Many families all over the world aspire to and strive for an American education for their children. That’s because American schools are well known for providing high-quality education through a balanced, tried-and-tested curriculum. The US education system is informed by cutting-edge research, which helps develop students into critical thinkers with well-rounded social-emotional skills.
Generally speaking, American education combines facts, figures, and data with an open-ended, problem-solving-based curriculum that involves collaboration, trial-and-error methodologies and risk-taking. And it opens up students to unlimited opportunities, not only in the US but also globally.
Sending your child to an American school means they’ll learn the skills and confidence necessary to enter schools, colleges, and universities in the United States or anywhere else in the world. But how can you know if American education is right for your child?
In this post, we’ll answer some questions about the American education system, including:
Read on to learn more, or click on the links above to skip to each section.
How is the American education system structured?
Generally, the American school system is divided into four stages:
Early Childhood Program (Nursery to Pre-K) — 2 to 5 years old,
Elementary School (Grades 1 to 5) — 6 to 10 years old,
Middle School or Junior High School (Grades 6 to 8) — 11 to 14 years old, and
High School (Grades 9 to 12) — 15 to 18 years old.
A diploma or certificate is awarded to students who graduate from High School (Grade 12). From there, many students go on to college or university, which is referred to as higher education.
What are the goals and outcomes of American schooling?
A balanced approach to literacy
Balanced literacy is about balancing explicit language instruction with independent learning and language exploration. It aims to strike a balance between whole language and phonics when learning how to read and write.
Critical phonics lessons are balanced with rich literature from around the world (especially in the USA) that demonstrates creativity and thoughtfulness alongside the necessary phonics and literacy skills.
Everyday Math skills
Everyday Mathematics is a comprehensive program developed by the University of Chicago with over 30 years of research-based, authentic success throughout the United States. It has consistently been ranked as one of the top 10 academic math programs internationally.
Everyday Math uses a spiraling approach, which means concepts are repeatedly presented throughout the curriculum in other applications or with deepening levels of complexity.
This hands-on, spiraling curriculum not only meets each student where they are currently but continues to present skills and tasks throughout Elementary and Middle School years. It builds solid, skill-based knowledge coupled with various problem-solving methods allowing students to learn and continue utilizing into high school and beyond.
Practical and authentic learning
American education puts an emphasis on practical, authentic learning that incorporates real-life lessons and activities. Programs such as Inspired Science are designed to engage all students through virtual field trips, videos, podcasts, text, interactives and more that deepen students’ understanding of the lesson beyond mere facts and figures.
The curriculum allows students to demonstrate knowledge and skills obtained at each age and stage, including essential life-long skills such as leadership, collaboration, critical thinking, public speaking, data analysis and problem-solving. There is also an emphasis on authentic tasks, wherein students apply what they’ve learned to build products or solutions for real-life issues.
This rigorous academic program is balanced by arts, music and sports instruction to develop students into well-rounded individuals.
Character development program
More than just academic success, American education also focuses on students’ character development. For example, the Second Step program offers a holistic approach to social-emotional learning (SEL) by providing a full scope of SEL activities and objectives from Kindergarten to High School.
The Second Step is closely aligned with the CASEL framework, which creates a foundation for applying evidence-based SEL strategies to schools and communities. Through guided lessons, discussions and activities, students develop key skills under the five CASEL competencies: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness.
This character development program aims to promote positive behavior, global awareness, tolerance of others, and above all else, kindness and empathy in students.
Why should you consider an American education for your child?
As parents, we all want what’s best for our children. We want to ensure that they have access to the best possible opportunities.
For many families, the search for these opportunities coupled with their child’s aspirations typically leads to the USA for further education specific to achieving their goals. American education provides a solid foundation and an endless springboard to boundless opportunities for students who want to live, study, and work in the US. Simply put, an American school will provide the best preparation for students headed to the US.
But what exactly are the benefits for international students?
1. American schooling is rigorous and standards-based
Rigorous educational standards such as the AERO Curriculum and US Common Core ensure that students meet their academic goals in Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts/Literacy and other subjects. Plus, they allow for an easy transition to any similar American curriculum all over the world.
This means that international students will be familiar and up to speed with the curriculum when they move to the US or an overseas American school. It also boosts confidence and provides a much-needed sense of security, which are especially important when adjusting to a new environment or country.
2. It prepares students for life in US schools
Transferring schools can be stressful enough, so you can imagine how your child might feel when they move to the US or a different country. More often than not, academics are not the main concern — instead, many students worry about speaking up, making friends, and fitting in at school.
This transition is rarely easy, but it’s much smoother for students who come from American schools. They’re already familiar with the curriculum and find it easier to participate in class — especially in an American classroom setting where discussions abound, and students are encouraged to think on their feet critically and logically.
American education also helps international students understand and harmonize with their classmates, who also come from diverse cultures and backgrounds. By acknowledging this diversity, and incorporating it into the curriculum, American schools help students develop the confidence and crucial skills to flourish in their new environment. Students are also less likely to feel alienated, which means they can adapt to their new life and school faster.
Whether your child is headed to the US or a different country, American schooling provides a strong foundation for success in an increasingly global world.
Why should you consider XCL American Academy for your child?
Being one of the newest American international schools in Singapore, XCL American Academy (XAA) is more than just an academic gateway to America for students. The school offers a unique American curriculum and world-class facilities that will benefit any student’s academic and personal development, no matter the path they choose for university and beyond. Our purpose-designed campus is located in Singapore, one of the top educational destinations for students around the globe.
At XAA, we strive to inspire the next generation of pioneers and empower them to leave a positive mark on our ever-changing world.
By focusing on what really matters to students and parents, we provide a rigorous, high-quality, and affordable American education in Singapore based on the core American values of respect, honor, and courage.
Our curriculum is directly aligned with the AERO and US Common Core standards to ensure that our students are on track to achieve their academic goals. We also adopt internationally recognized curriculum programs such as Everyday Math, Inspired Science, and a balanced approach to literacy with materials from Scholastic.
Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence (BRSE) has been involved with the United States Department of Education for over 35 years and works with schools throughout the United States of America to set a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement. The program is part of a larger US Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about school leadership and teaching practices. Using standards of excellence evidenced by student achievement measures and the characteristics known from research to exemplify school quality, the Department annually celebrates outstanding schools from states across the country.
We will begin as an “Aspiring School” and build our profile over the next two to three years before welcoming the US team for a certification visit to rate our school against nine core standards of excellence. Once we have reached that milestone, we will be fully recognized by the Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence. So far, only 17 schools in the United States have reached this stature, and we will be the first and only international school.
We invite all Young Pioneers to join us for our inaugural year of trailblazing, learning, innovation, and overall excellence in education.