Be careful ! The meaning of “public schools” in the US is different from the UK. Public School in America refers to schools run by a governmental authority. They can be state-run or funded by local school districts. Schools are usually financed by taxpayers, so tuition is free; yet parents often have to pay for optional programs (sports, music, etc). In public schools there is no religious instruction.

    Private School” means the establishment is run by private entities, independent from federal or state government (like UK's …”public” schools !). These schools may reject the students that are below-average, may offer religious instruction, and do charge tuition. “Parochial schools” are run by churches or religious orders.

    Preschool” is generally provided by churches, daycares (Fr.: crèches), or cooperatives. Just before school, children go to Kindergarten, a class for 5-year-olds. “First grade” refers to the first year of schooling ; it starts in September following the child's sixth birthday. Grades 2 to 12 follow for the next eleven years. The grade levels K-12 are obtained in primary school (or elementary school, usually K-5 or K-6,), middle school (6-8, or junior high : 7-9), and high school (9-12 or 10-12).

    Students learn “required” subjects (English, Maths, Social studies, Physical Education, Sciences, Health). Among the “electives” you may find Chinese, Jazz band, Weight training (Fr.: haltérophilie), Leadership, Environmental science, Yearbook, Law enforcement, Culinary arts, Business ownership and so many others. For some electives, the first year is open to everyone, but the second is subject to teacher’s approval. These special classes may have an influence on your admission to college.


    Sources : 1. http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?AmericanSchoolSystem

    2. http://www.fremont.k12.ca.us/cms/lib04/CA01000848/Centricity/Domain/30/American%20High%20School%20Electives.pdf

    3. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/your-high-school-record/how-to-choose-high-school-electives



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