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TNMCorps Structure: General School

General School: A building or building complex used as a learning center for children grades kindergarten through high school. 

General School

The Guidelines define General Schools as follows: 

A building or building complex used as a learning center for children grades kindergarten through high school. 

INCLUDES: Public, private, alternative, and juvenile hall schools that do not fall into the categories of Elementary, Middle, or High School (e.g., K-12 schools, or schools offering a single level of formal education). 

DOES NOT INCLUDE: Preschools, childcare facilities, online-only or home-school administration buildings or any schools where kindergarten is the highest, or only, level offered (e.g., PreK-K, or K-only) 


If a school does not self-identify, the table below provides a few scenarios that you might encounter.
School District A
K-5 Elementary School
  6-8 Middle School
  9-12 High School
School District B K-8 General School
  9-12 High School
School District C K-6 Elementary School
  6-12 General School

What types of schools should I collect? 

Schools are typically divided into three separate categories based on grade levels offered: Elementary, Middle, and High school. We also include a fourth category (i.e., General School) for those schools whose grade levels do not fall into one of these categories. This is most often the case for schools that combine two or more categories into one organization, such as K-12 schools.    

It is important to note that there is no ultimate black-and-white definition for what category a school falls in. Each school district structures their schools in a unique way, and this structure is the ultimate deciding factor of what category a school fall into. 


Where can I find authoritative lists of schools?

The best place to find information about a school is on a dedicated school and/or district website. These websites are the first to reflect any changes in pertinent information (e.g., name, address, etc.) and therefore are typically the most accurate. If a dedicated school and/or district website cannot be found (as may be the case for smaller, rural, and/or private schools), there are many secondary sources that compile information from authoritative sources into an aggregate list. Examples of secondary sources include:

  • State department of education websites: These typically include all of the licensed public schools in the state. They may also include private schools, but in general they should not be considered a comprehensive list of private schools because they may only include schools whose school administrators have requested to be on the list.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) maintains a database of public and private schools. This database is a result of a voluntary survey results for the Department of Education. Public schools are surveyed every year. Private schools are surveyed every 2 years. The NCES website allows a search for private or public schools by city, county, or state.
  • The National Association of Independent Schools has an online searchable database.
  • The National Parochial Schools Association lists parochial schools by state.


Many schools have websites or official Facebook pages that include a news section or event calendar. Before assuming all the information is valid, check to see if recent posts have been made to the page’s news or events section. There are scenarios where a school may have recently closed but its website is still online.  Checking the news or events sections for recent updates helps to verify if the school is still in operation.

  • For example, M J Jones Elementary School in Richmond, VA has a calendar page on its website. The calendar shows current events at the school, thereby indicating that the school is still in operation.


Where do I place a school structure point?

Most schools typically have one building and the point should be placed at the center of the building. If a school has multiple buildings as part of the same complex, place the point at the center of the complex.

Many schools, especially rural schools, have multiple institutions all in one building. Should these be depicted as one school, or multiple schools (elementary school, middle school, high school)? This generally is decided based on information from the school website or the state department of education website. If these websites list separate schools at the same address, then add one point for each school, with each point placed within the footprint of the building. 

Check out the following articles from the March 2019 newsletter below.

  • Rare Find: 4 High Schools in One! walks users through this very scenario.
  • Aerial Photo Interpretation Part 9: Schools