Principal Stokes Welcomes Carson Families to the 2018-19 School Year

August 02, 2018

August 1, 2018

Hello Panthers,

Welcome to the 2018 – 2019 school year.  It is an honor to greet you on behalf of the Rachel Carson staff.  We hope that this summer provided you with several weeks of rest, opportunities to recharge, and time to connect with friends and family.  Now that August has arrived, we can eagerly look forward to the start of a new year and your return to our hallways.

Over the years, our school has established many traditions that serve to connect us as a community.  One of the RCMS traditions that we hold dear is developing a theme that will run throughout the school year.  The theme helps to build a sense of unity, allowing for all students and staff to find common connections that we can share and discuss.  The theme for 2018-19 is #FocusOnYourWhy.  Everyone has a “why” – a goal, a motivation, something that is worthy of using your energy and determination in order to achieve.  Throughout the year, we will spend time exploring our “why” and better understanding what this means for our lives as students and educators, at home, in our community, and beyond.  I challenge each of you to begin thinking about your “why” and what this looks like in your life inside and outside of school.

 A second great tradition is our OneBook.  For many years, our staff has selected a book for all students and staff to read.  Much like our theme for the year, the OneBook offers many chances for all of us to stay connected through the shared experience of reading the same novel.  This year’s selection is I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda.  We hope that you enjoy this memoir of two people who find a special connection across distance and culture.  Please take time to read this book over the summer.  We will talk about their story and how it relates to situations that we might face during the middle school experience.

When you consider the whole course of your education, middle school is a brief, two-year portion of your journey.  However, these two years are very important as you transition from elementary school, but before you set your sights on high school.  I want for every student to have a positive, rigorous experience.  7th graders – you are now members of a proud school.  From day one, your positive involvement in classes and participation in the many activities that are offered here will make our school a better place.  8th graders – continue the positivity that you have already demonstrated.  Provide leadership to our new class of students while also demonstrating excellence in the classroom.  As a school staff, we are planning a variety of academic and extracurricular activities that will help you to become a better 21st Century student – someone who is a creator, a critical thinker, a strong communicator, and a great collaborator.  It is our vision to help you grow in each of these four areas by providing many authentic learning experiences.

Please take note of some important dates that will happen before the start of school.  We intend for these events to offer a smooth transition to the new school year.

  • Wednesday, August 22nd:   Panther Palooza is back for a fourth year!  This is an exciting afternoon where students and parents are invited to RCMS.  Join us to receive and turn in important paperwork, take a first look at your schedule, purchase P.E. uniforms, drop off medications, learn about bus routes, and gather information essential to the start of the year.  Check out our weekly News You Choose messages for further details.
  • Friday, August 24th:  New Student Orientation.  All rising 7th graders and 8th graders new to Rachel Carson are invited to this event.  Students will have a chance to meet their teachers and walk through their schedule.  Orientation occurs from 9AM to 11AM.  More details (including transportation information) to follow.
  • The first day of school is Tuesday, August 28th.

Please continue to check the Rachel Carson website ( for additional information about our school.  Details about events, course information, and facts about our school can be found there.  Further, we send weekly News You Choose messages via e-mail, providing timely information about upcoming events.  For all Twitter users, please follow our school profile (@RachelCarsonMS) in order to get a different perspective on what happens each day at RCMS.    

While academic success and progress are both very important, we also want to see our students thrive as positive citizens in our school community.  To work towards this important goal, we ask that our students do their best to demonstrate the Three Rs. 

  • Be Ready:  Take time to be prepared for each day at RCMS.  Arrive to school and to each class on time.  Work on a plan for organizing your materials.  Get a good night’s sleep so that you have the best energy for your work in class.
  • Be Respectful:  Treating fellow classmates and staff members in a positive manner is so important.  Demonstrate respect through positive interactions with fellow students, teachers and staff members.  Practice listening to different points of view.
  • Be Responsible:  You have the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat for your education.  Use your voice to ask questions and self-advocate.  Use the daily assignment book and other tools to keep track of your assignments.  If you do hit an obstacle, teachers and staff members will support you.

Please make sure to mark Back-To-School Night on your calendar.  This event provides an opportunity for parents and guardians to meet the teachers and learn more about each course, the curriculum, and school policies.

  • 7th grade Back-To-School Night:  Thursday, August 30th
  • 8th grade Back-To-School Night:  Thursday, September 6th

Once again, welcome to a new school year.  We look forward to greeting you soon!


Gordon Stokes

Principal, Rachel Carson Middle School