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Winter 2016

Site plan for the Upper School science and humanities center is submitted to the City of Durham. Contractor is hired for the project.

Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism survey is sent to current parents, students in grades 7-12, faculty/staff and alumni. 

Middle School master planning schedule is set and will be led by Cannon Architects. Meetings will include Middle School faculty/staff, Lower and Middle School parents, students and trustees and will begin at the end of February. Master planning is expected to last five months, with a draft report of the plan anticipated in June.

Fall 2016

Financing is secured for Upper School science and humanities center construction project. 

Director of Diversity Kemi Nonez organizes a climate survey steering committee to help conduct DA's first strategic school-wide Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism, directed by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

The assessment is a combination of qualitative feedback from discovery committees (comprised of current parents, students, alumni, parents of alumni, faculty/staff and trustees) and an anonymous online climate survey to be administered by NAIS in February (sent to current parents, faculty/staff, students in grades 7-12 and alumni). Results will be benchmarked against approximately 60 independent schools and used to determine areas of strength, weakness and action steps to improve equity and inclusion.

Associate Head of School Lee Hark assembles a "Portrait of a Graduate" task force to identify the core values and virtues of the DA experience. The project is intended to clarify the school's aspirational goals for its students/alumni, help provide a common framework for curricular revision as outlined in the strategic plan, and help provide a focal point for the school's work at every level. The final product will be used internally and externally. 

Summer 2016

Designs for the new Upper School science and humanities center (by award-winning Cannon Architects) take shape based on input from Upper School faculty, students and parents.

April 2016

DA Board of Trustees approves plans for strategic growth over the next decade, including a construction and financing plan to support a new Upper School science and humanities center as well as a comprehensive renovation of the Middle School campus.

February 2016

DA Board of Trustees approves incremental enrollment growth plan.

November 2015

The Optimal School Size Task force, led by Admissions Director Victoria Muradi, delivers its recommendation for strategic growth to the Board of Trustees. In order to maintain commitments to recruiting the Triangle's best and brightest, honor legacies and siblings, and prioritize diversity, the task force recommends incremental growth over the next 15 years.

Classes and sections will be added to each grade to preserve or even shrink student-teacher ratios and retain close school-family relationships. The Upper School is identified as the division with the most immediate ability to absorb the majority of recommended growth.

September 2015

Strategic Plan task forces are established to make targeted recommendations to the administrative team around Goals 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. Each task force includes a combination of faculty and administrators, and will meet four to six times between September 2015 and January 2016, with subcommittees used as appropriate for benchmarking and discussion.

Recommendations will be presented to the Administrative Team and Board of Trustees in March 2016.

Task force is formed to determine the optimal size of school considering financial, cultural, pedagogical, facility and admissions factors. Members include faculty/staff, current parents, alumni, parents of alumni and trustees.

July 2015

At the July Administrative Team retreat, the team populates the Strategic Plan implementation grid - prioritizing and scheduling progress reports and the completion of goals, clarifying authority and responsibility, identifying resources and establishing metrics for each of the nearly 50 objectives of the plan. Six faculty task forces are chartered to make targeted recommendations to the administrative team.

April 2015

Following discussion of the strategic plan at the DA Board of Trustees' March meeting, the board approves the plan at its April meeting.

Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner and the school’s administrative team begin work on a short- and long-term action grid to implement each goal. 

January 2015

A group of 55 parents, faculty, administrators, alumni, parents of alumni and trustees participates in a two-day retreat, facilitated by Dan Baum, Executive Director of the Redwoods Group Foundation.

The retreat produces a draft document defining the priorities and goals of the strategic plan, the rationales behind the goals, and action steps outlining how DA will achieve those goals.

Fall 2014

More than 200 members of the DA community — including Middle and Upper School students; current parents; DA alumni based in the Triangle, San Francisco, Boston and New York; parents of alumni; trustees; and administrators — gather for 16 listening sessions held throughout the fall to share their visions for the best faculty, curriculum and community DA could imagine.

September 2014

More than 1,100 DA parents, faculty, staff, alumni, Upper School students and community partners participate in an anonymous, online survey to help the Steering Committee understand what matters most to DA constituents and assess support for various initiatives. The design and execution of the survey and the interpretation of the data generated are conducted by professional market research company The Link Group. Of the survey participants, 50 percent were parents, 21 percent were alumni, 16 percent were students, 13 percent were faculty/staff and 9 percent were other constituents. 

August 2014

The strategic planning process begins in earnest, with approximately 200 faculty and staff members participating in a day-long retreat consisting of two listening sessions followed by an issue prioritization exercise. The goal? Generate answers to two central questions that would frame the 15 listening sessions to follow: “What do you value most about DA?” and “What merits consideration for this strategic plan?” The top priorities generated by faculty and staff reveal common threads that run through listening groups to follow.

Stakeholders Involved

Strategic Plan Steering Committee

Durham Academy Board of Trustees

Durham Academy Administrative Team

Parents Association

Current families

Faculty and staff

Middle School and Upper School students

Alumni (local and regional)

Parents of Alumni

Community partners (representatives from Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, The Hill Center, Student U, Augustine Literacy Project)

An independent, coeducational day school,  pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
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