It’s not uncommon to try to categorize schools as elementary, middle, and high schools. This is a considerable simplification. Here’s a visualization of the grades each of the 1,818 NYC public schools are designed to serve:
It takes two schools to make one vertical pixel here. (There are 23 PK-6 schools, if that helps with scale.) There are 51 unique configurations. There’s a lot going on.
Note in particular the diversity of schools serving very young students – the so-called “early childhood” schools – at the top. Also note that NYC has three schools that will eventually serve students in grades 9-14, at the bottom there. The divide between schools that do and don’t offer pre-kindergarten programs is interesting as well. (Public pre-kindergarten is also offered by some non-school entities in NYC, not shown here.)
I think it makes more sense to do academic analysis at the grade level rather than the school level. Going directly to the student level would be better still.
The image is based on data from the 2013-10-13 NYC LCGMS file, looking at the “Grades Final” column, which should represent all the grades each school is designed to serve. (The “Grades” column represents grades actually served this year, and shows considerably more variety, since schools are “phasing in” and “phasing out” in New York.) Made with R.