Heads Up

Welcome to Heads Up, a blogging experiment that aims to: 

  • connect the people, parts, and principles of Durham Academy;
  • share ideas about learning and human development;
  • spotlight a few of the many wondrous things I get to see every day at Durham Academy. 

Thanks for reading the posts below — and sending news, links and ideas worth sharing. 

Michael Ulku-SteinerHead of School 

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#GratefulToDAy

Whereas the mission of Durham Academy compels us to prepare for “moral, happy, productive lives.”

Whereas happiness, though seemingly elusive, has revealed many of its heretofore secret sources in recent years. 

Whereas gratitude is among the most consistent and robust fountains of happiness. Skeptics: look here for evidence from Harvard Medical School. Or just take Mr. Fitzpatrick’s word for it.

Whereas the Upper School Student Council has declared Thursday to be known throughout the land as “DA Day,” or simply: “DAy.” Click here to see the etymology of this word in the Council’s hype video: Spirit Week 2.0 (the Director’s cut of President Abe running and panting).

Whereas DAily life offers myriad things for which to be …

Posted by mulkus on Tuesday April 21, 2015
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Doing grammar and doing good

A few weeks ago I recounted the origins of YO LA TENGO, the weekly e-newsletter of DA’s Upper School Dean of Students (and part-time English Teacher) Lanis Wilson.

In today’s edition, Lanis reminded our students that a week remains until our annual hosting of the Durham County Special Olympics Spring Games. 2015 marks our 30th year hosting the event – one of the most festive and meaningful at DA. Click here to see a short film about last year’s Spring Games. Or read here one perspective on why it matters so much:

Many of you know that as a sometimes teacher of English, I have a heightened sensitivity to grammar; its misuse sounds on my ears like a Zayn Malik-less One Direction.  It’s just wrong.  I am constantly trying to impress upon my students, …

Posted by mulkus on Friday April 17, 2015 at 04:43PM
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We can make whatever we dream up

“Get ready to leave the land of Martha Stewart and enter the realm of Conan the Barbarian,” said Dan Krebill as we strolled past his colonial brick home in Chapel Hill and through the gate to his most “Uncommon Garden.”

I was invited for a special peek at the Uncommon Garden by DA parent Elizabeth May, who read my blog post on gratitude last year and realized that she felt most grateful for the education of her boys (7th grader Carl and 4th grader Alden) and for the explosive imagination of Dan’s backyard garden.

Neither words nor photographs do justice to the experience of Dan’s creation. Sun, shade and water combine with rock, plant, and art to create a unique multisensory treat.


Surprises abound: pictograms from South America and Asia. A …

Posted by mulkus on Saturday April 4, 2015
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