Public Schools in the USA
School districts in the US
According to acronymmonster, public schools in almost all US states (except Maryland) are run by school districts (school districts), legally independent organizations created by the state government or local authorities. Geographically, the boundaries of school districts coincide, as a rule, with the boundaries of administrative districts (counties) or cities. There are over 14,000 school districts in the United States.
The school district is an independent local government that is funded by local taxes and in turn provides funding for public schools.
The school district determines the curricula and assessment standards required for all its member schools.
School districts are governed by the school board (board of trustees, board of education, school committee). The school board is elected by vote of the residents of the district.
School boards govern all three levels of US public schools: elementary school, middle school, and high school.
Elementary school in the USA
Elementary school in the USA is the first stage of compulsory secondary education.
Depending on state regulations, children begin elementary school at age 5 or 6 and graduate at age 10 or 11.
As a rule, the “zero” class of elementary school is called Kindergarten in the USA, which literally means “kindergarten” in German. Primary school usually ends in fifth grade.
In elementary school, children are taught to read, write, and count. Then spelling, the basics of grammar, the beginnings of algebra are studied. In addition, elementary school usually has lessons in physical education, fine arts, natural sciences and others.
In an elementary school class, there are usually twenty to thirty students, with whom almost all subjects (except physical education, drawing, etc.) are taught by one teacher.
high school in the usa
Middle school in the USA is the second stage of schooling.
As a rule, these are the sixth-eighth grades, in which children study from 11-12 to 13-14 years old.
Unlike the elementary school, the secondary school has its own teacher for each of the subjects, and the students have a certain freedom in choosing the subjects they study.
The compulsory ones are usually mathematics, English, natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy – all of them in US schools are often combined into one subject called science), history, physical education.
As additional, you can choose a foreign language, music, drawing, or any of many other subjects.
Higher (high) school in the USA
The final stage of obtaining secondary education in the United States is a higher (high) school (high school).
Usually a higher school is the ninth-twelfth grades, in which children study from 14-15 to 17-18 years old.
In higher education, students are given a very large freedom in choosing the subjects they study. School rules always stipulate compulsory groups of subjects and the duration of their study. But within this group, the student can choose a direction that is more interesting for him.
For example, as a rule, it is compulsory for high school to study for at least two years of mathematics, four years of English, two years of science, three years of social studies, one year of sports, and so on.
But a group of mathematical subjects may include courses in geometry, algebra, trigonometry, the beginnings of analysis, statistics, and other sections of mathematics. The social science group – US history, world history, political science, psychology, sociology, etc. In addition, for almost every subject there are elementary and more complex courses (as well as the so-called Advanced Placement, AP, “advanced”).
In addition, there are a lot of optional, optional subjects: music, additional foreign language courses, the basics of a healthy lifestyle, the basics of doing business, and others. And again, a group of musical subjects can include piano lessons, jazz, a symphony orchestra, a choir, and others.
Among all these groups, each student independently chooses the most interesting subjects for him, taking into account the mandatory requirements, of course.
Such a system leads to the fact that in American schools there are no classes in the usual sense – that is, groups of students constantly studying different subjects in the same composition. The American student at each lesson is surrounded by other children, depending on the subjects he has chosen.
There are no physical education classes in US high schools, here students are engaged in any specific sport: basketball, athletics, swimming, football, etc. At the same time, it is absolutely normal to play one sport in the first semester and another in the second (often even in school programs, sports are divided into “autumn”, for the first semester, and “spring” – for the second). Sports in American schools are given a lot of attention.
Just like in colleges in the United States, informal but very widely used names for students of a particular year of study are common in higher education. Students in high school first year (ninth grade) are nicknamed freshmens, second year (tenth grade) – sophomores, third year (eleventh grade) – juniors and fourth, final year of study (twelfth grade) – seniors.
Even while studying in high school, students take tests for admission to universities or colleges (usually SAT or ACT). By the time they finish school, many children not only know whether they entered the chosen university, but also whether they can count on a particular scholarship.