Durham Academy

An independent, coed day school for grades pre-k to 12. Let's live Moral, Happy, Productive Lives.

Photos from Durham Academy's post 03/28/2024

This week Lower School students had the opportunity to experience an Upper School tradition — hosting their first “What Matters to Me” Day! “What Matters to Me” workshops take place in the Upper School each spring during a half-day set aside for students to share their passions with their peers. The Lower School’s inaugural event — made possible with the help of an Innovation Journey Fund Grant and helmed by third grade teaching assistant Sarwat Husain with the help of Upper School “What Matters to Me” coordinator Kelly Teagarden — lasted for the first hour of their morning on Tuesday.

It included Lower School parents, teachers and Upper School students leading 21 sessions covering everything from Let’s Make Slime, Making Gliders and Fun Paper Airplanes, Collage: Matisse and Me, Let’s Make a Greek New Year’s Cake, Woodworking Fun and Lovin’ Legos to Artificial Intelligence and How We Use It, DNA Spiral Friendship Bracelets, Miniature Tabletop Gaming, Sports Trivia and Trash to Treasure. Students were excited, delighted and engaged! Check out all the fun from their morning here: https://bit.ly/43ELHX8

Photos from Durham Academy's post 03/27/2024

Families, alumni, parents of alums, faculty, staff and friends: THANK YOU for coming together to show school spirit and support the DA Fund. With your help, we surpassed our goal of 1,000 Giving Day donors! The DA Fund is essential to sustaining the everyday excellence that defines the DA experience. Thanks to your support, our educators can continue to develop innovative and representative curricula. Because of you, every DA student — present and future — will benefit from the opportunities, spaces and instruction provided. And your generosity empowers Cavaliers to impact our community in creative and daring ways.


As Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner’s “day off” comes to a close, Giving Day is still going! Supporting the DA Fund is important to every student and educator at Durham Academy — it offers the opportunities to be challenged, be creative and practice authenticity. Even though the clock is ticking, there is still time to help us reach our goal of 1,000 donors by the end of the day!

Life at DA moves pretty fast, and if you didn’t stop and look around for a while today, you might have missed the first two parts of “Ulku-Steiner’s Day Off” — all made possible by the irrepressible brilliance of our students, faculty and staff. Watch more on our page!

Head to da.org/generosity to make your gift and then visit da.org/givingday to follow our progress!

Photos from Durham Academy's post 03/26/2024

Giving Day 2024 has been such a success — and such fun! We’re really grateful for the volunteers (and their mini-me’s) who braved the chilly temps this morning to help get our carpool car lines fired up! Thank you to everyone who has participated so far — we’re at 600+ so far and a $15K gift unlocks for DA when we reach 750! Don’t forget to make your gift!


Hey batta batta batta batta, SWING, batta! Giving Day is in full swing — just like the Durham Bulls Baseball Club will be later this week — and the clock is ticking to support Durham Academy students and faculty. Mr. Ulku-Steiner is brushing up on his study-leave reading, but there’s more to come in Giving Day fun. Head over to da.org/generosity to make your gift today or visit da.org/givingday to check out our progress!

A huge thank you goes out to the Durham Bulls for supporting Durham Academy with the use of their athletic park!


Parents and caregivers! The race is on to show your . Keep track of the parent leaderboard at da.org/givingday to see your grade’s (or grades’) participation! Which grade will be the first to reach 100% participation? Join in on the fun by giving at da.org/generosity.


Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner is “taking the day off” — but Giving Day is most definitely on! Cruise on over to da.org/generosity to make your gift and stay tuned for all sorts of shenanigans.

Durham Academy Alumni


DA Giving Day is here! Join with Cavs from all corners of the Durham Academy family in supporting the Durham Academy Fund — the building block of support for DA’s people and programs. Today is all about broad participation, so your support is invaluable, no matter the amount of your gift. The impact is felt every day for our students and educators — across every division, subject and program — who directly benefit from your generosity.

With your help, the DA community can reach our goal of 1,000 donors! Visit da.org/generosity to make your gift. You can keep up with our progress throughout the day at da.org/givingday And stay tuned for a special surprise in the next hour. 😎

Durham Academy Alumni

Photos from Durham Academy's post 03/25/2024

Tomorrow is Durham Academy Giving Day! This fundraising extravaganza is a call for broad participation — regardless of the dollar amount — and every gift matters. Your support means the world to the teachers, coaches and every member of the DA community who see the direct impact of your generosity on students every day. We’ll see you tomorrow at da.org/givingday for a day of gratitude, selflessness and DA school spirit — plus a few fun surprises that await on social media on . 😎 Stay tuned!

