If you're moving to
the United States and have a family, knowing more about the U.S. school system
can help you decide which part of a metro area to settle in. Additionally, by
learning as much as you can about American schools, you can help your children
prepare for the transition from the Australian system and eliminate some of
their fear of the unknown.
To help you begin to
explore the ins and outs of the U.S. school system, here are some basic facts:
- The majority of
American children attend public schools, which are run by local school
districts. These schools are free for anyone who lives within the school
district's service area to attend.
- Roughly 10% of
American children are enrolled in private schools. These institutions are run
by religious groups and other organizations. The majority of these schools
charge an annual tuition.
- State governments
set most of the standards and laws that govern public schools. Private schools
must adhere to some, if not all, of the state laws. Federal laws also place
national mandates that all states must enforce.
- Compulsory education
in most states in the U.S. starts with kindergarten. Children are usually
enrolled when they are five or six years old.
- In all states,
children must complete grades 1-12. Typically, children begin first
grade at age six or seven, going on to complete high school at the age of 17 or 18.
- Kindergarten through
grade five is typically considered primary or elementary school. Grades 6-8 are often referred to as middle school or junior high. High school is the
term given for grades 9-12.
- High school students
typically have a choice to attend a vocational-technical school to learn a
trade or to take traditional courses.
- Advanced level
classes are offered in many subjects. These are sometimes referred to as "Honours"
courses. Some schools offer classes that can result in college credits with the
successful completion of a culminating exam. These are known as Advanced
Placement or A.P. courses.
- Most schools begin
classes during the last weeks of August and conclude classes at the beginning
of June. The months between school years are referred to as "summer
vacation" or "summer break".
- Schools typically
take a recess that lasts 10 days to two weeks over the Christmas holidays, which is the "winter vacation" or "winter break".
- During the Easter
holiday, many schools have a spring break that lasts for three days to one
week, known as "spring break".
- Some states have
achievement tests that students must pass to move from one grade to another or
to graduate from high school.
If you have questions
about schools in the U.S. or would like more information about the education
options in the part of the country to which you'll be moving, contact us here
at Chess Moving. We'll be glad to assist you.
- Students who wish to
attend college after high school must typically take one of two standardised
tests: the SATs or the ACTs. Each college in America establishes minimum
scores for acceptance.