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Where Middle

Comes First

Middle Schoolers watch on as a classmate performs during theatre class.

Middle School

Grades 5–8

Young people undergo a tremendous transformation in their pre-teen to teenage years. Critical connections form in the brain, bodies stretch and change, and students begin to develop habits that will determine the character they will carry into adulthood.

At Durham Academy Middle School, teachers dig into this tremendous period of growth, partnering with each family to create a positive atmosphere that fosters individual maturation and sense of place within a community.

A Campus Reimagined with Middle School Learners in Mind

Our Middle Schoolers enjoy the benefits of being members of a pre-k-to-12 school community, as well as the perks that come with having a campus all to themselves: space for 10-year-olds to transition into their Middle School years, and room for our older students to find their place as leaders of the campus.

Situated a couple of miles apart from DA's other three school divisions, the Middle School campus features Durham Academy's newest, most state-of-the-art facilities, all designed specifically with adolescents in mind — including flexible spaces that allow learning to spill outside the classroom, an auditorium that calls the Durham Performing Arts Center to mind, and roller slides in the quad (opening in Spring 2024) that will allow students to glide from class to class with a bit of glee.

The foundation of our curriculum is helping each student to understand who they are as a learner — their strengths, their challenges and the academic habits that are uniquely valuable to them as they grow. And we aren’t afraid to stretch boundaries and be innovative as we do so, as evidenced by our transition to Competency-Based Learning. In each course, our goal is for students to truly develop mastery in a set of competencies, rather than just ticking boxes that lead to a particular letter grade. That intentionality leads to deep knowledge that builds year to year.

Jon Meredith
Director of Middle School

As a Durham Academy Middle Schooler, you will be part of an advisory group, along with about 10 other students and a teacher. Your advisory serves as your "home away from home" while at school, with check-ins a couple of times a day.

Throughout the year, each advisory works through a social-emotional learning curriculum designed to encourage introspection, trust among advisees and thoughtful decision-making. 

Durham Nativity School students play soccer as part of an activity DA students organized.

Building Community at DA and Beyond

Each grade level’s advisory programming includes a service-learning component that stretches throughout the school year. The cornerstone of the eighth-grade advisory program is the Durham Challenge — which starts with an exploration of some of the issues that face our city, including visits from Durham changemakers. Eighth-graders then embark on months-long projects in which they propose solutions to real-world challenges and work with local organizations to implement them. Here, Durham Nativity School students play soccer at an activity organized by DA eighth-graders as part of a project to help connect fellow Durham adolescents with accessible exercise opportunities.

We're Growing — Expanded Capacity in Fifth Grade!

Over the last couple of years, we have reimagined the Middle School campus, purposefully designing facilities with middle school-aged learners in mind and creating space for more fifth-graders. We encourage you to experience our state-of-the-art learning spaces on a visit! Opportunities are available for both prospective parents/caregivers and for students.

We also know that you may have questions about affording a Durham Academy education. We encourage you to apply for financial aid if you believe you need any level of support and to reach out to chat about the financial aid or admission process. 

Plan Your Visit to the Middle SchoolLearn About Financial Aid

Life @ DA Middle School

    Pursuing the 30-year vision of strong leaders and loyal community members, Beyond the Threshold delivers on a commitment to create student-focused learning environments that meet Durham Academy’s standard of excellence.

    For decades, Durham Academy’s Middle School managed to thrive on a campus that didn’t quite make sense. Middle School students have been king of the castle — i.e. the sole occupants of the Academy Road campus — since 2002, but the campus was far from ideal.

    In Karen Richardson’s classroom, everyone sings. The chorus Exploration course — one of six trimester-long classes in which all fifth- and sixth-graders participate — intends to help students find both comfort and confidence in their singing voice.