Photos from Durham Academy's post 03/21/2024

What does a lazy restaurant manager, tapeworm and secret agent have in common? Fortunately for us, the only overlap is that they were all a part of the Middle School theatre showcase! Ellen Brown’s students executed a remarkable performance with theatre and stage crew students alike. These scenes were laugh-out-loud funny — the best part was seeing how much fun the students had and the effort they put into the stage production and acting! We never thought hearing a sentient tapeworm singing could be the most beautiful thing to hear. We would have never considered that an attorney’s job could be so easy — just say you didn’t do it! And Karens, both real faculty members and figments of your coffee shop dreams, could be celebrated.

Photos from Durham Academy Chinese Program 德仁学院中文项目's post 03/20/2024

This year's Sustain-In included friends from Tawain! Check out Durham Academy Chinese Program 德仁学院中文项目 for more photos. 🤩

Photos from Durham Academy's post 03/19/2024

Checkmate! Lower School students on the Durham Academy chess team scored several impressive accomplishments at the K-12 state chess championship in early March. Fourteen students traveled to Charlotte, where they acquired accolades aplenty. They received first place in the K-5 Under 900 section, third place in the K-5 Championship section and third place in the K-3 Under 600 section. Individual awards went to Vihaan Pendse, Alan Chen, Trisha Anna, Kai Lowe, Justin Huang and Hanwen Lu. Congrats to all of our students for competing!


Devorah Heitner will be joining Durham Academy for a live Zoom presentation, followed by small group discussions, this Wednesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. in Horton Hall. In her talk, “Coming of Age in a Digital World,” Dr. Heitner offers strategies for families to navigate a world rich with social media and internet connectivity while understanding digital footprints, boundaries and privacy. If you are looking for insight on mentoring over monitoring and finding the balance between plugged and unplugged activities, we look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!

Dr. Devorah Heitner is the author of “Growing Up in Public” and “Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World.” Dr. Heitner’s work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN Opinion. She has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology & Society from Northwestern University and has taught at DePaul and Northwestern. She is delighted to be raising her own teenager. You can follow her on Instagram .


Durham Academy Family Association's annual family-friendly event is back and promises to have something fun for everyone! This all-division community event takes place on Sunday, April 14, from 4–7 p.m. at the Upper School campus.

An annual favorite among DA families, friends, faculty and staff, the carnival-style atmosphere offers:
🪄 Magic shows
🤸‍♀️ Jump rope performances
📷 A photo booth
🎈 Inflatables
🌮 Food trucks to purchase treats
🖌️ Face painting and henna
⚽️ Foursquare and soccer
✨ And a few more surprises!

There are still volunteer opportunities available for some activities. Head to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/ASFF2024 #/ to sign up!


If you've missed watching or listening to Atlas Lad's '26 CavsConversations, spring break is the perfect time to catch up on the previous two episodes with Cha'mia Rothwell '16 and Dr. Andrew Moon '02!


Ramadan Mubarak! We are wishing all who observe a blessed Ramadan, which began Sunday, and lasts until April 9.

Photos from Durham Academy's post 03/12/2024

While you are enjoying that spring-break sunshine, here is a look at what was happening last week as the bunnies and spring creatures emerged in the classroom! Lori Hanks’ kindergarten class performed a play based on “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” which has been told time and time again over the decades at Durham Academy. 🐇

To all those who have hopped across the stage in years past, what part did you play in this classic tale?


After more than five years of intensive research and intentional piloting, Durham Academy Middle School will fully adopt competency-based learning (CBL) in the fall. With emphasis on skills over scores and on improvement over performance, CBL stands as the most developmentally appropriate way to meet the needs of all Middle School learners and to prepare students for life. It’s already earning rave reviews from the teachers and students who have experienced its potential!

Watch the video and read more about CBL: https://www.da.org/about/newsroom/news-post/~board/news/post/middle-schools-expansion-of-competency-based-learning-will-strengthen-commitment-to-rigorous-academics

Photos from Durham Academy's post 03/07/2024

Sixth grade planted 85 trees with this week — almost one for every student! 🌳🧍🌳🧍‍♀️🌳🧍‍♂️🌳 The collaboration and camaraderie had students thinking about other ways to make a sustainable impact in the Durham community. Thank you Keep Durham Beautiful!

📷: Middle School teacher Patti Donnelly!

Photos from Durham Academy's post 03/05/2024

Mathematical modeling at Durham Academy has blossomed from a club into course, and the excitement and engagement have led to major awards for students who recently competed at the international level. A team of four Upper Schoolers — Claire Hong ’24, Michael Hansen ’24, Riley Kim ’24 and Sarah Muir ’24 — represented DA in the HiMCM (the High School Mathematical Contest in Modeling), hosted by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications.

