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Upper School Transition Program

For ninth-graders, the transition to the Upper School is a time of seemingly infinite opportunities and greater independence — and it can also be overwhelming at times. The Upper School's Bridge program exists for incoming ninth-grade students who may benefit from extra support at this exciting time.

Bridge offers a safe, supportive space for students to navigate the Middle-to-Upper School transition, where they can discuss their experience with peers. Meanwhile, Bridge participants are offered support in overcoming individual challenges; program coordinators and other faculty members help students develop academic strategies and self-advocacy skills so that they can meet the Upper School curriculum with confidence.

Each year's Bridge cohort comprises 12–15 ninth-graders who typically meet for 30 minutes once a week (each Monday during the 9:55–10:25 a.m. tutorial period, immediately following Morning Meeting). Topics may include executive functioning strategies, involvement in campus life, physical wellness, self-advocacy and persistence.

The Upper School's Bridge program is led by Upper School faculty members Edie Evans, learning support coach, and Tyrone Gould, dean of students. Questions? They would love to chat with you!

Edie Evans
Tyrone Gould
Bridge Upper School (with Durham Academy logo)


While Bridge programming varies by the year, depending on the needs and interests of each year's cohort, here are a few activities from recent years:

  • a panel of older Upper Schoolers — typically former Bridge participants — who talk about their experience and offer advice

  • a writing workshop on thesis statements with an Upper School English teacher
  • Q&A sessions with representatives from DA College Counseling, Diversity, Equity and Engagement, and school administration
  • wellness walks during exam season
  • executive functioning workshops on topics like Outlook calendar features and time management;
  • a public speaking workshop with the director of DA's speech and debate program