Secondary education in USA: top schools to consider

Most children in the United States (about 87%) receive their secondary education in free public schools, but there are also private schools, where about 10% of U.S. students are enrolled.

Almost all private schools in the United States are operated by some form of religious organization, such as Catholic schools. Typically, private schools provide a higher level of education than public schools. There are also several private schools for gifted and talented children in the United States.

About three percent of students are home-schooled. The main reasons why American children receive a secondary education rather than a school education are religious considerations, any special (physical or spiritual) needs of the child, dissatisfaction with the academic curriculum, and parental concerns about a potentially unfavorable environment in the educational institution. Legislation in different U.S. states treats homeschooling in different ways. In some states, parents who want to self-educate their children even require a certain level of education. At the same time, despite the many controversies about the legality of homeschooling, its legitimacy has been confirmed by the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. School System

Education in each state begins at a different age. In some states, children begin their education at the age of 5, in others - at the age of 8. They finish at the age of 18-19. Schooling is divided into three levels: elementary, secondary and high school. It's not just about the curriculum. Each level of school is a separate educational institution, located in a separate building.

Primary School

Children enter kindergarten in the five-year old class. This step is optional in several states. Children learn communication skills and discipline. Learning is play-based. There is no homework. School buildings are usually one-story and located in parks and plazas. The campus has lots of space for games and sports.

Children then enter first grade and remain at this level through fifth grade. A distinctive feature of American education is the grouping of students according to their abilities. Even at the start of school, children are tested for IQ. Testing is administered annually after third grade. Students are moved to classes in more gifted or weaker groups. In gifted classrooms, the program is expanded and challenging, with a focus on continuing on to college.

Traditionally, reading, writing, arithmetic, and health are taught in elementary school. Native language, literature, geography, and history are studied. Work discipline and physical education are emphasized. The school week is five days and vacations are twice a year - winter and summer. Success is measured by points or credits. The minimum number of points required to advance to the next level.

Secondary School

This level begins in 6th grade and continues through 9th grade. The U.S. educational system is designed to teach each student the ability to make choices. Therefore, there are a limited number of required subjects in school, and the rest are optional. Required subjects: Math, English, Natural Science, and Physical Education. Each class has its own teacher.

The optional subjects are taught at a very high level, comparable to the university. These are journalism, rhetoric, and art. Each year, students are transferred to other classes based on their ability and credit.

Old fashioned

In secondary vocational education in the United States, children become high school students starting in 9th grade. Education here is more individualized. Children have a lot of freedom in their choice of subjects. However, there are minimum requirements that must be met in order to earn a HighSchoolDiploma (HSD).

This stage is designed to prepare for entry into higher education institutions. The compulsory subjects remain the same, while the elective subjects depend on the school profile. The school profile has different orientations.

  • Economic ;

  • Academic.

  • agricultural.

  • General.

Students who have achieved sufficient scores required by the institution can continue their studies at the university.

Why study at a school in the United States?

The United States is a country of opportunity, a multicultural society, and a high standard of living. The world's business and economic elite are concentrated here. U.S. universities occupy the top line of prestigious rankings. Attending a U.S. school is the first step to a prestigious university and brilliant career prospects.

The U.S. education system is considered one of the most progressive. In American schools, participation in real scientific and technological development is encouraged, leadership qualities are developed and the ability to defend one's views is developed.

In recent years, the United States has become a priority area for the education of schoolchildren. For example, parents see more opportunities for their children in the United States than in densely populated Europe, where it is difficult to obtain a work visa and apply for the education received.

Private schools in the United States are some of the most prestigious secondary schools. Here, children are purposefully prepared for admission to top universities, including elite Ivy League schools. Career counselors work with high school students, so these individuals already know what they want to be and choose subjects based on their future majors.

Foreign students prefer to study at private schools in the United States for the following reasons.

  • Higher levels of student preparation (reflecting the percentage of students enrolled in top universities)

  • Smaller classes (10-15 students) where teachers can focus on each individual.

  • Teachers who are interested in their own work and the success of their students.

  • Technology courses and labs.

  • Excellent conditions for sports and creativity.

  • Private boarding schools in the United States are a safe and picturesque area with educational buildings and homes.

  • Physical education is highly valued. Parents of athletically gifted children often choose schools that do not interrupt their studies and prepare their children for professional sports careers.

