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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Saturday night fever - for a great cause

Saturday 1/23/2014 at 7:00 at Durham's Carolina Theater, Upper School Music Teacher Michael Meyer led DA's a capella groups XIV Hours and Acapocalypse onto the stage. They were joined by some of the area's best youth and adult a capella ensembles:

  • Durham School of the Arts Sweet N Low
  • Northwood High School Pitch Please
  • Duke Pitchforks
  • UNC Tar Heel Voices
  • UNC Loreleis
  • Cognitive Resonance (an adult semi-professional group)

Proceeds to benefit WISER (the Women's Institute for Secondary Education and Research), a girls boarding school in Mujuru Bay, Kenya - partnered with DA since its founding in 2007. DA alumnus Kelly Teagarden '04 founded the DA WISER chapter, which is now led by Constance Leder, Chandler Knott, Jordan Townsend and Mimi Patterson.

Click here to learn more about …

Posted by in Upper School, Other on Thursday January 23, 2014
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What do these guys have in common?

The Head of School at my alma mater (Albuquerque Academy) is still asking good questions.

Today's: when was the last time that both presidential candidates (Barack Obama – Punahou, Mitt Romney – Cranbrook) and both starting quarterbacks for the Super Bowl (Peyton Manning – Isidore Newman, Russell Wilson – Collegiate School of Richmond) all came from independent schools?

The answer might be "never." If you know otherwise, please comment below.

Did you know that Russell Wilson was Student Body President at Collegiate School?


Photo credits: Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney

Posted by in Other on Wednesday January 22, 2014
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Play on!

Constanza de Radcliffe (US Spanish/French Teacher) and Gib Fitzpatrick (MS Math Teacher) shared a poignant article from Britain's Independent newspaper. The headline: "Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less."

Interesting, notes Gib, that the author aims at the same objectives as our mission statement (DA uses a slightly different order, striving "to provide each student an education that will enable him or her to live a moral, happy and productive life."

Writes Dan Gilson, DA's Director of Extended Day programs, "Dr. Peter Gray . . . teaches at my alma mater and wrote the textbook on psychology. [His article] eloquently summarizes so many of my feelings about our Extended Day …
Posted by in Other on Tuesday January 21, 2014
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Keeping King's dream alive

To cap a sunny and meaningful MLK Day, I read the gleeful post of DA parent Diane Lanevi, who also serves on the Board of Directors at Durham Nativity School. Diane and everyone else at our partner school should be proud of a glowing profile in the latest issue of Ebony magazine. An excerpt:

Durham Nativity, a tuition-free, private school is a small school with a very big mission. Founded in 2002, their model of education, which they call a “holistic learning experience,” is designed to train young men from underserved communities in Durham, North Carolina and intensively focus on academic training, active parental involvement, community service, and character building. They see the middle school years as one of transformative possibility for these young men as they work to …
Posted by in Other on Monday January 20, 2014
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From Kenan to the Met

Bobbie Hardaker pointed me to a short but terrific New Yorker article about DA alumnus Anthony Roth Costanzo '00. Subscription is required to read the full article, but here's the start:

Dressed in black, and carrying a frayed silver Kevlar-and-canvas shoulder bag, Anthony Roth Costanzo made his entrance at P.S. 37, in the Bronx, early one Monday morning just as first period was ending. “Getting kids engaged in what’s emotional about opera—that’s what I’m interested in,” Costanzo said as he ascended to the second-floor auditorium entrance. Costanzo, who is thirty-one, is slight of build and vivacious of manner. He visits public schools as often as he can, as part of the Metropolitan Opera’s education-outreach program.


Anthony is a bona fide opera…

Posted by in Other, Alumni on Saturday January 18, 2014
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Talent and tenacity

I had the lucky opportunity to attend a lunch at Durham Nativity School (DNS), one of our strongest community partners.

DNS's mission: "to provide a tuition-free, enriched learning environment and an eleven-year support system for middle school boys who have the ability and commitment to achieve, but not the resources for a quality, independent school education. We promote a rigorous academic program and nurture the whole child to reach his potential through knowledge, moral values, learning skills, discipline, and character development. We instill service for others as we build tomorrow’s role models and community leaders."

DNS was founded by Joe and Ann Carole Moylan (parents of six DA alumni) and is now led by a board that includes Brendan Moylan (DA alumnus, trustee, and current…

Posted by in Other, Alumni on Friday January 17, 2014
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Buzzer-beating ballers are 60 and 14

In their first full seasons in our new Kirby Gymnasium, DA's basketball teams are rolling.

The varsity girls are 16-4, thanks in large part to their unselfish and unified play (see the photo above - even their socks cooperate!). Click here to learn more about the girls team and see their remaining schedule.

The varsity boys are 14-6, including a thrilling buzzer-beating, game-winning shot last night from 9th Grader Jorden Davis. Click here to see that video - on every Upper Schooler's Twitter feed this morning. Thanks to Walter Daniels for his handy camera work. Click here to learn more about the boys' season.

With few seniors on the varsity teams, undefeated junior varsity squads (the girls are 7-0 and the boys 13-0!) and promising Middle School teams (7th Grade boys are 3-1, 8th Grade …

Posted by in Upper School on Friday January 17, 2014
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They blinded them with science

In case you missed it on the DA Facebook page: DA's Science Olympiadteam placed third of 22 teams in a national-level invitational tournament in Fairfax, Virginia last weekend. The science-minded Cavs brought home 13 medals:

- Compound Machines: 3rd, Abhi Kodumagulla and Spencer Kim
- Bungee Drop: 2nd, Rahul Sharma and Justin Katz
- Designer Genes: 5th, Erin Seewaldt-Dietze and Caroline Wechsler
- Disease Detectives: 3rd, Justin Chang and Caroline Wechsler
- Elastic Launch Glider: 1st, Justin Chang and Neil Cornwell
- Forensics: 2nd, Rahul Sharma and Abhi Kodumagulla
- MagLev (Magnetic Levitation): 5th, Mark Cohen and Spencer Kim
- Rocks and Minerals: 4th, Vibha Puri and Samantha Baker
- Scrambler Car: 2nd, Nathaniel Brooke and Eitan Sapiro-Gheiler
- Technical Problem Solving: …
Posted by in Middle School, Upper School on Thursday January 16, 2014
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The heroic women of 2013

Pre-K teacher and MS mom Sheri-lyn Carrow shared this collection of heroic women - an inspiring group of role models for our girls . . . and our boys. If you haven't yet seen the video of Deb Cohan dancing before her double mastectomy, check it out: joy overcoming.

Posted by in Other on Wednesday January 15, 2014
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The Case for Nagging Kids About Their Homework

Parents Lisa Brown and Marianne Zura shared (independently) the same provocative article from Lisa Endlich Heffernan in The Atlantic. An excerpt:

There is, I believe, a tacit understanding between parents and their teens that may need to be made explicit. Parents are willing to work hard, to sacrifice for our kids, and to give them opportunities in life. We will drive them to baseball; we will rent them musical instruments and invest in the technology they so crave. We will give them love and encouragement, and to the best of our abilities, a stable environment in which to grow. In exchange, children are expected to do their best. Not necessarily top of the class or best on the team…but their best. If teens don’t feel like living up to this deal, there are consequences.

Posted by in Other on Tuesday January 14, 2014
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