLOWED: English literature for Shahmir KhanA LEVEL ENGLISH She says Al Yasmina’s English teachers make a concerted effort to choose text that will appeal to boys and to adopt aLITERATURE CHOICE FOR style of teaching that will appeal to male students.FUTURE LAW STUDENT Deciding what novels to study during Year 12 is a consultative process. “In Year 12 we look at Gothic literature so we get the students’ input, give them the choices of the novels that weYear 12 student Shahmir Khan believes English literature will help can study and let them go away and do some research and tellhim reach his future career goal of becoming a lawyer. Shahmir us which ones they would like to learn.says he really enjoyed English in Year 11 and received an A*for the subject in his GCSE exam. “I have decided to do English “We study Shakespeare and we teach it in quite an interactiveliterature because I want to study law in the future and it’s about way, so they are not just sitting behind a desk. We alsohaving a broad range of subjects, and I thought English would fit look for theatre productions so they can experience a liveinto that category. performance.” Ms Banks says in Year 13 students are able to choose the two novels they would like to study and they“It also appeals because at A level it’s about opinion and how you complete a portfolio of coursework.identify with the text and how you can relate to it. That’s what youwrite about in the exam - it’s really personal. It’s not something FOSTERING A LOVE FORlike maths, which is black and white, there is one right answerand the rest is wrong. You are given a lot more freedom of thought READINGand that appeals. Like history, it is open to interpretation, so Ithought history and English would go well together.”Shahmir will study two pieces of prose - Pride and Prejudice, A peer mentor scheme aimed at turning Year 7 boys intoby Jane Austen and The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins enthusiastic readers will be launched after half-term break.Gilman and two plays by Shakespeare, Othello and King Lear. The scheme will involve pairing up male students in Years 11-Shamir and his fellow English literature classmates will be taught 13 who love reading with Year 7 boys to read with them, talkby two teachers, Ms Magee and Ms Stephenson, and will have six to them about books, foster a love of reading and encourageperiods of English a week. them not to give up reading. Curriculum Team Leader for English, Ms Banks, says Year 7 is a pivotal year for boys, with many abandoning their books. “They often see reading as boring and would rather play on computer games than pick upA LEVEL ENGLISH a book. But when they do start reading, they enjoy it.”LITERATURE A GREAT Boys often put down their books when they became independent readers and no longer had the routine of readingCHOICE FOR BOYS with their parents. There is considerable evidence which showed that non readers are often weak in English and a lot of reluctant readers are boys, Ms Banks says. Many Year 7Al Yasmina’s English teachers want to encourage more boys to parents have approached the school, saying that their sonstake English literature for A levels. Curriculum Team Leader for were good readers at primary school but aren’t any more, andEnglish, Ms Banks says English is optional at Year 12 and 13 and asking what they could do to encourage them to read again.is seen by many boys as “a girls’ subject.” The peer reading partners will join the Year 7 boys once a week, during morning break in the secondary library.“I would like to convince boys to reconsider by saying that it isan academic subject and it is very well respected by universities “The Year 7 boys will look up to the older students and if theworldwide,” Ms Banks says. “It develops communication skills younger boys see them as enjoying reading and benefittingand is a subject that will definitely open doors.” from it, doing well at school then hopefully it will encourage them to read too,” Ms Banks says. 8
  • 9. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013READ TO SUCCEEDAround 400 secondary students crowded into Al Yasmina’s atrium last week - andyou could have heard a pin drop. The only sound was the rustling of pages beingturned as the students, from Years 7-9 settled into the atrium, quietly absorbedin their books. The reading event was staged by the secondary school’s EnglishDepartment to introduce its new Accelerated Reader Programme, which is aimedat improving the reading abilities of students and promoting a lifelong love ofreading. Year 7 students are the first to take part in the scheme, which will berolled out to other secondary Year groups next year.Assistant Curriculum Leader, Miss Walsh says Accelerated Reader is a trackingand monitoring tool used to encourage students to read and is based on students’individual ability. They are tested on their basic language and literacy skills andthe results are used to put together a range of books for them to choose from.After finishing each book, students take part in a quiz to test their comprehensionlevel. Points are awarded to students each time they win a quiz and these pointsare exchanged for prizes. Miss Walsh says the Accelerated Reader Programme isresearch-based and is the most successful reading product of all time. RELAXING WITH A BOOK: Key Stage 3 students kick off the Accelerated Reading Programme with a mass reading sessionThere are three main advantages to the programme:• it motivates students to practice their reading on a regular basis at a level showed to increase their reading proficiency• teachers are able to personalise book choice for each student’s needs and adequately monitor their reading progress• students set goals and these are reinforced through immediate feedback and incentives, which encourages them to become responsible for their own achievement.