With so many classifications for different sections of the educational system that even seem to change based on geographical location, it is not out of the ordinary for one to need some clarification on exactly what is a secondary school. Especially when combined with high school, college, preparatory school, charter school, etc. how do you keep them all straight?

So, What is a Secondary School?

Simply put, secondary education in the United States is the last seven years of customary formal education, grade 6 through grade 12.

Secondary school happens in two phases. The first is the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) lower secondary phase, junior high school or middle school for students grade 6 through grade 8. The second is the ISCED upper secondary phase, the high school for students grade 9 through grade 12. Although there is some dispute over the ideal age of transfer and variation in some states.

Types of Secondary Schools Based on Funding

There are several representations of secondary schools, and each one has it's own distinct dynamics.

Public Schools

Public schools are funded by the government and follow regulations set by the state. They can be broken down into additional representations.

Traditional Public Schools

What is a secondary school?

Students are evaluated annually and scored to evaluate their efficacy. Public schools are universal which means that they are for everyone.

Charter Schools

Charter schools are also public and financed by the government. What makes them different from traditional public schools is that they operate independently of the traditional school system of the district in which they are located.

Magnet Schools

Magnet schools get their name from their specialized, hyper-focused curriculum that acts as a magnet, so to speak, to attract students with their particular area of interest. They prepare their students to enter a specific industry in which they have an interest.

Private Schools

Private schools are not government funded. They charge a fee for tuition. They are accredited and can be backed by various organizations.

Traditional Private Schools

Since the government doesn't fund these institutions, they are not required to follow the national curriculum.

Boarding Schools

A boarding school is an establishment that provides room and board to its students. The students live on the campus throughout the school year.

Besides classroom education, their curriculum incorporates various extra-curricular activities that cultivate a more deep-rooted relationship with classmates and faculty.

Montessori Schools

Montessori schools teach students through hands-on projects. The students are encouraged to investigate and explore the world around them. These schools still include all essential topics like math, science, and language. Teachers are assigned the same group of students for 3 consecutive years.

Makana is a Hawaiian term meaning "gift." The gift we provide is hope. We're here to help the teen who has accepted the label of "hopeless" or "bad," and the parent who often feels despair and fear for the future. Our school was created specifically for families of teenagers, ages 14-17, who are struggling with failing academics, periodic self-harm, device/gaming addictions, or troublesome relationships as a result of failing mental health.

About the Author:
Admin User
Admin User

Content writer

Utah Department of Human Services
Utah State Board of Education
California Department of Education
Post Adoption Service
Greenwood Associates