Contact Us

Lisa Medici
ETC Coordinator
(Education That Continues)

Wendy Smith
Asst. Dir. Auxiliary Programs

Mimsy Stirn
Director of Auxiliary Programs

Registration is now closed. Check back soon for the Winter ETC schedule!

(September 24, October 1, 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19)

Delve into the world of contemporary painters with the fall session of Art Explorers! Each week, we will learn about a different contemporary artist and paint in the style inspired by that artist with acrylic paints on canvas.

Mondays, 3:30–4:30 pm
Diana MacKenzie, Lower School Art Teacher
Grades 3-6

Cooking Maniacs will bake simple but yummy recipes. Participants will learn to mix, measure, and prepare the ingredients. While they wait for their creations to bake, they will enjoy some free-choice time and get to know each other. Recipes made will include fresh fruit salsa and cinnamon, garlic bread, waffles with toppings, cheese sticks/cinnamon sticks, banana-and-chocolate pudding, banana chocolate-chip bread, biscuits and jam, and fresh fruit and yogurt smoothies. Of course, eating the finished product is always the best part!

Polly Nagell, Kindergarten Teacher
Mondays, 3:30–4:30 pm
Grades K–1

The Real Me aims to empower sixth grade girls and help them discover their authentic selves, connect with others, and take positive action in the community. Participants will meet women leaders from inside and outside the Potomac community; participate in a service learning project in northern Virginia, and talk and work with Upper School girls who can serve as outstanding peer role models. While the program has a serious purpose, it is structured around engaging, age-appropriate activities that make our time together fun and exciting. All sixth grade girls are welcome to participate!

Mondays, 3:30–4:30 pm (also meets during club lunch on Wednesdays. PLEASE NOTE, this is a seven-week class – meeting dates will be 10/1 to 11/19)
$35 registration fee
Weezie Parry, Middle School Counselor
Josie Woods, Upper School Counselor, Director of Student Support
Grade 6 Girls

Why robotics? The path towards a passion for STEM starts early, and sparking curious minds while engineering is “cool” is imperative. By its nature, the study of robotics inherently incorporates all four pillars of STEM. VEX IQ is a snap-together robotics system designed to provide an opportunity for future engineers of all skill levels. Through incorporating advanced concepts into an accessible package, the system also naturally encourages teamwork, problem solving, and leadership. Working with the VEX IQ platform gives the students a foundation in engineering design and programming at the Middle School age that will continue in the Intermediate School and directly translate to VEX Robotics in the Upper School. The VEX IQ platform introduces students to RobotC programming, which uses a standard coding that they will use in future years of robotics as well. The name of this year’s VEX IQ challenge is “Next Level.” Click here for more information about VEX IQ Team Challenge.

Click here to read more about 6th grade robotics

The 6th Grade VEX IQ Robotics team will meet Mondays and Thursdays after school from 3:30-4:30 pm September 24th through December 13th. Since teamwork is essential to the success of the program, it is mandatory that every member attend all after school meetings and tournament (date TDB). This team will compete at one local tournament near the end of the robotics season. Coaches will determine team assignments and teams will be limited to 4 members each. No prior experience with robotics is necessary to be on this competition team, but space is limited.

Mondays and Thursdays, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
September 24, 27
October 1, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29
November 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 26, 29
December 3, 6, 10, 13
Ben Buursma, Middle School Science Teacher
Dr. Isabelle Cohen, Upper School Science Teacher

(September 25, October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, November 6, 13)

Bring your ideas to life with Adventures in 3D Printing! Using TinkerCad and Sketchup as our platforms, students will take their design ideas from thought to reality and gain an understanding of design, scale, graphing, and 3D printing in the process. 

Tuesdays, 3:30–4:30 pm
Dr. Isabelle Cohen, Upper School Science Teacher
Grades 4–6

Begin learning the guitar and experience the fun rewards of making music, for both new and continuing students. New students will learn tuning, basic chords, reading notes, strumming patterns, and all the elements to start playing songs. Returning students will build on their skills and complete the notes in first position. No experience is necessary, and students work to be able to accompany, play simple melodies, and play different parts in an ensemble.

Students will need an acoustic guitar and a folder for music. Each lesson builds on the last, and home practice routines will be specified each week.

