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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Edu-nation: schooling varies across the country

As students move to California from other states, they realize the drastic differences in different parts of the United States. Even if they are just starting school, there are variations between teaching styles, school schedules and curriculum. Regardless of whether they are in elementary school or high school, each state learns differing topics and runs independently from each other.

“In fourth grade in California everyone learned the missions and California state history,” said junior Heather Sabel. “We didn’t do that in Connecticut so we learned about the different regions. It was weird coming here.”

Sabel grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut, but moved to California the summer of 2005. Elementary school in Connecticut ended after fourth grade so “it was kind of weird to have to go back to elementary school,” according to Sabel.

Sabel’s old school district in New Canaan is considered to be the best public school district in Connecticut with the highest average SAT scores in the state. However, Saratoga High School averages at around a 1920, roughly 100 points higher on the SAT compared to the New Canaan school district.

Even so, New Canaan High School has contrasting graduation requirements. The school requires four years of English, three years of history and math, two years of science, one and half years for visual performing arts and physical education and a quarter of health. They, however, match Saratoga in the number of Advanced Placement classes offered, which adds up to 17 AP classes, although the offered AP classes are not the same.

Not only do the available classes differ, New Canaan’s school district averaged at a cost of $14,837 per student in 2007 whereas the Los Gatos Saratoga Union High School District averages at $11,579 per student.

On the other hand, Sabel noticed a similarity shared by Redwood Middle School and the one she would have gone to in Connecticut.

“It was similar because Redwood [Middle School] [has three elementary schools feeding into it] and the middle school I would’ve gone to would’ve had three elementary schools [feeding into it], too,” Sabel said.

After moving, Sabel noticed how her new school varied from her previous school schedule.
“We didn’t have a bell [back in Connecticut] so the teachers [scheduled out their entire day],” Sabel said. “We read a lot more books together as a class. We also didn’t use textbooks or desks that had tops that opened up.”

Sabel found all of the contrasting elements difficult to accustom herself to. Even so, she has become accustomed to her life in Saratoga.

“I was surprised [when I first came to Saratoga]; it was a little hard to get used to everything,” Sabel said. “But I really like it here, especially because I’ve been here so long.”

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