Skip to main content

Potsdam High School

About Us » Principal's Message

Principal's Message

Dear PHS Families,Principal

On behalf of the faculty and staff, I am very excited to welcome you to Potsdam High - a school where our students are able to explore, develop, and learn in a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment. We know a strong partnership with you will make a great difference in your child’s education. As partners, we share the responsibility for our children’s success and want you to know that we will do our very best to carry out our responsibilities.

Teacher-parent communication and collaboration have a powerful impact on student success; it is vital that we worktogether to ensure our children are prepared to meet the demands of an ever-changing world. If you have anyquestions, concerns, or suggestions, I encourage you to call, email, or stop in for a visit—parent-teacher conferences can always be arranged to discuss how we can work together to help your child be successful. You can also monitor your child’s attendance, discipline, missing assignments, and grades through the SchoolTool Parent Portal which can be accessed from the Potsdam Central website If you haven’t registered to use the Parent Portal, please call the District Office at 265-2000 (ext. 733) to sign up. We will also keep you informed through our website, weekly email updates, monthly newsletters, and Facebook page. 

Potsdam High School continues to address the social, emotional, developmental, and academic needs of our students and families in varied ways. As a district, we are continuing to integrate the Positivity Project (P2) into our school community. The Positivity Project focuses on helping students (and adults) identify their own individual character strengths. P2 stresses the importance of building positive relationships while identifying and appreciating the strengths in others. To ensure that our Freshmen get the support necessary to successfully navigate the transition to high school, we are launching our Link Crew program. Link Crew will provide Freshmen with mentoring, help, and guidance from Link Crew Leaders (Juniors and Seniors) throughout their first year at high school.

To better assist our students and families, we have reconfigured the PHS Guidance Department. Ms. Susan Hewlett will serve as the counselor for 9th grade students; Mr. Michael Dinan will serve as the counselor for 10th grade students; and Ms. Tisha White will serve as the counselor for 11th and 12th grade students. This new configuration will allow counselors to provide more individual attention and assistance with academic counseling, college and career preparation, mental health and crisis counselling, and family supports.

At Potsdam Central Schools, we strive to provide innovative, diverse, and personalized learning that will help students attain their post-high school educational and career goals. With this in mind, all students at PHS are issued a Chromebook for educational use at school and at home. The focus of the Potsdam Central School 1:1 Chromebook Program is to prepare students for their future—a world of digital technology and information. At Potsdam, we believe technology is an essential tool students will use as they learn, practice, and apply the skills necessary to be engaged and enlightened global citizens. Teachers at PHS will vary in their expectations for Chromebook use, but your student should expect to use this tool at times for instruction, assignments, projects, research, and assessments.

We work closely with Paul Smith’s College and SUNY Potsdam to offer a number of college-level course offerings.  Juniors and Seniors participating in college-sponsored courses may:
  • Enroll in a class and only elect to receive local/high school credit (no cost);
  • Register to take the class through the sponsoring institution to receive college credit at a reduced cost; and/or
  • Register and challenge the associated AP Exam (if available).

For the 2019-20 school year, the following college-level (CHS) courses will be offered at PHS.
  • CHS Cellular/Molecular Biology - Paul Smith’s College BIO 102 – Cellular/Molecular Biology (4 Credits)
  • CHS Calculus 1 -Paul Smith’s College MAT 241 - Calculus I (4 Credits)
  • CHS English Language & Composition - SUNY Potsdam COMP 101 - Writing & Critical Thinking (4 Credits)
  • CHS English Literature & Composition - SUNY Potsdam LITR 101 - Into to Literature (3 Credits)
  • CHS French 4 - SUNY Potsdam FREN 103- French Language III (3 Credits)
  • CHS French 5 - SUNY Potsdam FREN 203 - Oral & Written French I (3 Credits)
  • CHS Psychology - Paul Smith’s College PYSC 101 - Psychology (3 Credits)
  • CHS Sociology - Paul Smith’s College SOC 101 – Sociology (3 Credits)
  • CHS American Government & Politics - Paul Smith’s College POL 201 - American Gov’t & Politics (3 Credits)

Additionally, we will be offering two new elective courses—Anatomy & Physiology and Physical Science. During the school year, we will continue to review our academic program, survey students and parents regarding needs and interests, and explore ways in which we can provide rigorous and relevant courses in traditional and online formats to prepare our students for future challenges.

High school students experience an incredible amount of growth and have many opportunities for great accomplishments and success throughout their years at PHS. We are proud to be part of your child’s educational journey and look forward to collaborating and providing the best possible educational program for our children!


Mark R. Bennett