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 keyboarding? Not so fast.

Two years ago, Lower School Director Carolyn Ronco wrote a convincing article in the DA Record about why we still teach cursive. Click here to see "Is It Right To Learn to Write?"

Two days ago, the New York Times published a summary of recent neurological and psychological research suggesting that handwriting practice can improve reading skills, information retention, and the generation of ideas. Click here to read "What's Lost as Handwriting Fades."

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Posted by in Lower School on Wednesday June 4, 2014
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An unCommonly good space

When I left Durham Academy in 2008, the Upper School library was (I hate to admit it) a fairly dark and dormant space. Despite the efforts of our tireless librarians, students were not making great use of the resources. Nor were they drawn together often enough to learn and collaborate.

Much has changed. A beautiful new space, a raft of new resources (both print and digital); the strategic placement of the faculty lounge, school store, group study rooms, and administrative offices; and the addition of dynamic librarians have all combined to change the culture at the core of our campus. Congratulations to Shannon Harris, Emily Harkey, and Jessica Ortolano on an excellent year in the Upper School Learning Commons.

How excellent? Click here to see a poignant Prezi on the year in review.

Posted by in Upper School, Other on Tuesday June 3, 2014
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Alumna en vogue

I’ll never forget the day sophomore Anna Cooperberg ’08 climbed like a beautiful spider in front of her dazzled Upper School peers.

A longtime practitioner of circus arts, student Anna Cooperberg (quiet, studious, largely unknown among her peers as a dancer and athlete) wowed a crowd of 450 in Kenan Auditorium as she climbed, twisted, swung, and plunged toward the ground on hanging silks, a la Cirque du Soleil.


Now, Anna the alumna is climbing just as dramatically through the world of New York fashion journalism.

After graduating in 2012 from Columbia University (where she was an intern at Teen Vogue, a member of the Style Council for Seventeen magazine, a frequent contributor to the Columbia Daily Spectator and the Editor-in-Chief for Hoot magazine), Anna has …

Posted by in Alumni on Monday June 2, 2014
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Alexander the Green

For more than three years, 8th Grader Alex Green has been building an extraordinary media portfolio dedicated to his interest in the natural world. What started as a newsletter for his neighbors about neighborhood wildlife has bloomed into a website, Facebook page, Google+ account, Youtube channel, Instagram and Twitter feeds.

Alex's website (www.ncnaturenews.com) includes:

  • "Explorations" (short videos of Alex in his local forests, the North Carolina coast, and other locations at various seasons)
  • the "Repticam" (a live feed currently broadcasting Sunny the snake, a young yellow bellied ball python. Every Sunday afternoon, Alex feeds Sunny his weekly mouse)
  • An assortment of Alex's nature photography
  • Several articles on nature topics
  • "5 minutes of peace" (short videos of relaxing …
Posted by in Middle School on Sunday June 1, 2014
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Tag: Alex Green

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