Facebook is definitely the new class reunion. Anyone that has a facebook account, surely has reconnected with some old high school friends and even former classmates you might not remember. ClassFinders.com created a funny image of certain types of old high school friends:
When compared to High Schools in other countries, High Schools in the United States may seem to be lacking in some areas and completely over whelming in others. The differences between them may even seem to be staggering in comparison with others from around the world. Many differences prevail in certain areas such as curriculum, discipline, administration and even in school lunch programs. Although in the United States, many things that are mandatory such as extracurricular activities or elective classes are not in need in some areas of the world.
In the United States, there is a set base standard for education. This means that there are and will be classes that you must take through out High School in order to graduate. These classes are History, Physical Education, Mathematics, English and Science. However, between the grades of 9th, 10th and 11th these classes will vary from health, Economics and Social Studies to Chemistry, Algebra and Social Science. These classes are completed with approximately two elective classes each year such as Art or an additional Physical Education Class. Theses Elective Classes will vary through out the United States.
In France, these required classes change replacing Physical Education with Art and History changes into World History or Geography depending on the location. As with China who only has three or four required classes each of which are 2 hours long or more.
Although not allowed in most areas of the United States, corporal punishments such as spankings, the state of Texas being the only exception, are acceptable in many parts of the world such as Japan.
It is acceptable to reprimand a student with corporal punishment in most areas of the world such as Japan, and is frowned upon when not done if needed. However, if corporal punishment is involved the reason for its use should be hefty and well noted.
Year round schooling has yet to be established in many areas of the United States because of the work involved to make it possible. Many parents argue that being in school year round with limited breaks such as summer vacation, spring break and winter break will cut into much needed family time and ruin family vacations forever. Although year round schooling should be implemented because the United States has one of the highest drop out rates in the world, it would cut the time in High School from four years to two and one half years making the drop out rate fall by nearly thirty percent. This is because most drops occur within the first two semesters of eleventh grade.
Other countries such as certain areas in Russia have a very successful year round school platform that has helped many students avoid dropping out because they are tired of the routine or they need to find means of support. This has helped to keep drop rates low because these students are receiving their educations at a much faster rate than those in other countries.
In the United States high school is the typical last step before most adolescents turn in to adults. This coming of age or cross-over process not only addresses the continuing education of the students but also their maturation in to adulthood and as parents it is usually when we see our children test the boundaries one last time (or more) before they break free. In high school the children usually continue to improve their core skills in math, reading and writing; as well as, they have their first opportunity to actually pick some of the classes they want to explore (called electives) and to manage their own schedule. Another aspect of education at the High School level is that they have an opportunity to go deeper in to the study of sciences such as Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
All of these options and opportunities are self selected and in some cases only provided to those students that have shown an aptitude or capability in the subjects. Although the term ‘tracking’ isn’t very popular in the United States it can describe the academic selection process that occurs within the high schools. Those students who have done well in school leading up to high school can go on to take honors classes or other classes targeted to prepare them for going on to college.
The students who don’t apply for the higher level classes attend the regular level classes. Students can also mix and match and take a combination of honors classes in areas that are interesting to them and regular classes which are not. Typically the regular classes will cover less material, have less homework and go at a slower pace than honors classes. The grading scale is the same for both honors and regular classes and both typically meet State and Federal guidelines.
Along with the added academic freedom comes the introduction of organized clubs and sports outside of the classroom but within the school. These can include music (orchestra, marching and jazz bands), pep clubs focused typically on sports and the sports themselves. High School sports can include the core football, baseball and basketball sports and at larger schools it might include golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, rugby, hockey and I’ve even heard of bowling and chess teams. The sports supported tend to mirror the community interests of where the school is located and in some regions of the United States where there is a lack of college sports the high school programs can get almost fanatical support from the community.
The day that a youngster starts high school in the United States is a day that marks the beginning of a journey to adulthood that will be measured by many milestones. It’s an exciting time of life, however stressful too, and a lot of adults today say they would never want to go back and do it again!
A ninth-grader in high school is called a freshman, and being the new kids on the block, there’s usually a bit of razzing from the older high school students. High school itself is a big change too, as suddenly the students must change classrooms every time a bell rings, and have a specific teacher for each subject instead of one teacher for all subjects in one classroom. Although middle school is designed to help pave the way for high school, many freshmen still find the new way of doing things very stressful.
