Understanding the American School System

Understanding the American School System

The American School System is easier than many school systems out there. American children start school at age 5 in kindergarten. The grades start at 1st grade through 12th grade, which is the end of high school. If a child is held back to redo a grade level this is only because of low grades or having frequent absences. Grades 1-6 is considered elementary school while junior high is 7th – 9th grade and high school is 9th through 12th grade. For younger students, it is preferable that a student goes to school close to home although high school can be a drive. A 9th grade student is called a Freshman, a 10th grader is a Sophomore, an 11th grader is a Junior, and a 12th grader is a Senor.

School begins in August or September and generally ends in May or June. Teachers also get summer vacation off since summer is from May to August or September. In the United States, students are required to have specific vaccines like polio, DPT (diphtheria, tetanus or whooping cough, and MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). Some schools now require a tuberculosis vaccine as well. Students take classes like math, social studies, science, English, art, biology, chemistry, and social studies, or astronomy. Unfortunately, educators are not paid very well in the United States, which is something that needs to change. Educators in some states do not make a livable wage. Public schools are considered less attractive than private schools. Charter schools are in another category altogether even if they are public schools with a contract. Private schools are more expensive than public schools given that they require paying tuition every semester.

In contrast, the Canadian school system only has Kindergarten through 7th grade as elementary school, and they call it Grade 1. High school is grade 8 through grade 12.

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