The Public Schools

  • The American School System:

    Public education in the United States is free and mandatory for all children. Public schools serve students from kindergarten to 12th grade. In Sudbury, a child must be 5 years old by September 30th to start kindergarten. Each child attends a school in the city where they live, and each neighborhood is designated a certain school. Parents generally cannot choose a school outside of that city, or choose a different school in that city. If parents want more choices, they may choose to send their child to a private school, which is not free and may not be in their city. The school year is 180 days, beginning at the end of August and running through the end of June. In this district, grades K-5 are elementary school, 6-8 middle school. Grades 9-12 attend Lincoln Sudbury High School, one large high school (and separate school district) where students from the towns of Lincoln and Sudbury study together.

    Visiting an American school is probably very different than in your previous country. Learn more.


    • In the elementary school, classes are often taught by the same teacher for English Language Arts (E.L.A. -- Reading & Writing), Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies (History & Geography.) When it is time for "Specials" such as Art, Music, Spanish, and P.E. (Physical Education), the entire class lines up and walks to a different classroom where that subject is taught.

    • In the middle school, students move individually from room to room each period. Middle school teachers specialize in one topic each. For most of the day, students remain with classmates from their "team" of four classrooms.

    • The classes change every year. Your child and their classmates will be mixed with other students in the same grade to form new classes before each new year. That way, students can befriend a greater number of classmates over their years in school. Each year, your child will be matched with the class and the teacher that fits them best.

    Additional Information:

    • School is sometimes cancelled or delayed because of bad weather. Most days, even when it is very rainy, hot, cold, or even snowing, we still have school and all students are expected to attend. A few times a year, however, the superintendent might officially cancel school because of heavy snow, lots of ice, or a problem with the electricity. Sometimes the superintendent chooses to delay school instead of cancelling. This means that school starts 1 or 2 hours later than usual so that the workers have time to clear the snow from the roads.

    • The date for the last day of school might change. Every time we cancel school for a day, we add that day on to the end of the year. That means that in a year with a lot of snow storms, school might continue into late June.

    • Daylight Savings Time - Two times each year, we change the time on our clocks. We say "Spring ahead. Fall back," to remember that in the Spring we advance our clocks one hour later and in the Fall we turn them back an hour.