Image via Wikipedia
It’s an easy certainty: the ideas are interchangeable; the concepts are the same. Junior high and middle school are identical principles, you believe. There are no distinctions between them, just the casual trade of their names.
This is incorrect.
Junior high is not the same as middle school, just as middle school is not the same as junior high. They are instead two separate formats: each with their own rules and requirements. It’s imperative to recognize this, if only to discontinue the assumptions.
The simplest — and most obvious — difference between these systems is their student demographics. Junior highs are defined by teens, favoring only the seventh and eighth grades (composed typically of individuals who are 13 and 14). Middle schools, however, include those who are in the sixth grade. This allows younger children to enter the educational population. This is the greatest distinction between these notions and can be traced back to their conceptions.
Junior high began as a way to bridge the distance between elementary schools and high schools. It was intended for students not yet able to enter their freshman years and was divided into more advanced academics.
This was not enough to satisfy many districts, however. The format was deemed too rigid and middle schools were formed to compensate — with younger students allowed to attend and the curriculum tailored to their needs.
And this difference remains today, with these concepts operating independently of each other (often within the same cities). They are not — and will never be — the same. This must be understood to avoid switching their names and branding them educational twins.