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Burgard Vocational High School, a High School in Buffalo, NY

High school is used in some parts of the world, particularly in Scotland, North America and Oceania to describe an institution that provides all or part of secondary education. The term "high school" originated in Scotland with the world's oldest being the Royal High School (Edinburgh) in 1505.

The Royal High School was used as a model for the first public high school in the United States, the English High School founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1821. The precise stage of schooling provided by a high school differs from country to country, and may vary within the same jurisdiction. In all of New Zealand and Malaysia along with parts of Australia and Canada, high school is synonymous with secondary school, and encompasses the entire secondary stage of education.

High Schools in the United States Edit

In the United States a high school is an upper secondary school which educates children from grade nine through grade twelve[1], in other words, from the age of 13 or 15 to 17 or 18 (in some states, such as California, some students begin the ninth grade at age 13). Prior to attending high school, many children in the United States attend a middle school or a junior high school (usually grades 5-6, 5-8, 5-9, 6-8, 6-9, 7-8, 7-9 or 8-9).[2][3]

Individual states, counties, and school districts have considerable leeway in how they choose to divide their school levels. Students will generally graduate from high school in the year of their 18th birthday if they were born between January 1 and August 31, but this varies by state depending on the kindergarten cut-off date, which ranges from August 1 in Missouri to January 1 in Connecticut and December 1 in California[4] A few American schools still incorporate grades 7 through 12, but it is usually either grades 9-12 or grades 10-12 although some states split grades 9-10 and 11-12 into a high school and senior high school. For purposes of the Grade Point Average (GPA) and subject requirements used for college admission, grade 9 is usually considered the first year of high school regardless of whether the student is in the last year of a 7-9 junior high program, or the first year of a 9-12 high school program. While high school is generally defined as being grades 9-12, there are some senior high schools that cover only grades 10-12, and typically accept students from a junior high school that includes grades 7-9. Some states consider grades 7-12 to be secondary education, while others consider grades 6-12 to be secondary education.

As a practical matter, while laws in most states mandate school attendance at least until graduation or age 16, many require attendance until age 17 or 18 (unless the student earns a diploma earlier, usually around age 16). Conversely, students who have failed a grade may remain in high school past the age of 18. In general, students over 19 attend remedial classes to receive a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. State laws vary on the cut-off age for students to receive free public education services. Many states have adult high schools for people generally 18 and over. Students can stay in high school past the age of 18 if it is deemed appropriate. They cannot stay past a certain age depending on the state. On average 71% of American students graduate from high school.[5][6][7][8] A high school diploma or GED certificate is usually required for entrance into a two or four-year college or university and to other post-secondary education programs.

High schools can usually be sub-classed as general high schools, vocational schools (VoTech schools), and college preparatory high schools (prep schools) and special high schools or alternative high schools. Most high schools are general high schools. These schools offer a wide range of educational opportunities intended for the widest range of students possible. These general population schools offer college preparatory classes for advanced students, general education classes for average students and remedial courses for those who are struggling. Students can "mix and match" course levels according to their own abilities or interests.

In some school districts exceptionally high-performing students are offered enrollment at a district college preparatory high school. Traditionally "prep schools" in North America were usually private institutions, though most medium or large public (state) school districts now offer university-preparatory schools for advanced students. Public prep schools draw the top students from their district and have strict entrance requirements. All academic classes offered in these schools are classified as honors, International Baccalaureate, or Advanced Placement.

Vocational high schools offer hands-on training to students that prepares them for careers in fields such as information technology, marketing, business, engineering and the medical professions. While some graduates of vocational or career and technical education high schools will go directly into a trade, others will pursue post-secondary education. The Association for Career and Technical Education is the largest national education association dedicated to career and technical education.

Special high schools are catered for students who have special educational needs, e.g. because of learning difficulties or physical disabilities. Some special high schools are offered for students who have major disciplinary or mental health difficulties that make it problematic to educate them in traditional high school settings. Some special high schools are assigned as security risks, where the school houses students who are not yet old enough to legally leave school and are considered a danger to other students or teachers, but have not been convicted of a crime. Some special high schools are dedicated to students with drug or mental health difficulties and have medical and psychological staff on site. A few of these schools include a nursery and a child care staff so that teen parents can finish their education without having to find child care during the school day. Special high schools have their own campus, but sometimes are located in a section or wing of a general high school.

Another recent form of high school that has emerged is the online high school. Stanford University's own Education Program for Gifted Youth recently received a generous donation and used it to create the first truly complete online high school, with an interactive and advanced program for advanced learners.

High school in the United States usually begins in late August or early September of each year and ends in late May or early June. During the excess two and a half months, the students are given summer vacation to rest from the school year. In some cases schools use a year round schedule.

References Edit

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