US Schools


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US Schools

  1. 1. Schools in the United States Elizabeth Therese Gaughan English Language Assistant IES La Arboleda A Basic Overview
  2. 2. Role of Government in Education <ul><li>Education is a power delegated to the states. Therefore, laws and norms of the education system vary by state. </li></ul><ul><li>However, the federal government has the right to become involved in education when a vital national interest is not being met by states or localities, or when national leadership is required to address a national problem. </li></ul><ul><li>Funding for education comes from local, state, and federal governments. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Grade System <ul><li>The first year of compulsory schooling begins with children at the age of five or six. </li></ul><ul><li>Children are then placed in year groups known as grades, beginning with first grade and culminating in twelfth grade. </li></ul><ul><li>The U.S. uses ordinal numbers for naming grades, unlike Canada and Australia where cardinal numbers are preferred. Thus, Americans are more likely to say &quot;First Grade&quot; rather than &quot;Grade One&quot;. </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>A school district operates the primary and secondary schools of one or more towns. The people of those towns pay taxes to the school district. Children attend the school which is operated by the district in which they live. </li></ul>School Districts I attended Blue Ridge Elementary School, BR Middle School, and BR High School, which make up the Blue Ridge School District .
  5. 6. <ul><li>The citizens of a school district elect a school board (or board of education ) which determines educational policy for the district. Depending on the size of the district, this could be a paid, full-time position or a volunteer position. </li></ul><ul><li>The school board appoints a superintendent , who functions as the district’s chief executive for carrying out day-to-day decisions and policy implements. </li></ul><ul><li>The school board also appoints a principal for each school in the district. The principal works with the school board to make executive decisions and has authority over teacher employment. Often, the principal is also in charge of student discipline. In larger schools the principal is assisted by a vice-principal (or assistant principal ). </li></ul>School Administration
  6. 7. <ul><li>Faculty and staff include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Classroom teachers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Special subject teachers (art, music, gym, computers, library, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specialists (speech therapy, English as a second language, reading, special education, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aides (help in and out of the classroom) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cafeteria workers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Guidance counselors (duties vary from serving as the school psychologist to helping with college preparation) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Custodial workers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Office workers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Athletic coaches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bus drivers </li></ul></ul>Faculty and Staff Members
  7. 8. <ul><li>Elementary school students generally study basic arithmetic, reading, spelling, and fundamentals of science and social studies. These subjects are all taught by one classroom teacher. </li></ul><ul><li>Students also see other teachers on a rotating basis of what are often called “ specials ”: physical education, music, art, library, and computers. </li></ul><ul><li>Elementary school teachers typically instruct between 20 and 30 students of diverse learning needs (including physical and cognitive disabilities, limited English proficiency, and gifted) </li></ul>Subject Areas – Elementary School
  8. 9. <ul><li>High school students generally take a broad variety of classes without special emphasis in any particular area. </li></ul><ul><li>Basic curricular structure for high school: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Science (usually two years minimum, normally biology, chemistry and physics) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mathematics (usually two years minimum, normally including algebra, geometry, algebra II, and/or precalculus/trigonometry) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>English (usually four years minimum, including literature, humanities, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Science (usually three years minimum, including various history, government, and economics courses) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical education (at least one year) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Many schools also require a health course which covers anatomy, nutrition, first aid, sexuality, and birth control. </li></ul><ul><li>Foreign language is also a requirement in some schools. </li></ul>Subject Areas – Secondary School
  9. 10. <ul><li>Most high schools offer a variety of electives which students may choose individually to complete their schedule. </li></ul><ul><li>Common electives include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual arts (drawing, sculpture, painting, photography, film) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performing arts (drama, band, chorus, orchestra, dance) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology education (&quot;Shop&quot;; woodworking, metalworking, automobile repair, robotics) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Computers (word processing, programming, graphic design) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publishing (journalism/student newspaper, yearbook/annual, literary magazine) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Foreign languages (Spanish and French are the most common) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Extracurricular activities are educational activities not included in the regular curriculum but under the supervision of the school. They often occur outside of regular school hours. </li></ul><ul><li>Extracurriculars include sports, musical groups, student governments, school newspapers, debate teams, and academic or cultural clubs. </li></ul>Electives and Extracurriculars
  10. 11. <ul><li>The scores for individual assignments and tests are generally recorded for each student in a grade book, along with the maximum number of points for each assignment. </li></ul><ul><li>At any time, the total number of points for a student when divided by the total number of possible points produces a percent grade which can be translated to a letter grade. </li></ul><ul><li>Letter grades are often used on report cards at the end of a marking period. </li></ul>Grading Scale Example Grading Scale F D C B A - + - + - + - + Below 60 Percent 60-62 63-66 67-69 70-72 73-76 77-79 80-82 83-86 87-89 90-92 93-96 97-100
  11. 12. <ul><li>Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. </li></ul><ul><li>Homeschooling requirements vary by states. Some states hold homeschools to the same laws as private schools, others have statutes particularly written for homeschools. </li></ul><ul><li>States also differ in testing requirements for homeschooled students. Some states require that homeschoolers complete certain standardized tests, others give wide latitude in the type of assessment accepted. </li></ul><ul><li>Some states require homeschoolers to submit information about their curriculum and lesson plans. </li></ul><ul><li>Some states allow homeschoolers to participate in extracurricular activities at the local public schools. </li></ul>Homeschooling
  12. 13. Resources and Further Information <ul><li>Education in the United States: The Pre-University Years (Electronic Journal from the U.S. Dept. of State) </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Education in the United States (Wikipedia Article) </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>U.S. Department of Education Homepage </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>