Rachel Carson Middle School

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Rachel Carson Middle School
Rediscovering Our Sense of Wonder: 17 Years of Rachel Carson Middle School
13618 McLearen Road
Herndon, Virginia, 20171
Coordinates 38°55′46.39″N 77°25′18.84″W / 38.9295528°N 77.4219000°W / 38.9295528; -77.4219000Coordinates: 38°55′46.39″N 77°25′18.84″W / 38.9295528°N 77.4219000°W / 38.9295528; -77.4219000
School type Public, middle school
Founded 1998
School district Fairfax County Public Schools
Principal August Frattali
Assistant principals Stacy Kirkpatrick, Sybil Mack Terry, Phillip Hudson
Grades 7-8
Enrollment 1425[1] (January 2015)
Color(s)           Teal and Black
Mascot Panther
Newspaper The Carson Chronicle
Feeds into Westfield High School, Oakton High School, Chantilly High School, and South Lakes High School

Rachel Carson Middle School is a middle school in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, southwest of Herndon. The school is part of Fairfax County Public Schools. Its principal is Mary O'Malley. Opened in the 1998-1999 school year, it is named after the biologist Rachel Carson and was a School To Watch in Virginia in 2004, 2007, and 2010.[2][3]

Volunteers planted 1,500 trees around the school in 2008.

Due to its location and the fact that it has an AAP (Advanced Academics Program) program,[4] students come from an assortment of elementary schools, and graduate to a variety of high schools. Students attend either Westfield High School, Chantilly High School, Oakton High School, South Lakes High School, or other private schools as their high school. For students who qualify, Carson also consistently sends more students to TJHSST than any other school.[5] Elementary school feeders include Floris, Crossingfield, McNair, Fox Mill, Hunters Woods, Coates,[6] Poplar Tree, and also Lee's Corner, Oak Hill, Waples Mill, Navy, and Dogwood as part of its AAP program.

In November 2008, volunteers helped plant more than one thousand trees around the school.[7] Carson also has an array of 11 solar panels which help provide the school with electricity, installed in 2010 by its Going Green club.[8]

Electives and extracurriculars[edit]

There are a handful of electives offered at Rachel Carson, with most varying slightly by grade. Current electives include technology exploration, drama, men and women's chorus, career search, creative writing, orchestra, band, art, a computer solutions class and home economics classes. For 8th graders, Spanish, French, and Japanese are available as high school-level electives. Introductory electives to both Spanish and French were introduced in 2011, and are open to both grades. However, these are very basic courses with students learning little more than basic language use and culture. There is also a Media Communications course that allows students to participate in the school's newspaper and morning announcements.[9]

The school features the AAP program and also offers a Japanese language immersion program, with students participating in the latter coming from many elementary schools.

Rachel Carson offers an assortment of extracurricular activities, including Astronomy Club, Advertising Club, Debate Team, MATHCOUNTS, Friday Fitness Club, and Jazz Band.[10] In addition, two school plays are held each year: one for advanced drama students only, the other open to all students.

With the exception of an annual Students vs. Faculty volleyball game at the end of every year, Rachel Carson Middle School has no organized sports leagues or events.

The school has partnerships with HP Enterprise Services, Scitor Corporation, and Northwest Federal Credit Union.[4]

Team organization[edit]

Like many other Fairfax County middle schools, Rachel Carson is divided into ten "teams", similar to high school sub-schools. The teams are as follows:[11]

7th grade
  • A - All-Stars (AAP)
  • B - Trailblazers (AAP)
  • C - Champions (AAP)
  • D - Dream Team
  • E - Explorers
8th grade
  • V - Voyagers
  • W - Wolves
  • X - X-Treme (AAP)
  • Y - Yellow Jackets (AAP)
  • Z - Dolphins (AAP)

Each team has its own set of locker pods and core classrooms (Science, English, History/Civics, and Mathematics), and students usually attend classes within their team. However, in many cases, students are assigned teachers in other pods, especially in the case of math, where the courses taken by students vary widely.


Rachel Carson Middle School actively participates in many academic competitions, including Odyssey of the Mind, Technology Student Association, First Lego League, the American Mathematics Competitions, and Team America Rocketry Challenge, although the involvement of the school itself varies widely between activities. Carson is involved in the District of Columbia Urban Debate League and has sent teams to the National Championships at Claremont McKenna College in California. Carson also participates in MATHCOUNTS and has previously sent representatives to the state and national-level competitions.[12][13] In past years, Carson has also participated in the American Computer Science League and Science Olympiad competitions.


Every year, the school's motto changes to represent the number of years Carson has been around. A list of the mottos each year is provided below.

  • 2006-2007—Go the Whole Nine Yards
  • 2007-2008—Decade of Dreams
  • 2008-2009—Ocean's Eleven: A Sea Of Success
  • 2009-2010—Greater by the Dozen
  • 2010-2011—Lucky 13
  • 2011-2012—All For One and 1-4 All[14]
  • 2012-2013—15 Years of Fame[15]
  • 2013-2014—16 Years of Swimming in Success
  • 2014-2015—Rediscovering Our Sense of Wonder: 17 Years of Rachel Carson Middle School

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "201112 Membership Statistics by School". FCPS. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Schools to Watch". National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. Archived from the original on 2007-12-26. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  3. ^ "Virginia". Schools to Watch. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "School Profiles: Carson MS". FCPS. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Barton, Mary Ann (10 May 2012). "Which Middle School Sends the Most Students to TJHSST?". Herndon Patch. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "High Schools & Feeder Elementary Schools". Rachel Carson Middle School. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  7. ^ MacDonald, Gregg (2008-11-13). "Volunteers plant 1,500 trees at Rachel Carson Middle School". Retrieved 2008-12-08. 
  8. ^ "Carson Middle School Goes Solar With New Photovoltaic Panels". Fairfax County Public Schools. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Course Selection Guide 2012-2013" (PDF). Rachel Carson Middle School. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "After-School Program". Rachel Carson Middle School. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  11. ^ "Academic Teams". Rachel Carson Middle School. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 
  12. ^ "The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia State Champions Travel to Denver for the Lockheed Martin MATHCOUNTS National Competition - 2008". Reuters. 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  13. ^ "MATHCOUNTS Competition Sends 4 Students To Finals". 2005-04-08. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  14. ^ The Carson Courier (PDF) (Herndon, VA, USA: Rachel Carson Middle School) 14 (1). August 2011
  15. ^ The Carson Courier (PDF) (Herndon, VA, USA: Rachel Carson Middle School) 15 (1). August 2012 http://www.fcps.edu/RachelCarsonMS/newsletter/2012.august.pdf.  Missing or empty |title= (help)