Tuesdays, 3:30–4:30 pm
$200 (PLEASE NOTE, students will need to provide an acoustic guitar and a folder for music.)
Ben Altman, private music teacher
Grades 4–6

Learn chess fundamentals in this fun, playful class! The first 10–15 minutes per session are spent on instruction, using the chess demonstration board and selected online materials. For the rest of the session, we’ll play friendly matches and/or more competitive ladder matches, while the instructor spot teaches and plays "teaching games". Topics covered: rules of chess, nomenclature, openings, middle game/end game strategies and tactics, and chess history and culture.

Tuesdays, 3:30–4:30 pm
Mark Ryan, Summer Programs and ETC Chess Instructor
Grades K–8

Woodland Adventures is a great opportunity for students to explore all the beautiful Potomac campus has to offer. Rain or shine, we will participate in activities such as scavenger hunts, hikes and crafts. To be prepared for all activities and weather, students should come prepared with shoes that can be worn in the mud. We will have extra rain boots for any child who would like to borrow a pair. We are so excited to host Woodland Adventures again and can't wait to spend time enjoying the great outdoors!

Tuesdays, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Sarah Lucas, 1st Grade Teacher
Mary Kate Facchina, 2nd Grade Teacher
Grades 1-3

5th GRADE SUMO BOTS - Space available
3, 2, 1 Sumo! Sumo Bots are a modern blend of the ancient Japanese sport of Sumo Wrestling and the technological thrill of Battle Bots. Small robots compete on a raised ring, attempting to push each other off. Sumo Bots will be built on the Lego EV3 platform and programed using a combination of Lego Mindstorm and RobotC software. Matches will be held every other week in the lab as student teams collaborate, design, build, and improve their Sumo Bots. In addition to planning, construction, and programming, students will learn to document the process in an engineering notebook.

Tuesdays, 3:30 - 4:30 pm (PLEASE NOTE, this class will meet 10/2 to 11/20)
Jenni Ashley, Grades 6-12 Academic Technologist
Shing Wai Koo, Lower School Teaching Fellow
Grade 5

(September 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24, November 7, 14, 28)

Learn about public speaking and discourse through debate! Participants in this class are expected to prepare and debate using evidence that is provided and evidence they produce through their research. Students will compete at least once during the course assuming the Potomac Debate program can schedule an age appropriate tournament. Students will receive instruction from the varsity coaching staff as well as current varsity students in the US competitive program. 

Wednesdays, 3:30 - 5:30 pm (PLEASE NOTE, this is a 10 week class – meeting dates will be Wednesdays 10/3-12/12)
Harry Strong, Director of Public Speaking and Forensics
Dr. Jeremy Metz, Assistant Speech & Debate Coach
Grades 6-8

Play-Well Intro to STEM with LEGO
Power on your engineering skills with Play-Well TEKnologies and tens of thousands of LEGO® parts! Apply real-world concepts in physics, engineering, and architecture through engineer-designed projects such as Bulldozers, Hovercrafts, Hot Air Balloons, and the Eiffel Tower! Design and build as never before, and explore your craziest ideas in a supportive environment. An experienced instructor will challenge new and returning students to engineer at the next level.

Wednesdays, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Play-Well TEKnologies
Grades K-3

Join us to learn a sport that is both fun and healthy! This program introduces your child to tennis and helps develop hand-eye coordination, agility, balance, movement, racquet skills, and sportsmanship. We develop the fundamental strokes: forehand, backhand, volleys and serves using drills and games in a fun, safe and friendly environment.

Wednesdays, 3:30 - 4:30 pm (PLEASE NOTE this is a 6 week class – meeting dates will be 9/26-11/7, no class 10/31)
Top Notch Tennis Instructors
Grades K-3

The VEX IQ platform gives the students a solid stepping stone between the former First Lego League Robotics in the Middle School to VEX Robotics in the Upper School. By incorporating advanced concepts into an accessible package, the system also naturally encourages teamwork, problem solving, and leadership. Working with the VEX IQ platform gives the students a foundation in engineering design and programming at the Intermediate School level that directly translates to VEX Robotics in the Upper School. The VEX IQ platform has a very robust programming environment, allowing students to utilize up to 12 sensors and motors. This platform is also supported by a free powerful computer aided drawing program (CAD), designed specifically as an introduction to CAD. The students going through the VEX IQ robotics platform will leave the Intermediate School with a strong understanding of engineering and design concepts. The name of this year’s VEX IQ challenge is “Next Level.” Click here for more information about VEX IQ Team Challenge.

