CHALLENGING ACADEMICS IN A SUPPORTIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
At Potomac, we believe that intellectual growth, love of learning, and strength of character are equally important educational goals. Our challenging and enriching curriculum and supportive environment are the keys to achieving these goals.
Each day, our students engage in the joyful work of learning and personal growth. In collaboration with their classmates, teachers, advisors, and coaches, they expand their knowledge, sharpen their skills, and discover how they can make a positive difference within our school community and in the wider world.
Lower School guides students toward a lifelong love of learning while equipping them with foundational skills for social, emotional, and academic success. Our deeply committed, highly trained teachers know that children in this age group are naturally curious; through dynamic lessons, discussion, and hands-on activities, our classroom communities examine questions and build critical connections to the world around them. Every week, students engage with literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, art, and music, learning to work both in groups and independently. Lower School graduates move on to Middle School as engaged, creative problem solvers, ready for their next adventure.
Middle School’s inquiry-based curriculum enables students to use their creativity and curiosity in an active way as they dig into a variety of academic disciplines. All Middle School grades are homeroom-based, and classes are kept small to facilitate the close connection between homeroom teachers and students. Students switch classes for science, Spanish, library, P.E., health, art, and music. Given ample opportunity to share their ideas, MS students know that their voices have value; when they reach sixth grade, they can apply for leadership positions in various clubs and committees that matter to them. The academic and personal skills developed at this level prepare students well for the challenges and excitement of Intermediate School.
Intermediate School offers programs and activities tailored to the unique needs of seventh and eighth graders. For the first time in their Potomac career, students in IS change classes for each subject, experiencing various instructional styles and teacher expectations. Core subjects become increasingly sophisticated and elective offerings broaden, giving students opportunities to explore and develop their interests. Our Advisory system ensures that every student is supported by a faculty member who helps him or her navigate the academic, social, and emotional landscape of adolescence. Our goal is for each IS student to develop the strong academic foundation, healthy self-confidence, and positive interpersonal skills that are essential for success in high school.
Upper School’s rigorous and enriching curriculum inspires a love of learning and provides a strong foundation for continued intellectual growth. Required and elective courses in a wide range of academic disciplines develop breadth of understanding and offer opportunities for deeper exploration in areas of interest. US students are challenged to think critically and creatively; express themselves clearly and articulately; make relevant connections between disciplines; and begin to explore the many ways that knowledge and skills can be applied to address real-world issues. With diverse opportunities for participation, leadership, and service, Upper School supports both intellectual development and character formation, preparing Potomac graduates to succeed in college and beyond.
When heroes of history, literature, and lore set out on a quest, they don’t go it alone. They carry with them the voices of their mentors, people who challenge them to try harder, go further, and do more. At Potomac, our teachers are those mentors, daring their students to take the intellectual risks that will make them not just good students but exemplary human beings. Our advisory program pairs students with carefully selected mentors, ensuring that each student is truly known, nurtured, and put to the test.
Our students are well-rounded. That might not sound risky, but it is. It’s one thing to excel naturally as an athlete, artist, or academic, but it's quite another to try something new – something a student might not, at the outset, be very good at. That’s why all of our students perform onstage, learn a new language, play sports, and more. And when it comes time to choose an essay topic or science project, you can bet Potomac students don’t shy away from a challenge.
In asking our students to take risks, we are asking them to fail. In return, it is our obligation to teach them to bounce back, dust themselves off, and try again. Tenacity, more than talent, will serve our students best in the long run. Is perseverance something that can be learned? We think so. It takes practice, patience, and a supportive community that has students' backs – now and forever.