“Everybody knows that reading is important; it transports students to wondrous realms of limitless possibilities and determinessuccess, not only in the classroom, but in life,” Miss Walsh says. “This programme will foster a love of reading and an understandingby students that if they read, they will succeed.”http://www.renlearn.com/ar/BOOKWORMS EAGER FOR READING PROGRAMMETO BEGINNatasha Callow, Kayan Khraisheh, Matthew Pretorius and Miles Natasha says she loves reading. “I’ve read the Percy JacksonWright can’t wait for the Accelerated Reading Programme to get series about five times, I’ve read the Young Bond books andunderway. The Year 7 students are all avid readers, keen to talk I’ve just finished Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series.” Thereabout their favourite books - Percy Jackson, The Hunger Games was some debate about Harry Potter - a definite yes fromand the Twilight series. They all read for pleasure and Miles Natasha, but Kayan wasn’t as big a fan. Alex Rider didn’t ratesays how much he reads depends on how thick the book is. He as highly with the girls either - too boyish, they say. But theyjust polished one off over the weekend “and that was a thick all unanimous in their support for the Accelerated Readerone, but I read it in a day.” The boys both describe reading as a Programme. “I think the programme is a good idea as ithobby and something they love to do. rewards you if you do well in your reading and if you don’t like reading it might get you into it a little more,” Natasha says. 9
  • 10. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013ACHIEVEMENT CENTRE The team works with the school’s Able, Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Ms Magee, to make sure that provision is there forOFFERS SUPPORT FOR ALL more able learners and they are identified, are being challenged and have an enrichment opportunity to explore their areaSECONDARY STUDENTS of strength, whether it is English, DT, Science or across the curriculum, Ms Crighton says.ACROSS THE ABILITY “This could be changing the task they do in the lessons,RANGE differentiating the curriculum, posing more challenging questions or by providing alternative pathways for exploration to ensure their talents are being nurtured.” While the team will provide assistance for students throughout the secondary school, support tends to taper off as students reach Post-16. For Year 12 and 13 support is offered on a more tailored basis. Ms Crighton says she might work with an older student after school or at lunchtime, reviewing work they had completed, proof reading it with the student, making suggestions for improvement and helping with revision, study skills and organisation. “Specific learning difficulties, like dyslexia, present challenges that some students will need to deal with throughout their life, therefore it is essential we encourage these students to develop strategies to overcome these challenges and take ownership of them,” Ms Crighton says. “Our aim is to work with studentHERE TO HELP: Teacher of Learning Support - Achievement Centre, Ms to encourage, inspire and promote independent learning andCrighton (centre) with Learning Support Assistants, Mrs Munro (left) and Mrs thinking skills that will serve them throughout their lives.”Prestwood.Supporting students to reach their potential is the focus of AlYasmina’s new Achievement Centre, which provides assistance WHO DO YOU CALL?for students having difficulty accessing the mainstreamcurriculum and offers extension opportunities for gifted and Need to talk to a secondary staff member, but not sure who totalented learners. approach? Academic queryThe centre is a new initiative and was established this term. Begin by contacting your child’s subject teacher.Teacher of Learning Support, Ms Crighton and two Learning Next step: Talk to your child’s Curriculum Team Leader.Support Assistants, Mrs Prestwood and Mrs Munro, work And finally: If you feel the situation is still unresolved, contactwith students who need support to enhance their learning the Assistant Secondary Head responsible for curriculum, dataand achieve their potential. The Achievement Centre team and assessment, Mr Commons.offers support for students in the classroom, working with thespecialist subject teacher to tailor provision for those who may Pastoral queryneed tasks differentiating further in order to address a specific Begin by contacting your child’s Learning Mentor.need. This can be for a variety of reasons, ranging from a Next step: Talk to your child’s Year Leader. And finally: If you feel the situation is still unresolved, contactspecific learning difficulty through to issues relating to English the Assistant Secondary Head responsible for students, Mrsas a second or additional language. Peacock.The team’s current focus is collecting data, accurately KEY CONTACTSidentifying students’ needs, looking through work samples anddiscussing this information with subject teachers. Ms Crighton Academicsays in secondary education, it is important that the student Assistant Secondary Head - Curriculum, Data and Assessment,stays within the mainstream classroom, with the subject Mr Commons - rcommons@alyasmina.sch.aespecialist. Pastoral Assistant Secondary Head - Students.