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April 2013

The US High School System

  • Depends on the state, and certain factors.

Every school is different. At mine, we have the same six classes everyday. (Some schools have block scheduling, so their students go to different classes everyday. European schools do this, I think.) 

Certain schools might do things differently; I’ve heard of schools that switch what classes you have every quarter, or every semester, or sometimes every day. It can be very different state to state, or even town to town. At the school I was in, classes wise, we had the core studies: English, Science, Math, and History. English was mandatory for all four years. The only science necessary was to have two years of science, with one year of lab science. 

High school systems in the US varies from where ever you’re at. From how your schedule is like {four to eight classes each semester}, how the school year is broken down, {quarters, trimesters, semesters, etc}, choice of classes. It ultimately falls on what city/state it takes place in, as well as the school district. 

more under the cut 
  • When they enter
American teenagers enter high school at the age of about 14, after attending either middle school or junior high (its the same thing it just depends on the local school districts.) 9th graders are referred to as freshmen, 10th as sophomores, 11th as juniors, and 12th as seniors. The school day of a freshman can be very similar to middle school. Typically the students will be broken into classes that travel from teacher to teacher but have nearly identical schedules. Sophomore year the students are mixed up more, but still have the same classes, just at different times. Junior and senior year the schedules become very different as you can choose your classes yourself. Juniors and seniors will have many classes together. Juniors take either an ACT or an SAT depending on where they live and these scores are looked at by colleges (universities) to determine admittance. Students typically graduate at 18. 
  • Typical school day
School starts at 8 AM and ends at 3 PM, but you can take a zero period, which means your first class starts at 7. (Alternatively, a seventh period lasts till 4.) You can take up to 9 classes a year. 
The school day would start out around 8, and then have forty minute periods until around two. lunch (for me) is half an hour, with a closed campus. after school lets out, there’s a bus, another optional forty minute period, and then another “late” bus. everyone’s classes are different depending on their grade level and what they want to do. 
  • School system
The school system, specifically? Four years in high school. GPA is measured up to 4.0 unweighted and 5.0 weighted. AP and honors (AKA, pre-AP in some school) classes are 5.0 (that is, a B in an AP class is equivalent to an A in a mainstream course). AP classes are (most similar?) to IB classes in terms of international comparison.
After middle school you start in 9th grade as a freshman and end in 12th grade as a senior, obviously. You are required to take a certain amount of “credits” (semesters) of certain subjects, usually math, science, history and English being the ones you need to take the most. At most schools it is required that you take a foreign language class as well. At the end of every semester you have to take finals and these are usually on the last day of school for that semester. And usually in April or May, depending on when school lets out, for certain grades you have to take standardised state tests. For example this year I’m taking one in English and geometry, but next year I have to take one in history and algebra. Everything is basically the same for the four grades, just the tests you have to take vary. I hope that helps at least a little bit!
  • Some requirements

The only amount of math necessary was to pass Algebra I, though a majority of people that I knew continued on. I took all the way up into Calculus. (A quick rundown of the math system we had: Into to Algebra —> Algebra I —> Geometry —> Algebra II —> Trigonometry —> Calculus AB —> Calculus BC; and then there were other side math classes, such as statistics.)

Three years of history were required, starting the 10th grade year. World History, US History, and American Institutions and Economics. Beside the base classes, there are usually Honors classes, or AP (Advanced Placement) classes, which you have to test into. Outside of the core classes, there were the electives, which consisted of many things, from pottery and theater to automotive shop and child development. There were a lot of clubs on campus, also, that you could join. That’s about it.

Also, check graduation requirements of the particular state or school you need, as they tend to have some differences.

  • School dances and parties.
I live in Texas, so American football, baseball and marching band are a huge deal and are very competitive. We also have school dances like homecoming and prom. For our school, prom is Sadie Hawkins, where the girls ask the guy to prom. 
List of school dances
  • Big schools
 I went to a huge school district in the US. Overcrowding was a major issue, so we had multiple kindergartens and elementary schools (grades K-6th) that fed into fewer junior high schools (grades 7 & 8), and then we had two separate freshman buildings for the 9th graders and two high schools for 10-12. My high school alone had 1500 students in it, and the hallways had street names. Not all American schools are this big, but that’s my personal experience with it. 
Large submissions: 



contributors: wizardmon-livesemmathewinchesterfreneticfacadecounting-cloversdeaconatorhamletclubcodename-evebrokebookloverrel-andothebrokentinsoldier, anonymous, if your message is here but not your url, send me an ask

people that offered help: tinkerhugs (with private schools), sunrainstarsmoon (high school in California), brokebooklover (being in large schools, among other things),  iseedeanstown, rel-ando (high schools in general. california and washington), booksthatstartwitha, (public schools in Florida)

#education   #us   #writing help   #writing   #research   #rfwpost   
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