Once a child finishes 5th or 6th grade in elementary school, they graduate and go on to middle school or junior high school. This school is a separate building or set of buildings. Most students in middle school are between the ages of 10 and 14. The grade system continues in middle school. Middle school usually starts with 6th or 7th grade and ends with 8th grade. While they are less common, some elementary schools go from kindergarten to 8th grade.
Most students are assigned a middle school based on where they live. However, there are charter, private, and specialized public middle schools that have an application process. The purpose of middle school is to provide a transition period between elementary school and high school. Middle school prepares students for high school life. In middle school students don't stay in one classroom all day with one teacher. Students change classrooms for different subjects and have different teachers for each subject. In middle school some students may even be able to choose some of their own classes, called electives. There is a set of core classes that all students have to take. These include English, math, science, and social studies or history classes. Gym or physical education classes are also required.
A common feature of middle school is a homeroom, which is a classroom students visit at a scheduled time once a day or once a week. A homeroom teacher takes attendance and makes announcements of things students need to know. The homeroom also helps students feel like there is one common place and one common teacher they see regularly. This is to help with the transition from elementary school to secondary school. Once a student finishes middle school, they have a graduation ceremony and go to a high school assigned to them or a high school they picked.