“For this reason much of the provision is targeted at supporting Mrs Peacock - npeacock@alyasmina.sch.aestudents in class,” she says. “This reduces the need for thestudent to catch up on any missed work and promotes inclusion. ExamsThe team can operate most effectively if they are working Examination Officerwith the subject specialist in monitoring and tracking student Mrs Gale - examinationofficer@alyasmina.sch.aeprogress and also referring any students whose progress iscausing concern. Post-16 Post-16 Learning and Progress Leader“In secondary education it is also vital that any support offered Ms Fenning - nfenning@alyasmina.sch.aeis sensitive to the student’s academic and social needs, For a complete list of Curriculum Team Leaders, Year Leaders,therefore we try to circulate amongst a variety of students while Learning Mentors and subject teachers, see our website.at the same time ensuring that those that need support most Still confused? Don’t let the terminology trip you up. Learningget it without feeling in any way marginalised from their peers.” Mentors were previously known as Tutor Group Leaders, andUnder the direction of the teacher, Achievement Centre staff Curriculum Team Leaders were formerly called Heads ofmay also question some able and talented students, providing Department.an avenue or stimulus for exploration. 10
  • 11. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013SPANISH TAKES A HIGHER PROFILE AT AL YASMINASpanish at Al Yasmina School is advancing in leaps and bounds, with Year8 students entering their second year of lessons and the arrival of two newSpanish speaking teachers. The Curriculum Team Leader for Modern ForeignLanguages, Mr Davies, and languages teachers Mrs Cuven have joined LeadTeacher of Spanish, Mr Rodic, who taught Spanish to the first cohort of Year 7classes last year. Spanish has also been available as an extracurricular activityfor the past two years. The language is compulsory for Year 7 and 8 studentsand, next year, for students in Year 9 as well. Mr Rodic says the SpanishEmbassy has indicated that the number of students taking Spanish at AlYasmina makes it one of the biggest provider of Spanish language lessons in theUAE. Spanish is one of the most commonly taught languages in the UK and it ispredicted by 2030 more than half of Americans will be Spanish speakers.“There are going to be many opportunities for Spanish speakers so it is our goalto get the students speaking it now so by the time they get to a working age theywill be able to take advantage of the many employment opportunities which willbe on offer,” Mr Rodic says. He says because Spanish is phonetic it is relativelyeasy to learn. Many students already have an ear for the language thanks to anunlikely source - MTV. “The kids pick it up quite quickly because there is a lotof Spanish on MTV, so they are used to hearing it,” Mr Rodic says. The studentshave one lesson of Spanish a week and move through the curriculum relatively HOLA: Lead teacher of Spanish, Mr Rodicquickly.Culture is an important part of the curriculum and students learn about Machu Picchu (a 15th century Inca site in Peru) and theNazca lines, also in Peru, along with Latin American folklore. There is plenty of scope for creativity in the lessons. “Students haveproduced videos, created models and one student brought a guitar in and composed a song,” Mr Rodic says. Spanish is taughtinteractively, with many students providing support to other students through the socio-educational website Edmodo which helpsstudents find links and get help with homework. Parent codes to the site are available, enabling parents to help their children withtheir homework. Two other websites - Zondle, which helps students prepare for tests, and Quizlet, which helps with vocabulary, arealso used at school and at home. A number of native speaking students from other Year groups in the secondary school are alsoreceiving Spanish lessons. These students will hopefully complete their GCSE and A level Spanish early.SPANISH ON GCSE LIST FOR STUDENTS Juan Serrano wasn’t sure what to expect when the native Spanish speaker found out it was compulsory for him to take the language from Year 7. “Initially I didn’t think it would be particularly challenging, but I came to the UAE when I was six-years-old, so although I can speak the language, my reading and writing skills are not as strong,” says Juan, who is from Colombia. These skills are now improving rapidly, and Juan is working his way through mock GCSE papers. “The reading and comprehension sheets mean my skills are really improving,” he says. “My parents are really happy that I’m developing this side of the language.” Emirati student Falah Al Rashedi is a big fan of the Spanish classes. His older brothers speak some Spanish and he had developed an ear for the language. He says he likes the accents, the vocabulary and the music of the language and says he finds similarities with the Arabic language in many of the words. Hannah Green says learning Spanish is fun. “There are lots of games, it’s interactive and Mr Rodic makes it fun for us all,” she says. “I can speak enough Spanish now to introduce myself to someone if I met them and have a basic conversation.” Hannah says she also enjoys learning about Spanish culture. All three of the students say they plan to take Spanish for GCSE. SPANISH ENTHUSIASTS: Hannah Green (top) Juan Serrano, (middle) and THE MOST COMMONLY SPOKEN LANGUAGES IN THE WORLD Falah Al Rashedi (FIGURES FROM UNESCO) 1. Mandarin 2. English 3. Spanish 4. Hindi 5. Arabic 11