From a pool of 967 teams from 18 different countries and regions, the DA team took home the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Award and was one of nine teams to earn “Outstanding” status.

Read more about their approach and research at https://www.da.org/about/newsroom/news-post/~board/news/post/adv-mathematical-modeling-team-earns-top-recognitions-in-global-competition.

Photos from Durham Academy's post 03/01/2024

Kindergarten students didn’t let the wind and weather change the trajectories of their pool noodle javelins that soared an impressive four feet in the air, and they stayed resilient despite tennis balls flying high past their rackets at this year’s fourth annual Kindergarten Olympics. 🎾🏃🥏

Of course the wind was to blame when the hurdles fell over and the discus flew too far to the left, but everyone could agree the thoughtful dancing inspired by the Kindergarteners’ studies and the lighting of the torch brought everyone together. The fitting finale to Kindergarten’s Global Citizens unit brought parents and caregivers to the track! 🏅


Upper School students are hosting a book drive in collaboration with Piedmont Health centers with the goal of sending home every patient at Piedmont Health’s nine clinical sites with something to read. Piedmont Health serves over 40,000 underrepresented families in Central North Carolina. What can you do to help? They ask you to donate books from March 1 to March 8 at the entrance of the STEM and Humanities Center. There are not any restrictions on books by age range or language, but please bring books in new or “like new” condition!

📖📚 Students would also like to thank Mr. Wilson, Ms. Teagarden and Mr. Gould for their support! 📚📖

Photos from Durham Academy's post 02/29/2024

The Art and Poetry Gala was a successful celebration of creative and linguistic works from Durham Academy Upper School students. Students displayed textiles, painting, photography and more in the hallways of the STEM and Humanities Center, and recited poetry in Latin, Spanish, French, Chinese, and languages not taught at DA, such as Turkish, Portuguese and Korean! Everything culminated in student-led workshops — allowing friends and family a glimpse into the students’ process and passions! 🎨🖼️📝

Photos from Durham Academy's post 02/28/2024

The Durham Academy Students for Troops club, family volunteers and students across every division assembled 500 care packages last weekend to benefit A Soldier’s Hands. The packages will be shipped to the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group serving in the Persian Gulf. A huge thanks goes out to Trish Shallenberger from A Soldier's Hands, DA alum Susan Easterling and Upper School English teacher Jordan Adair for their efforts in making this happen!

Learn more about A Soldier’s Hands at www.asoldiershands.org Durham Academy Alumni

Photos from Durham Academy's post 02/27/2024

Clear your calendar for Thursday from 6 p.m. to midnight for the 2024 Sustain-In! The event is a time for reflection and innovation to support Durham Academy’s sustainability goals. This year’s theme centers around DA’s Elder Oak, which was recently recognized as the largest of its species in North Carolina. While it has lived for over 200 years, it helps put in perspective how to think about the next 200 years. Participate in the Sustain-In for as long as you are able; learn more at url.da.org/sustainin2024.

The event also kicks off the collection of old electronics to be picked up for electronic recycling. DA students, faculty and staff can drop off working and non-working devices at the Preschool/Lower School entrance; the Gateway Center (Middle School); and the Office of Information Technology (Hock Center, Upper School). Collections will run from Feb. 29 to March 8.

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Videos (show all)

As Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner’s “day off” comes to a close, Giving Day is still going! Supporting the DA Fund i...
Hey batta batta batta batta, SWING, batta! Giving Day is in full swing — just like the Durham Bulls Baseball Club will b...
Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner is “taking the day off” — but Giving Day is most definitely on! Cruise on over to da...
DA Giving Day is here! Join with Cavs from all corners of the Durham Academy family in supporting the Durham Academy Fun...
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss Giving Day 2024 — Durham Acade...
After more than five years of intensive research and intentional piloting, Durham Academy Middle School will fully adopt...
Author Adam Gidwitz visited the Middle School today and brought his new book, “Max in the House of Spies,” which follows...
In the latest episode of CavConversations, Atlas Lad ’26 caught up with Dr. Andrew Moon ’02, an assistant professor of m...
The 2024-2025 Durham Academy Upper School Curriculum Guide is LIVE! This fresh catalog-style design showcases new course...
This school year we have brought you behind the scenes of both math and language arts at Durham Academy, and now it is t...
The middle school years sometimes get a bad rap (à la “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” or Judy Blume classics), but at Durham Acad...
We popped by Thomas Phu’s The Diaspora Kitchen class to get a sneak peek of what they’re up to this semester. We promise...





3601 Ridge Road
Durham, NC
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