Dear Middle School Parents,
Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year. I am honored to be joining the CSN community as the new Head of Middle School. We will have plenty of time to get to know each other as the year unfolds. To start, know that I love middle school.
How did I end up devoted to middle school? I like mud. Mud can be unfairly maligned if looked at through a narrow lens as something to be scraped off boots. When I think of mud, I imagine the thick, slapping mud pigs wallow in, the mud from Lake Techirghiol, in Romania, known for its restorative powers, and pure Dead Sea mud for sale on Cleopatra’s Choice website for $69.95. Playground mud. Construction site mud. Archeological mud. And middle school mud.
Middle school mud has the consistency of puberty, academics, growth spurts, energy, mistakes, social experiences and experimentation, emergent character and personality. Also, middle school is the time when the prefrontal cortex undergoes a substantial growth spurt. In essence, a middle school student functions without a fully established “CEO of the brain.” The demands of middle school years—especially the brain development piece—make necessary a layered, purposeful middle school program.
The Community School of Naples has a middle school program that is tailored to the developmental needs of pre-adolescents and adolescents:
- a student-centered academic approach addressing the academic, social, emotional, physical, and ethical needs of each student
- intentional and ongoing curriculum development and design responsive to the unfolding future
- rich elective choices allowing students to create a schedule that feeds their passions but also encourages exploration
- small class sizes nurturing student engagement and voice as well as accountability
- grade-specific advisory groups threading academic coaching and community building into each student’s school routine
- an articulated set of core values and honor code discussed, practiced, and lived
- a wide range of middle school clubs, sports teams, and community service opportunities complementing the classroom experience, deepening student learning, connection, and commitment to their school and the larger community
- a Global Exchange Program inviting middle school students to experience international travel and culture—a chance to literally become “global citizens”
Additionally, and most importantly, the CSN middle school faculty are as talented, credentialed, and experienced as they are interesting; for example, Mr. Lindner not only teaches sixth grade English but he also has served in the U.S. Air Force and plays bagpipes wearing a full kilt outfit. The pedagogical expertise of the faculty and their relationships with students is the bedrock of the CSN middle school. My son Teddy will begin his CSN middle school journey in 6th grade for the 2017-2018 school year.
We are both excited to be joining the CSN community. I look forward to knowing CSN students and their families well.
Mrs. Colleen O. Potocki Head of Middle School