  • 12. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013WORLD CHALLENGEMiss StephensonThe World Challenge expedition to Uganda in June was an opportunityfor students in Year 12 to experience something more than a holiday toanother country. The programme and itinerary were designed to allowstudents to challenge themselves by camping, cooking for themselvesand finding their way around Uganda for the 16 day trip.The trip was split into three parts: a week at a rural school helping toteach the children and make use of their practical skills with bricklaying,mixing concrete and painting around the school; four days in theRwenzori mountains trekking through mountain villages enjoying thehospitality of the local people and absorbing the culture of the area;two days on safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park appreciating thediversity of the plants and animals of the country.The 11 students spent months preparing for the trip with fundraisingactivities, fitness training and a practice weekend camping in the desert.During the 16 days, students were self-sufficient; having to budget forand buy their own food, find accommodation and transport and camp,cook and clean for themselves. The expedition leaders were simplythere to facilitate the trip, while the students ran their own itinerary.As the school leader, I felt an enormous sense of pride watching thestudents develop skills in an unfamiliar environment. They copedadmirably with all the difficulties of the trip and have returned as moreconfident and able young adults. They were a credit to the school and totheir families.Challengers: Chloe Moss, Nicole Crighton, Jessica Vickery, Emily Prest,Stefan Bennett, Nick Bryant, Rafeh Safdar, Khalifa Saleh, Daniel Brundan, JonAlexander, Liam Troup
  • 13. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013 "This experience has definitely made me appreciate the things I have a lot more." Chloe Moss My experience in Uganda was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I thoroughly enjoyed. The world Challenge Uganda expedition was definitely challenging and it did make me feel completely out of my comfort zone at times. However at the end of the 16 days I felt completely at ease with my surroundings. One of the moments of the expedition I will remember the most is when we arrived at Jjezza School for the first time and as soon as we got off the bus the children ran towards us with big smiles on their faces. The children were so excited to see us and were amazed by my blonde hair as they probably have never seen my colour hair before and just loved playing with it. The children also loved having their photograph taken on my camera and always giggled when they saw their faces on my camera screen. The experience has definitely made me appreciate the things I have a lot more as the children I met in Uganda had barely anything yet they were so happy and appreciative of everything they had. The children were just so happy that we had come to visit them to spend time with them and make improvements to their school. Jjezza School definitely opened my eyes a lot more as the school only had a few desks with a chalk board and no windows and we usually complain when the school’s AC is too cold or the computers have stopped working… Uganda was definitely a once in a lifetime experience that challenged me and made me more appreciative. I will never forget the people I met in Uganda and hopefully I will see them again when I go back to Uganda in the future. "The expedition definitely changed my outlook on life." Liam Troup The World Challenge expedition was an eye-opening and emotionally moving adventure through Uganda. I was so excited to go, but I had no idea what to expect when we arrived. The people have virtually nothing, not many people have cars or phones but they are the happiest people in the world! The culture is so amazing, you have to be polite to everyone you meet, the children would bring us different items such as food, water or tools and would bow at our feet. It was the most unusual thing I had ever seen, they looked to us as idols, so we tried our best to be great role models. During our time in Africa we had to learn to listen to each other and work together, which you can imagine was pretty hard for us. It took days of arguing before we got bored and just got on with things. By the time we got to the mountains for our trek, we were all the best of friends. We were all just happy to get out in the fresh country air and move on to the next challenge. The expedition definitely changed my outlook on life. I’ve learned to respect things that most take for granted and how to manage my expenses! I’ve gained great friends from our travels and the memories are those I’ll never forget. 13
