A Guide to High Schools

A high school usually admits students from Grades 9-12. Courses taught in high school carry Carnegie Units (CUs), and students are expected to accrue a specific number before they can graduate.  The Carnegie Unit measures the number of hours a student is expected to study, for a particular course, and most courses have 1 CU. However, some elective courses carry half a Carnegie Unit. Each state and district has a specific number of CUs required for graduation. 

In high school, classes remain departmentalized, and high schools could either follow year-long class schedules or use the block-scheduling approach. In the year-long class scheduling approach, students are required to attend between six to seven class periods daily for two semesters, with each period being approximately 50-60 minutes long.  Per school year, students could earn up to 7 CUs. 

The block scheduling approach allows students to attend four classes daily for one semester, with each period being approximately 90-minutes long. Per school year, students can earn up to 8 CUs. 

The block scheduling model has a variation, which allows students to attend classes every other day, over two semesters.  After graduating high school, students are expected to possess the necessary skills to either enter college or join the workforce. 

High school settings are able to transform kids into adults and help refine the current study skills students possess while also planting necessary seeds to help the kids become excellent in college or trade school.  It must be capable of helping the students weather the tempestuous mood changes and the uncertainty that is often present during this stage of their lives. It has to help them find and stay on the right paths that will lead them to success and fulfillment in their future endeavors. It must be simple enough that they can go through it successfully without losing confidence in their abilities but challenging enough that it forces them to push beyond their limits and grow, thereby gaining both competence and confidence. 

A high school must be structured carefully so that the needs of the students are met. It is important that students receive all the assistance needed to navigate the complexity of the high school experience. This includes everything from selecting classes to building the skill and discipline they will need to succeed in their further educational pursuits. The structure of the high school must be holistic so that the students can come out of it, competent individuals capable of going through life as adults and contributing meaningfully to society.

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