FCPS Takes Steps to Phase-In Middle School Sports


Bill Curran has been fielding questions regarding sports at the middle school level for years, but now, the county is actually moving to do something about it. 

“Right now. It’s a hot topic,” said Curran. “We’re looking to bring in some middle school sports and pilot it. And actually, your principal, Dr. Patrick, is a big  part of that.”

Dr. Patrick is a representative on a committee looking at how FCPA can bring in some competitive sports between the schools at the middle school level. 

According to Curran, the reason that FCPS hasn’t done so in the past is that they just didn’t plan for it before they grew to their current size.  Fairfax county is one of the largest school districts in the country. 

“We started to grow very fast, and they didn’t keep up with building in the facilities at the middle school level, so the decision was made that the communities had the youth through high school and that the high schools would offer the athletic programs.

Many of Longfellow’s students play in these community leagues, and it remains to be seen how middle school sports would impact those institutions.

Though they’re not sure how it will look, one focus for middle schools is making sports more inclusive.  Right now, at the high schools, only the best athletes get to play, but the county would like to open up opportunities to any middle schoolers interested in participating. 

 PE teacher Paul O’Connor is excited about the possibilities.  For starters, he wants to see equal sports for both men and women.  Beyond that, he’s got lots of ideas. 

“I think basketball would be an easy one to put in. Flag football I think would be an easy one to put in. Volleyball,  the kids love volleyball, so I think volleyball would be an easy one to put in, and maybe archery because a lot of schools do have it.”

According to the Washington Post Gazette, top sports for teens include football, soccer, baseball and, at the top, basketball.  The big surprise on the list is tennis. They reported that there was a 29 percent increase in kids who played tennis on a regular basis between 2019 and 2021.

However it ends up looking, the hope is that it will help build community and keep students invested in their education.  

“You have a certain amount of attachment to the school when you’re participating in athletic programs, or clubs or anything else. You feel like you belong,” explained Curran. 

Curran believes that sports can provide another level of attachment to school through supporting the athletic programs whether students are playing in  them, supporting their teams, or  just watching them

“That’s a big factor of why we even have the programs,” he added.