  • 14. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013YOUNG SCRIBES: Laura Tibi (left), Wynona Bautista and Shahmir KhanMAGAZINE CHICAGO - FAME,INTERNSHIP “NEVER FORTUNE, RAZZLEFELT LIKE WORK” DAZZLE AND ALL THAT JAZZWhile her friends relaxed over the summer holidays, Year 11 Chicago, the musical based in the 1920’s around the jazz scenestudent Laura Tibi spent three weeks working as an intern for in the mid-western American city, is coming to the stage at Alstudent magazine One8One. Laura is one of a number of Al Yasmina - and it will be the secondary school’s most ambitiousYasmina’s secondary students who have had work printed in the production to date. It will have a much bigger cast than previousmagazine, which is written by young people, for young people. productions and will also feature a live jazz band. The showOther successful Al Yasmina contributors include Wynona will be staged in February 2013, with a matinee and nightBautista, Niamh Griffiths, Shahmir Khan and Ramya Iyer. performance on February 10 and evening performances only on February 11 and 12. Auditions were completed last weekLaura joined a group of interns who were picked to work for and Head of Drama, Mrs Hetherington, says singing, actingthe Dubai-based magazine, where they honed their skills and dancing roles will be announced this week. There are stillunder the guidance of Editor Maria Rousan. Interns were able opportunities for students who prefer to get involved helpingto choose stories that interested them from a circulated list, backstage and also for students keen for a technical role.or pursue their own ideas. One of Laura’s ideas was to visit a Chicago is the biggest show the secondary school has tackledvintage clothing shop which she did - going on the job with a so far, and it will involve a considerable commitment from thosephotographer, conducting the interview and writing the story, who are successful in the audition process.which will be published in a future issue. Despite her love ofwriting, Laura says it will remain a hobby and her future career “Students will sign a contract with their parents to honouris likely to be in the science field. their commitment to the show so everyone knows what their obligations will be,” she says. Rehearsals will be on MondaysShahmir Khan, who was also offered an internship over the and Wednesdays from 2.30pm - 3.30pm until the end of term,summer, was unable to accept but has had several pieces and will increase in regularity next term. “This will be an evenpublished in separate issues of the magazine, several of which bigger production for Al Yasmina than West Side Story,” Mrsdiscuss issues in teenage society. He also contributed stories Hetherington says. “We want to challenge both our studentson the changing face of music and another discussing how and the audience with our choice of the play and the issuespeople choose to live in a ‘bubble society’. Wynona Bautista’s raised in it, as well as providing a professional show full ofcontribution on the video Kony 2012 was also published by entertainment.”One8One. Wynona says she write the piece after viewing thevideo online, writing quickly and from the heart. The students’ Chicago is a satire about the corruption in the administrationconnection with the magazine developed after Editor Maria of criminal justice and focuses on the concept of the celebrityRousan visited Al Yasmina, outlining to interested students what criminal. It follows the lives of Velma, an established jazzwas involved in becoming a contributor. singer who goes on trial for murder, and Roxie, a young starlet desperate for fame who winds up in jail after also being accused of murder. The musical focuses on how their lives intertwine along the way. 14
  • 15. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013POST-16 TEAM BUILDING AT AL FORSANAlistair Mains Paintball was the second activity. It was fun to watch. Students running in all directions, trying to dodge the bullets, althoughIt was an exhilarating day at Al Forsan and the activities quite a few people adopted the ‘hide at the back and shootsurpassed all expectations. Following a short briefing on health only from a safe distance’ approach! ‘The ‘A’ team’ won theand safety, team A - the ‘A’ team - headed out to the track first, first game, ‘the Expendables’ the second. Tension ran high aswhilst Team B, ‘The Expendables ‘, sat in anticipation as they temperatures soared and the desire to win drove the game on.heard the sounds of the go karts racing around the track. Richard Samuels said “Adrenaline was pumping. It was great”. Nevertheless, by the end of the second game the scores wereDaniel Brundan set the pace, completing his first lap in just 85 even.seconds, with an astonishing 6 second gap between himself andsecond place. Daniel did not fail to impress with his impeccable All in all, it was a great day out with Post-16. It is the first timedriving skills as he managed to stay on top of the leader board students in Year 12 and 13 have together for such an event.throughout the duration of the go karting. With a final time of While the competition was close the ‘A’ team were the overall82.8 seconds, Daniel was victorious, beating off stiff competition winners of the day. Congratulations to all those who took partfrom Stefan Bennett, who came close to Daniel with a final lap in the event. It pushed some students out of their comforttime of 84.42 and his brother Josh Brundan, who took the lead zone, but it was great to see some overcome their fears. Whilefor the first part of the race. Daniel commented on his victory: Chelsea Lawson compared herself to Lewis Hamilton, Emily“It felt good to win, especially against my brother.” First round Prest  said, “I really got into the paintballing. I felt like Larawinners: the ‘A’ team. Croft!”
