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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All of this is all of us

Last Monday morning, as we launched our week of preparatory faculty and staff meetings, I began my presentation with the comments below.

Now, two days after demonstrations in Durham and on the eve of our student orientations, those comments seem even more relevant.

Here’s to all the idealistic, uncomfortable, consequential work we will do together this year!  

We have lots to accomplish this morning, but before we dive into it, I want to say a word about this weekend’s events in Charlottesville. What happened there was sickening, horrifying and tragic. The shock of domestic terrorism, the specter of the KKK and white supremacy, the presence of neo-nazis – it all seems so foreign to this community, so alien to our work in this school.

I am glad that we are back and together again, for it is reassuring today, and it will be important for us to say and to show to our students next week, that there is ethical order in our community, that we will never waver in our commitments to morality, happiness, and productivity – and our commitments to diversity, inclusion and equity. DA’s mission and our daily work are more urgent now than ever. By our words and our actions, we can show our students that the horror and hatred on display in Charlottesville is not us.

This is not us.

At the same time, that phrase “this is not us” is tidy and reassuring and . . . untrue.

Charlottesville is not that far - and not that different - from Chapel Hill or Durham. We cannot pretend that racist assumptions and hateful ideologies have no effects here and . . . really, everywhere in our country. In this room and across this country, our fates and our futures are inextricably entwined. 

And of course, I and other white people must acknowledge that we have benefitted, and continue to benefit, from systems of racial privilege and power.  

 All of this is all of us.

Our work today and for the rest of this school year matters not just for the futures of our students, but for the future of our country. Teaching empathy, kindness, integrity, responsibility and courage – this is far more than an abstract exercise. These component traits of the morality our mission compels us to pursue are fundamental for citizenship - right here and right now. So let us lean into our work with more empathy and more courage than ever before. 

Posted by mulkus on Sunday August, 20, 2017


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