The three levels of education that children move through are: elementary (ages 5-10), middle or junior high (ages 11-13), and high school (ages 14-18). The school year begins in late August or early September and ends in mid to late June. There are various school holidays and vacation periods throughout the year. Check the school calendar for the school system in the town or city where you will live.
In most U.S. communities, including the New Haven area, you will find two types of school systems: public and private. Public schools provide a free education. Children usually are assigned to the school that serves the neighborhood where they live. Some parents choose to live in a certain neighborhood because of the reputation of its public school. In some school systems, including New Haven, there are also magnet schools where students are drawn from different districts to schools with a specific philosophical, academic or cultural emphasis. The New Haven Magnet School program is run on a lottery system; applications are due in early February of each year.
There are many private schools in the New Haven area offering different philosophies and educational programs. Unlike public schools, private schools charge tuition and fees. Some scholarships may be available. Some of the schools are affiliated with a religious organization; these schools are sometimes referred to as parochial schools.
Remember to bring with you the vaccination and medical records, as well as birth certificates and the school records of your children. You will have to present these documents in order to register your child. Once enrolled make sure you understand the policies and procedures of the school. If you are worried about your child’s social, cultural or educational adjustment, call the school and make an appointment to see your child’s teacher and principal. If your child will miss a day of school, you should call the school and let them know or send a letter explaining why your child was absent. Make sure your child is dressed appropriately for the weather as younger children will usually have time during the day to play outside. Volunteering in your child’s classroom or school is an excellent way to learn about the U.S. educational system. Parent volunteers are welcome in most schools.
New Haven Public Schools Overview
The New Haven Public School District is the state’s second largest public school system, with a student population of over 20,000. New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) includes 49 schools: 29 elementary schools, 9 middle schools, 4 transitional schools, and 7 high schools.
Schools of Choice/Magnet Schools
New Haven has the largest interdistrict magnet Schools of Choice program in the State, with 20 magnet schools to choose from. The quality of education at these magnet schools is so high that record numbers of students from surrounding suburbs come to the city to attend New Haven schools. New Haven now has the highest suburban student enrollment of any district in the state.
To learn more about how to apply to magnet schools, click here.
Citywide School Construction
In 1995, Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. launched the School Construction Program to replace or renovate every one of New Haven’s public schools to provide a better learning and working environment for New Haven students and teachers. The 15-year, $1.5 billion program is already more than half-finished, with 24 schools completely modernized. Students enjoy: state of the art library media centers, art and science labs, modernized health facilities, gymnasiums, and playing fields.
NHPS launched a Healthy Kids First initiative in 2004 to replace soda and junk food snacks with healthier fare in school vending machines. Healthy Kids First also promotes healthful eating and the benefits of exercise. The New Haven Public Schools has 16 school-based health centers.
NHPS believes strongly that quality preschool is the key to academic success, and is the largest school district provider of preschool, with an enrollment of 1,700 children. NHPS also has full-day kindergarten in all schools.