  • 16. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013MR RICHARDS’S MATHEMATICAL CHALLENGENo one provided a correct solution for The magic W in the last newsletter, however I imagine we were all hopefully enjoying some holiday and timewith our families.Here is an example of a correct solution is where it adds up to 13 3 4 5 9 8 7 6 1 2This month’s challenge is hopefully a little more straightforward. Which number should replace the ? in the table? Why? 1 3 3 5 4 5 6 8 7 ? 4 3 5 2 1Please email your answers to crichards@alyasmina.sch.aeThe solution and the person who solved it correctly will be published next month.CANTEEN HITS THE MARK WITH NEW MENUWhen it comes to the food preferences of Al Yasmina’s students, Mr Fernando is an expert. He is in charge of the school’s canteen, and has an earto the ground when it comes to students’ culinary likes and dislikes. Mr Fernando has used the feedback provided to him personally and input fromStudent Voice to make some changes to the food on offer in the school canteen. There have been several new additions to the menu and somechanges to existing items. Nuggets - a popular choice with many students - are now baked, not fried. Ingredients are listed on all prepackaged food, such as sandwiches and salads, along with the expiry date. Instead of being wrapped in plastic wrap, sandwiches are now in sealed plastic. The range of pre-packaged salads has been expanded to include Caesar salad, a green salad with tuna and egg and a baked chicken garden salad. Other new items include strawberry milk, a muesli and yoghurt mix, ANZAC cookies and different types of muffins, including blueberry, cinnamon, bran and vanilla. Meat rolls are another new and popular choice. The number of fruit salads provided each day has doubled. Rice is a staple each day, but now potatoes and pasta are also on offer, along with croissants and bread rolls. As always, hot food is disposed of after four hours and cold food after six hours. Mr Fernando, who is the Location Manager for Kelvins, the school caterers, says they have attempted to achieve a balance between what students have asked for, the wishes of Student Voice and the school’s desire for healthy food to be made available. Mr Fernando is philosophical when it comes to the students’ acceptance of the new menu choices. “I think we are pleasing most people,” he says. “The new items brought into the canteen are a big hit. The addition of meat rolls was a really good idea and the variety of hot meals is superb.” Year 10 student “The food is much better. I like the new salads and the different kinds of muffins you can get now.” Year 13 studentAIM TO PLEASE: Mr Fernando in the school’s canteen 16
  • 17. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013PICNIC IN THE SUN: A welcome picnic has kicked off FOY activities for the yearBUSY YEAR FOR FOY STUDENTS OF THEFriends of Al Yasmina (FOY) is coordinating a busy schedule of events MONTHover the next few months, ranging from discos for the primary andsecondary schools through to carols by candlelight and a festive fair inDecember. The group, which organises projects to support the school,kicked off the academic year with a picnic at the school last week whichprovided an opportunity for new and existing school families to get toknow each other. Key dates: • 8 October secondary disco • 31 October Halloween bake sale • 5 December carols by candlelight  • 8 December festive fayreFOY will also offer support for school events being held to celebrateInternational Day on November 20 and National Day on December 2and 3. The committee is looking for volunteers to help organise thefestive fayre, and will form an organising committee when it meetstonight (October 1) at 6.30pm in the old uniform shop on the groundfloor. Volunteers are needed to organise stalls, food and games. FOYis particularly keen to hear from secondary students who have ideasabout stalls and who are keen to help out on the day. FOY is hoping Congratulations to our students of the month for September.to attract new members to its ranks and in particular would like to What a fantastic start to the academic year!find a parent who would like to fill the role of secretary. Need moreinformation? See the FOY pages on our website. New additions to the Sitting from left to right: Fadwa Qadan (UAE Social Studies),site include the organisation’s constitution, minutes from meetings, Mr Gale (Head of School), Chelsea Lawson (French)secondhand uniform prices and a photo gallery which showcasesevents