- The semester system consists of two terms per academic year. The fall semester runs from August or September until December, while the spring semester runs from January through May or June.
- The quarter system consists of three terms per academic year. The fall term goes from September to December. The winter term goes from January through March, and the spring term runs from April through June.
- Some school systems have a summer term in which students may make up classes that they failed in the previous school year. They also have the opportunity to work ahead to accumulate more academic credits.
- Most American schools have several holidays each term. The most common include New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving Day. In addition to one-day holidays, most schools have a one- or two-week break in winter--usually coinciding with Christmas--and a one-week break in spring--usually coinciding with Easter.
- Some schools schedule in-service days for teacher training. Most schools publish a schedule in advance so that parents can plan for these breaks.