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Rachel Carson Named 'School To Watch'

Middle school celebrates its national recognition.

Rachel Carson Middle School was selected as one of four middle schools in the state of Virginia as a "School to Watch" by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades.

The National Forum, which consists of more than 60 educators, researchers and officers of national associations and foundations, launched the "Schools to Watch" initiative in 1999 with the intent to improve schools for adolescents across the country.

Augie Frattali, principal of Rachel Carson Middle School, said the school celebrated the prestigious award June 9, where members of the Virginia Department of Education, the district school board, the National Forum and other officials attended the hour-long assembly.

The event, decorated by parents and staff with dream catchers to follow the 2003-04 school year theme, "Dare to Dream," included performances by the school's musical groups, including the Carson Choral, an all-teacher chorus.

"It was a wonderful assembly," Frattali said, adding the students understood the importance of the award. "I could not believe it, they were very well behaved and I believe they really enjoyed the assembly."

As a recipient of the award, the middle school joins 40 other schools in the nation to receive the designation.

Frattali said the school put together a team, consisting of teachers and parents, to brainstorm and apply for the award by reviewing the Forum's requirements of academic excellence, developmental responsiveness and social equability.

After applying, Frattali said the school was then subject to various visits by Forum members, interviews of students and staff and other reviews to see how well they measured up.

"Our students are fantastic, they come in here each day to learn," said Frattali. "They work so hard to achieve excellence."