organised by the group. Committee members: Janine Loftus Standing middle: Diala Nasser (Science), Hannah Green (Music)(Chair), Mahra Fares and Justine Hughes (joint Vice Chairs), Lisa Wall(Treasurer). Standing back: Max Moffat (DT), Mitchell Bryant (Mathematics), Jared Wolfaardt (History), Jordan Mather (Geography), Abdullah Al Armouti (Spanish)DISCO FEVER Not pictured: Kenan Saleh Basha (Islamic Studies - native), Areebuddin Ansari (Islamic Studies - non-native), Sally ZeidanA live DJ, Year 11 student Mitch Bryant, will provide the latest music (Arabic native), Jordan Youlten (Arabic - non-native), Adamand remixes for the school’s discos next week. Year 11 student Mather (Art & PE), Faiqa Hamid (Business & Economics), LinaMitch has around 4000 songs on his computer so can comply with Mohamed (Drama), Khalifa AL Nuaimi (English), Ahmad Elyassmost requests, but says he’ll begin by sticking with new music. The (ICT), Priyanka Iyer (Psychology)secondary disco kicks off 5.30pm and finishes at 7.30pm and is forstudents in Years 7, 8 and 9. 17
  • 18. AL YASMINA SCHOOL NEWSLETTER issue 1 2012/2013NEW AL YASMINASPORTS WEBSITE AWINNER FORMER AL YASMINA STUDENT A STARAl Yasmina’s new sports website is a one stop shop for all sports teams,providing details on all fixtures and also match reports.The site, which is accessible via the school’s website (look for the ‘sports ON SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY FIELDSfixtures’ icon on the home page) provides details on all Abu Dhabi netball,swimming, rugby and football fixtures for the season. Details on Dubaigames will be added over the next couple of weeks. Director of Sport, MrSmith, says the website will also include match results and reports, videosof the game and action shots, details on the referees for each game, contactdetails for coaches and even links through to Google Maps to make sureeveryone can find the venues. Cancellations will also be listed on the site.Mr Smith says the website will be updated by the PE teachers responsiblefor individual teams. “Information will be loaded on in advance of games, sostudents will be able to easily find out where they need to be, and when. It’sgoing to make things hugely easier for all families who are involved in theschool’s sports squads.”http://www.schoolssports.com/school/default.asp?Id=27412SPORTING SCHEDULEUNDERWAYHundreds of secondary students took to the pitch, pool and court last weekto try out for the school’s rugby, swimming and netball squads. Membersof the squads, who play in competitive events, will train on Sundays whilestudents taking part in recreational support will play on Monday, Tuesdayand Wednesdays.The teams train under the school’s club structure, which also offers a rangeof music, art and drama clubs. The rugby squad will receive some expert TRY LINE IN SIGHT: Alex Little in action during a game for the KwaZulu Natal Sharks versushelp from Harlequins coach Chris Davies, who will help prepare the team the Free State Cheetahsfor the under 18 competition at the Dubai Sevens in late November and earlyDecember. Football and cricket squads begin next term. Sailing will also be A passion for rugby which began on Al Yasmina’s sports fields has led to aintroduced for Years 7 and 8 from January. promising rugby career in South Africa for a former student. Foundation student Alex Little returned to South Africa with his parents in 2011. He was recently selected as the captain for the KwaZulu Natal U13 (Sharks) rugby team that played at the South African schools rugby week. Alex played in the trials wearing his Al Yasmina rugby jersey. “Being selected for this team is a big honour and Alex lead his side well and scored the opening try of the tournament,” says his father Grant. “It’s a big change from playing in Abu Dhabi temperatures to the Highveld winter where there is often an icy layer on the grass at kick off.” Alex has also been selected for the provincial club under 13 team to play in Johannesburg in early October and for the KwaZulu Natal Sharks U13 seven aside provincial squad which will compete in the national tournament in Pretoria. MEASURING FITNESS LEVELS Fitness testing is underway in the secondary school. The baseline assessments, which are being completed during PE lessons, also measure students’ hang eye coordination, agility and speed. Testing is carried out again at the end of each unit of work and results compared with the original data.GOOD PASS: The school’s squads and recreational sports club are underway 18