Middle School Wellness

A vital component of a "moral, happy, productive" life — Durham Academy's goal for each student — is physical, social-emotional and mental wellness.

Physical Wellness

Twice every seven days with their advisory groups, Middle Schoolers participate in grade-specific programs that address physical wellness topics — specifically, healthy eating and alcohol/drug education. Complementing these regular discussions is a speaker from Freedom from Chemical Dependency, a nonprofit substance abuse prevention organization.

In addition, all Middle Schoolers participate in physical education class six days out of a seven-day rotation. In addition to continuing to expose students to games, sports and other means of physical exercise, PE teachers devote time to discussions about alcohol and other drugs, nutrition, personal hygiene, as well as the muscular, endocrine and reproductive systems.

The Middle School fields competitive athletic teams in a variety of sports for seventh- and eighth-graders — from basketball and soccer to Ultimate Frisbee. All fifth- and sixth-graders participate in intramural volleyball and kickball games after school with their advisory groups.

Social-Emotional Wellness

Twice every seven days with their advisory groups, students participate in grade-specific advisory programs that address a wide range of social/emotional topics, including empathy, gratitude, gender, healthy relationships, bullying (with programming from the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and an annual school climate survey), microaggressions and conflict resolution.

Affinity groups allow students to connect around shared identities and discuss their experiences at school and off campus. When students express an interest in an affinity group being established for any population of students, faculty work with them to make it a reality.
Physical education classes (meeting six days out of a seven-day rotation)address social health topics including communication, decision-making and healthy relationships.

The Middle School provides guidance for parents in supporting their children's social/emotional wellness through the Parenting the Love and Logic Way curriculum.


Mental Wellness

Middle School physical education teachers work with students to develop stress-management strategies. Instructors from Duke University's Koru mindfulness program, a research-supported program for young people, work with seventh- and eighth-graders to learn mindfulness skills.

Health Care Professionals

Teachers are at the heart of wellness efforts, and to enhance care for students and bolster our medical policies and procedures, DA also relies on multiple health professionals.

Licensed Nurse Practitioner Sarah Chaires is DA’s medical consultant. Parents may occasionally hear from Chaires regarding health alerts and advice.

Dr. Walker Robinson serves as DA’s collaborating physician, supervising sports medicine education programming and schoolwide health care policies and protocols.

On the Middle School campus for a portion of the school day is one of our three certified athletic trainers. These professionals emergency management and care, concussion management and injury prevention.