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School system in the United States of America

School system in US looks and works basically the same in all US states, but it´s possible to find some variations. All schools are divided into elementary schools ( grade 1 to 4 ), middle schools ( grade 5 to 8 ), high schools ( grade 9 to 12 - 9th graders are called freshmen, 10th graders are called sophomores, 11th graders - juniors , 12th graders - seniors) and there are Colleges or Universities. Something we know as kindergarten is known in US as pre-school class, but that is optional. Children start to attend elementary schools when they are 6, but if parents wish that their kid starts at 7, it´s no problem. Kids at elementary schools in first two years are not graded at all, the grades on their report card consist of comments whether the kid is / is not making progress, is / is not active, gives the best, is bored. Sports play very important role in this school and all of American schools too. Elementary school gives students just a little freedom, they can choose some optional subjects, but there are only a few. After finishing elementary school there is no such a drill to get to the high school. High school is a general name for everything we know as Gymnázium, OA, SOU, .. ,because all of these can be studied just by choosing the right subjects. There´s no such a strict way of telling -now you have to study this and this and next year you´ll do the rest of the subjects. Student can make his own study plan choosing usually eight subjects a year, but after four years of high school he has to have done 21 subjects of which 4 must be English, math, 2 must be foreign language, PE, American history, one world history, biology, and the rest must be 3 science ( he can do either 3 years of physics or just one year physics, one year chemistry, biology or something else from science ), 2 of vocational stuff. If he has 21 on more finished, it´s OK, but if he doesn´t have 21 subjects finished after fourth year of high school, he doesn´t get to graduate and has to stay one more year in HS. ( but all of this fits best Asheville High School in North Carolina, there may be different rules in Miami West High School and different in East Hollywood High and different in Texas area ) During stay in HS, student who wants to go to a college has to take tests SAT and some colleges require ACT too. These test are given to students couple times a school year and student can take them as many times he wants to ( in case he is not satisfied with his score ) These test ( SAT and ACT ) are applying test for studying at US college. They consist of English part, math part and some science questions. Perfect score is 1600 points, but the average is about 1200 points which is enough to be accepted by colleges. E.G. If I take SAT in my sophomore year and reach 1500 points, I will be accepted by a college, because the results of SAT and ACT are spread through all US colleges and universities and then colleges and universities themselves try to get students by sending letters and brochures about their college and it is up to student to choose from couple colleges ( sometimes might be up to 40 -50 ) Another way to get to a college is through sport. Because colleges have their own sport teams, they try to find best athletes from HS. FE Basketball. To the college basketball team are chosen the best players from HS basketball league. They don´t have to have good score on SAT, they are there to compete in that sport and if they are good, college sport career is the best start point for a professional sport career. ( NHL, NBA, NFL ) US HS works little bit different then ours. You can get to school either by riding your own car or by bus, which is sent right to your house from the school and is free. Lessons are usually finished by 3 p.m., which is little bit later then in Sovakia. During the day there´s a lunch, which is long enough for lunch and some relax time too. ( not like guess where) There´s a media centre in each HS, which is basically HUGE library, bunch of computers connected to Internet and America on-line, many computers used as word processors or just playing machines, and a storage of magazines so students can read in the library not only about Hitler, Quasimodo, but about bikes, fashion, computers, and whatever they´re interested in. There´s a doctor place in the school too, so when student feels bad, he can see the doctor right in the school and doesn´t have to go through whole town and waste school time. The school consists of many buildings, sport areas ( football, soccer, baseball, tennis, swimming pool, gyms, gunfiring place...) and huge parking lots. Each morning and afternoon there´s a traffic chaos as 1000 students try to ride their cars in parking lots in the last minute. HS provides FREE driving education that lasts about two weeks and student gets driving license when he´s 16. He can get a learner´s permit at age of 15, which allows him to drive but there has to be somebody with driving license in the car with him. In the school, student gets a locker ( storage box with personal code ), where he can let his books or different stuff. Students DON´T change shoes for houseshoes in the school, which works JUST FINE. Between the periods students leave one class and go to the next one, which is on their schedule. The break between periods lasts 5 minutes. That means they don´t sit with the same people in the same class for 4 years.

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