SSL Certificate

Middle School

Dear CSN Middle School Parents,

Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year!  My son Teddy, now a rising 7th grade student, and I have completed our first year at CSN.  The school—program and community—exceeded our expectations. And we expected much. During the 18-19 school year, Teddy will surpass me in height. Another milestone of sorts. My driver’s license says I am 5’ 8’’, but I am honestly more 5’ 7 ¼’’. I round up when pressed. I have always wanted to be taller.

Last year, in this space I wrote about what I call “middle school mud.”  Middle school mud has the consistency of puberty, academics, growth spurts, energy, mistakes, social experiences and experimentation, emergent character and personality, and maturity. The inordinate demands of middle school years make necessary a layered, purposeful middle school program. CSN middle school offers a program dedicated to academic excellence and committed to the needs of middle school students— both healthy rigor and a high standard in a supportive, positive environment that encourages commitment, imagination, innovation, and student voice.

This year, we launched a quarter-based elective schedule. The diverse combination of academic, music, art, and athletic opportunities available to CSN middle school students are necessary to maximize development, exploration, and learning. The abbreviated list of middle school elective offerings below demonstrates the programmatic diversity that complements the core classes of English, history, science, social studies, and world languages (Chinese, French, and Spanish) at CSN.

  • Excel and Databases

  • Vocal Workshop

  • CSN-X Fitness

  • Introduction to 3-D Printing

  • MS Musical

  • Rock Climbing

  • Mathletics

  • Orchestra

  • Basketball

  • Mural Painting

  • Concert Band

  • Gym, Hockey, Handball

  • Calligraphy Minimize

  • Chess

  • Op-Ed

  • Cartooning

  • Programming

  • Creative Writing

  • Textiles

  • Public Speaking

  • Flash Fiction

  • Inventor’s Workshop

  • Introduction to Robotics

  • Build It, Write It

  • Moviemaking

  • Competitive Robotics

  • Debate

  • Entomology

  • Advanced Painting and Drawing

  • MS Ted-Ed

  • Model United Nations

  • Drawing


  • Science Olympiad

  • Volleyball


  • Showtime Theatre

  • Lacrosse


I perhaps refer to Aristotle too often; however, I like his thinking: excellence is not an end but a habit. Habit-building—approach and attitude—is a key part of the CSN middle school experience. Teachers and students are dedicated to adopting and exercising habits of academic excellence as the optimal path to learning and to readying for the years to come.  The middle school is centering on the following five habits of excellence for the 18-19 school year:

  1. Leaning into Rigor and Routine
  2. Building Relationships
  3. Practicing Reflection
  4. Growing Resiliency
  5. Respecting Rest and Recreation

I am looking forward to teaching and learning much this school year—albeit I expect I’ll feel a little shorter as we close the year in May.  At some juncture, I imagine, I will look up at Teddy and he will say, “I prefer that you call me Ted.” Middle school!


Mrs. Colleen O. Potocki
Head of Middle School
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