How to Attend School in the United States

To enter a high school in the United States, students must provide the following documentation.

  • Transcripts from the most recent years

  • Teacher's recommendation

  • Essay on a topic offered by the school

  • Certificates of successful completion of language tests

  • Diplomas and certificates of athletic and other achievements

  • Interviews (via Skype or in person if necessary)

Application deadlines vary from school to school, with some schools having fixed dates and others using the number of vacancies as a guide.

Best school in USA

Lake Forest College

Lake Forest College was founded in 1857. The school prides itself on its tradition, extensive educational programs and technology.

Students receive iPads for the duration of their studies - they download and fill out lab reports, use research databases, and monitor assignments and grades. Teachers use modern programs, video and audio recordings, 3D printers, and interactive displays in their courses.

Kent School

Kent School was founded in 1906, half a mile from Kent. Originally a boys' school, the administration decided to become co-educational in 1960. 

Students here are well rounded - the curriculum includes 172 academic courses, 56 student clubs and 25 athletic teams in recreation.

The Kent School was one of the first private schools to offer engineering education to its students. In 2014, the Applied Science Center opened on campus, complete with 3D printers and robotics equipment.

Northfield Mount Hermon

Northfield Mount Hermon was founded in 1879 to prepare students for admission to prestigious universities. More than 100 university representatives visit the school each year, where they introduce students to their educational institutions and help them choose a major.

A support team of faculty members - a partnership of 12 - works with students. They help solve everyday and academic problems - conduct scientific experiments, establish communication with fellow students, and decide on a future profession. The average experience of teachers is 20 years.

The school has a center for learning through action - the Center for Practical Learning. In the social entrepreneurship program, students create projects to solve existing social, economic, environmental and educational problems.

Pomfret School

Pomfret School is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASAC) - the oldest association in the United States that unites educational institutions with high standards of education.

The Pomfret School program meets the demands of the modern world: as part of the curriculum, students create passive solar greenhouses, calculate the carrying capacity of bridges, publish their stories, and present entrepreneurial ideas to investors.

Wilbraham and Monson Academy

Wilbraham and Monson Academy (WMA) is a school that offers a high level of education in math, economics and science subjects.

Perkiomen School

Perkiomen School is a private school that offers education in the American middle and high school system. The school staff makes every effort to inspire the best qualities in students' personal growth and development.

All of the school's programs are accredited by the American Association of Colleges and Schools, the Association of Boarding Schools, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. An important distinguishing feature of Perkiomen is the close contact the school maintains with the parents of its students: a report on the child's progress is sent to parents every three weeks.

Each student has a personal tutor; they meet once a week to discuss academic performance and school life. The school's motto is to learn from experience, including learning from mistakes. These guys are not afraid to leave their comfort zone - they start learning Chinese, they take part in boxing for the first time, and the school encourages these initiatives.

Edgewater College of the Arts

Edgware College of the Arts is one of the top three arts education boarding schools in the United States and the only boarding school west of the Mississippi River.

Children study music, theater, dance, writing, fashion design, film and digital media.

Graduates work in Broadway theater and television, play classical and jazz music professionally, and work in animation, graphic design, and photography.

Marianapolis Preparatory School

Marianapolis Preparatory School is a private, coeducational high school for students in grades 9-12.

The school actively uses modern technology for learning - personal Apple iPads, online courses, an electronic library, a portal with homework, grades and schedules. Students engage in computer clubs, create robots, learn to code, and repair complex technical equipment.

College readiness begins in 9th grade. A full team of specialists selects the right college for each student based on their aspirations, goals and academic abilities. In addition, high school students are prepared to pass exams and other entrance exams.

Tilton School

The Tilton School is a private, coeducational boarding school with a history of nearly two centuries.

Tilton School creates excellent conditions for learning and living in order for students to reach their full potential.

The school is accredited by the following organizations: Association of Boarding Schools, Northern New England Independent Schools Association, National Association of Independent Schools, and New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Johnsbury Academy

English Stone. Johnsbury Academy is an academically strong school that offers 30 subjects of in-depth study in addition to the main curriculum. The school is ranked in the top 20 boarding schools in the country for AP subjects offered (Boarding School Review, 2019).

For schoolchildren interested in modern technology, there are other engineering and technology courses.

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