Attendance, Late Arrivals, and Early Departures


Regular attendance is important for successful progress.  If a student is to be absent from school, a parent or guardian should inform the school by 7:30 a.m. either by phone (Attendance Line: 703-925-3636) or by email (CarsonMiddle.Atte[email protected]).  If a parent does not contact the school, the attendance system will automatically contact a parent. If a student misses a large number of days from school, an attendance notification letter will be sent home to parents.  Students that miss 10% of the school year for any reason are identified as “chronically absent.” There are three types of school absences: excused, unexcused, and pre-arranged.

Excused Absences include:

  • Parent notification of student illness, death in the family, medical or dental appointment, observance of a religious holiday, suspension, and other reasons approved by the principal.
  • The student is responsible for finding out what he/she missed and arranging to complete any missed work in a timely fashion.

Unexcused Absences may include:

  • Failure of the parent to notify the school of the student’s absence.
  • Absences for reasons other than those listed under “Excused Absences.”
  • Family and/or student vacations, child care situations, non-school-related activities, missed school bus, or other reasons unacceptable to the principal will be marked as UNL - Unexcused Locally.
  • Absences of 15 consecutive days will result in the student being withdrawn from FCPS.
  • Pre-Arranged Absences of more than four days requires a completed Pre-Arranged Absence Form which can be obtained from the main office.
  • At least three days’ advance written notice is required.
  • Repeated unexcused absences will result in development of an attendance plan for the student and may result in a report to the FCPS attendance officer.

Pre-Arranged Absences at the End of the Year

  • End-of-year absences must be approved in advance. Two weeks’ advance written notice is required.
  • All required assignments and exams must be completed in order to receive final grades for the year.


Photo identification is required for adults picking up students during the school day.  Parents who wish to check students out early should have students bring a note to the main office in the morning stating the time and reason for early dismissal.  If a person other than the parent is to pick up a student, the note must state the name of the person.  The student is required to meet the parent or authorized adult in the office to sign out.  No student may leave school without checking out through the main office.


Safety is our primary goal at all times. Students may ride the bus or get a ride. However, bus riding is encouraged due to serious traffic congestion in the mornings and afternoons. Students must ride their assigned bus to and from school and on late runs except in emergency or unusual circumstances, such as a student temporarily staying with another family while a parent travels. Riding a school bus is a privilege. Any behavior that distracts the bus driver endangers everyone. Violations of bus rules and regulations can result in the loss of bus transportation privileges and other disciplinary consequences.


There are no walkers at Rachel Carson Middle School. For safety reasons, all students must take the bus or receive a ride from a parent or guardian.  Although bike riding is allowed, it is strongly discouraged due to traffic and safety concerns.


Late buses are available Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday starting in October for students who stay to work with teachers or attend after-school activities.  


Students are expected to attend all assigned classes on time, every day, except when properly excused. The school-wide tardy policy is posted in each classroom. Repeated unexcused tardiness to school or class is disruptive to the educational process and will be addressed by the student’s counselor and/or administrator.  All students who arrive at school after 7:30 a.m. must report to the front office for a pass before going to assigned classes.Tardiness due to oversleeping, missing the bus, or traffic is considered unexcused.  

Transportation Services

The Office of Transportation Services is responsible for providing the safe and efficient transportation of all eligible students to and from schools and school activities each day. Transportation Services includes buses, kindergarten transportation, walking and bicycling, kiss and ride, and driving to school.