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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"To engage with things"

Last Tuesday, as a goodbye present to our Seniors, Upper School Director and Assistant Head of School Lee "Cooler than ice, hotter than a sweater" Hark organized a three-man Lip Sync Battle. Click here to see the results.

This afternoon, during one of my exit interviews with a Senior, I heard the following in response to my question, "Anything else I ought to know that might help me help students in the future?"

"One thing I've learned at DA, and it sounds kind of trite but it's really true, is this. If you don’t buy into something, you won’t get anything out of it. It’s ok to care about things. To engage with things. To make a fool of yourself and risk being really bad at something. Being passionate and being able to be vulnerable is the only path to being truly great.…
Posted by in Upper School on Monday May 5, 2014
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Tag: Lee Hark
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Guilt, snow, and lifelong book learning

As were many of our students, part of me was relieved about yesterday's snow day, as I hadn't done my homework.

Last night, Lee Hark was scheduled to lead DA's first-ever Alumni Book Club meeting at the home of alumna/trustee Jamie Spatola '00.

Jamie (a voracious learner who has written two books with her father and now writes for Mental Floss - click here to see a fun example) dreamed up the Book Club as a way to stir good conversations among our local alumni.

I keenly looked forward to the event but - amidst a busy few weeks at school - had failed to read the book.

Tension (along with trash-talking from Lee and Jamie) mounted as Wednesday neared. Should I lamely bail out? Should I read a few reviews online and fake it at the Book Club? Should I do as Alumni Board President Garret Putman …

Posted by in Alumni on Thursday January 30, 2014
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Raising their voices

Lee Hark sent the following message to our parents of 11th and 12th Graders.

Kathy Cleaver forwarded this essay ["Let Go of the College Essay and Let Your Teenager Speak for Herself"] to me this weekend. It's an excellent crystallization of the increasing tension and fear I'm sensing from parents about the college essay specifically and the college application process in general. My sending it to you is in no way meant as a chastisement. It is instead a recognition of how difficult this process can be for parents. I'm sharing this with you merely because I believe there is good advice within.

This line alone made it worth my time:

In writing the personal statement, students are beginning to tell the story of themselves. Ultimately they’re the only ones who can. Remember how that …

Posted by in Upper School on Monday November 18, 2013
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Tag: Lee Hark

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