Click here to read more about 7th & 8th grade robotics

The VEX IQ Robotics team will meet EVERY WEDNESDAY after school from 3:30-5:30 pm from September 12th through February 27th. Since teamwork is essential to the success of this program, it is mandatory that every member attend all after school meetings and tournaments. This team will compete at several Virginia tournaments and possibly the state championship in mid February. Competitions dates will be released as soon as they are opened for registration. Additional meetings may be necessary in anticipation of upcoming competitions. Students must be in grades 7 or 8 and have prior experience with FLL or VEX IQ to be on this competition team and space is limited. The application form must be filled out and turned in to Joleen Hyde, IS Administrative Assistant, by Monday, September 10th. There will be a mandatory group interview and challenge session on September 12th with all applicants and the team will be announced by September 17th.

The cost of the program is $750, which will cover all supplies, local tournament fees and transportation costs. If the team should advance to the VA State tournament, an additional fee of $200 per student will be charged.  If a team qualifies for the National tournament, the cost to participate will be approximately $700 per student (subject to change).

Please note: The Intermediate School VEX IQ Club (that does not compete) will be offered during the IS Winter Athletic Block (first week of November to early March). It is open to all IS students regardless of experience. It will be taught by Greg Mueller. More information on the club will be sent out later this fall. Those interested in participating in this club will sign up through athletics.

If you have questions about these programs, please contact Greg Mueller at Please click here to download the application form.

Wednesdays, 3:30 - 5:30 pm
Greg Mueller, Intermediate School Science Teacher
Shing Wai Koo, Lower School Teaching Fellow
Grades 7 & 8

(September 27, October 4, 11, 18, 25, November 8, 15, 29)

Get ready for a cooking party with Adventures in the Kitchen! Each week, your child will learn a new kitchen skill while preparing savory or sweet snacks that can easily be recreated at home. Recipes made will include s'mores pies, granola, pizza, nachos and cupcakes.

Thursdays, 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Catherine Fields, 6th grade teacher
Grades 2 - 3

Let your ideas flow! Join the Destination Imagination (DI) team and experience the creative process! The Destination Imagination program ( is a FUN, hands-on system of learning that fosters students’ creativity, courage and curiosity through open-ended challenges in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), fine arts and service learning. Our DI participants will learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process.

Like Math Olympiad or Odyssey of the Mind, this program requires a commitment to the collaborative and inventive spirit of this three-month experience. Students will have the opportunity to showcase their challenge solutions at the local tournament in March. Details on the competition date and location to be announced.  The competition is an all-day event in which students present their solutions to two challenges, watch other participants, and engage in other fun activities throughout the day.  Parents are encouraged to attend this Saturday competition.

Each Thursday session will begin with an Instant Engineering Challenge to rev up the students’ brains. The session will then continue with students working in small teams to meet a bigger challenge, which involves:

  • Learning and applying engineering principles.
  • Designing and building to meet one of the DI challenges.
  • Creating a story to go along with the build.
  • Designing costumes and props.

Thursdays, 3:30 - 4:30, (PLEASE NOTE, this class will meet from from11/29/18 through 2/28/19.)
Jenni Ashley, Grades 6-12 Academic Technologist
Grades 4 - 6

Work smarter by learning how to type! As school work becomes increasingly performed on computers, today’s busy students can be more efficient by learning to type. Finish your homework in half the time! Students use a personalized system that allows them to progress at their own pace. In this practical class, students learn to type with a mix of typing lessons, drills, games and tests. Instant accuracy feedback after every lesson. Move from beginner, to intermediate to advanced and earn badges for every level conquered!

Thursdays, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Spark Academy
Grades 4 - 6

Yoga for Kids, Grades K-2
Build strength, flexibility, balance, and stamina with Yoga for Kids! Each week, children will incorporate yoga postures as they play, move, stretch, breathe and relax. In addition to balancing like trees and stretching like dogs, children will create, tell, and listen to yoga-inspired stories. Students should wear comfortable clothes that they can move and stretch in. They can bring their own mats or use mats provided by ETC. Gay Brock, the instructor, has been practicing yoga for 20 years and is a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher and has earned a YoKid certification. Gay also teaches yoga in the Upper School.

Thursdays, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Gay Brock, K-8 Health Coordinator
Grades K-2

This group will meet on Mondays and Thursdays (and weekend competition - date TBD), September 17, 2018 - December 14, 2018. Please see description under Monday for full details.

Mondays and Thursdays, 3:30 - 4:30 pm
Ben Buursma, Middle School Science Teacher
Dr. Isabelle Cohen, Upper School Science Teacher
Grade 6