Ive just worked out that I really don't know very much about the U.S. system so I'll explain ours and hope someone does the same for me.
I work at a Primary school (4-11 year olds) the children will then go on to Secondary School until they are 16, they can then leave if they wish, or go onto "6th Form" (2 years) then University (3+ years depending on the course)
The school hours for pupils at my school are 8.55 - 3.15 with 1 hour for lunch and 15 minutes break mid morning. Other schools can choose their own start or end times but this is fairly general.
Vacations (Holidays to me):
6 weeks in July- August
1 week October
2 weeks Christmas
1 week February
2 weeks Easter
1 week May
The school year begins after the Summer holiday when children move up to their next year and teacher.
I would really love to know about the American system as this obviosly affects crowds in the parks; I also want to know who has the harder life!!