High school is more exciting than the other grade levels because now the students get to take elective classes in addition to their core curriculum coursework. Being able to spend an hour of the day in a shop class or an automotive class is a welcome change from the rest of the grind. Lunch becomes more interesting too, as high school students are given more freedom than before, and some schools even allow them to go off-campus for lunch.
In tenth grade, most sophomore students begin driving and by the end of the year have attained their driver’s licenses. This is a huge milestone for most teens, and being able to drive themselves to school instead of riding the bus is a status symbol of sorts.
Eleventh grade brings junior prom as well as the SAT and ACT tests, which measure students’ readiness for college. In twelfth grade, senior students who have not yet taken the SAT or ACT tests, or who need to re-take them due to low scores, must sit for them in order to be accepted into college. Senior prom is a big night too for the soon-to-be graduates, and a lot of time is spent deciding what college to go to and getting the financial end of college worked out.
Upon graduation, young adults can look back on their high school days and feel like they flew by as each milestone was passed. Yet these students are only beginning their lives; whether college-bound or heading out to begin working for a living, adulthood is now upon them.
When it comes to education the United States is ranked one of the highest countries in the world. Although elementary and junior high schools are an important part of the growing process for young children high school is where more advanced subjects are taught and grades carefully watched as they will be the primary determining factor in college enrollment. For this reason some families in the US choose to send their children to a private high school where education is thought to be the best albeit at a much higher cost.
While public schools are available to anyone in the community private high schools have an an enrollment program not unlike that of college. Past grades, social engagements and extracurricular activities determine whether a child will be accepted or rejected. Of course financial statements are also a determining factor as most private high schools are quite expensive, nearly as much as attending a college full-time. Some schools will have scholarships for exceptional students who couldn’t afford the tuition otherwise, but the number of students accepted this way will be very limited.
The curriculum of a private high school is not unlike that of the public system yet the quality of teachers in the classrooms will be considered substantially in the private schools. These teachers will be graduates of Ivy League or top-tier colleges, many will have a masters degree and have been working at the school for a long period of time. Certain classes that might be taught regularly in public high school, like shop class or automotive repair, would not be available at a private school; these classes might be substituted for a more advanced type of class such as Mandarin Chinese.
Many private high schools have a religious affiliation, usually they will be Catholic or another Christian denomination. In addition to their regular curriculum religion classes will be taught and students required to attend church twice a day, or more. Since these schools cannot accept federal funding due to their religious nature the tuition will be quite high and scholarships coming from alumni associations would be few and far between.
Finally, those who attend private high schools are usually on a fast track to certain colleges, usually Ivy League schools. These universities consider candidates from private high schools to be well-educated, excel in a sport or other extra-curricular and may often have family connections to that university already. Compared to their public counterparts the acceptance rate of private high school applicants to such universities is much higher. For all of these reasons private high schools are considered the best path to higher education and beyond.
In high school there are many choices as to what type of courses you can take. It is beneficial to take courses that will prepare you for the challenging courses that lie ahead in college. Completing classes like those described below will help you meet the basic admission requirements at most colleges.
English (Language Arts):
Language Arts is traditionally offered every year. Typical courses such as American and English literature, help improve writing skills, reading comprehension, and vocabulary skills. No matter which type of career is desired, it is beneficial to be able to speak clearly and write well.
Algebra and geometry problems are typically placed on college entrance exams so taking this course is definitely necessary. Math teaches you to think both logically and abstractly. Typical math classes in high school are listed below.
Trigonometry, calculus, and/or statistics
Science teaches you to think analytically and apply theories to reality. Commonly, a laboratory class is coupled with the teaching portion of the science class. Lab classes allow for hands on learning. Six semesters of science are usually recommended. Typical courses are listed below.
Social sciences round out your core curriculum. Classes help in understanding what is happening in the world and how you fit in it. They also prepare you for college-level courses. Typical courses are listed below.
Many colleges require at least two years of foreign language study. Foreign language study allows you to learn more about another culture but your own as well. Classes might include Spanish, French, German, or other languages.
Research indicates that students who participate in the arts often do better on standardized tests. The arts help you exercise your mind in unique ways, oftentimes outside of a traditional classroom setting. Art helps you explore and appreciate your creative side and those of others. Classes might include music, drama, dance and the visual arts.
Personal development courses may include career planning, parenting and child development, or personal finance. These high school courses gives you the opportunity to explore your interests through these optional classes or electives as they are sometimes referenced as. You may also be able to take classes in business, computer applications, automotive, construction and much more. These allow high school students the opportunity to foster new career choices.