Hi! I'm plotting my story right now, and I've decided to have it set in an American high school. I'm not 100% sure about the details I'm writing since I didn't study in an American high school. I tried researching about it, but I still lack information. I was wondering if you could help me know more about the standard American high school? Like their school calendar, events, subjects taken, extra curricular? :)
In most schools, the year begins in early September (a few days after Labor Day) and ends in late June. In southern and western states, school may begin in early-late August and end in late May-early June. All told, there are about 40 weeks of school (not including breaks).
There are several breaks throughout the year:
- Thanksgiving Break: the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, and the Friday after Thanksgiving; my school was evil and made the Wednesday before a half-day rather than the whole day off
- Christmas/Holiday Break: extends from Christmas Eve until 1-3 days after New Year’s Day
- Winter Break: the week of President’s Day (some schools don’t have this)
- Spring Break: the week before or after Easter
Schools also take most holidays off, like Columbus Day, Memorial Day, Rosh Hashanah, Labor Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Schools will also have staff development days, which is when the teachers attend teaching seminars within the school. School is usually closed. Staff development days can occur on any day.
The last two or three weeks of school are dedicated to final exams. If you don’t have a final exam that day, you usually don’t need to come in. If you take an Advanced Placement (college level) class, your final exam is in the second or third week of May.
Schools divide their marking periods in various ways.
- Semester: the year is divided in half
- Trimester: the year is divided into three pieces
- Quarter: the year is divided into four pieces
At the end of the marking period, your grades for the entire period are mailed or emailed home. After a marking period passes, you can’t make up work from a previous period.