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Elevator School

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Also called an escalator school. A kind of school consisting of an institution that offers education from elementary or middle school (or even from kindergarten) until the university.

Often, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college are separate institutions requiring that prospective students pass rigid entrance examinations at each transition. Elevator schools, however, allow students to move to the next educational level without having to take the standard entrance exams. (In particular, they allow students to bypass the notoriously hellish high-school entrance examinations.) Despite or perhaps because of this, elevator schools often require students to pass an examination to gain admission at all.

In most countries, this is simply what the public school system does, taking in any and all students of the appropriate age living in a defined geographic area. In some countries (such as Japan), almost all private schools are elevator schools and they are typically very expensive and prestigious, so expect the student body to display Luxury Tropes.

Note that it's still entirely possible to flunk out of these schools, so they don't work as an explanation for lazy or frequently-absent students. What they do is provide a quick and easy way to realistically have characters of very different ages in the same school setting.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The school from Assassination Classroom counts, but the fail condition is made very clear - the students will not be allowed to continue attendance if they're part of Class E by the end of the year, with being part of the class having a certain social stigma (Nagisa's friends completely abandon him when he's moved to class E). That, plus the fact that it's in the old school building, is one of the reasons everyone is given a contract on their superhuman sensei.
  • The prestigious San Marx Private Arts Academy from Beelzebub is one, right the way up from kindergarten.
  • The CLAMP School, the main setting of CLAMP School Detectives and making a cameo in X1999, includes all grades from kindergarten through college.
  • Oujou in Eyeshield 21, but played with using the Poseidon's school, a building so tall and with such tall people that most of the students go on to become elevator workers.
  • The Ayanoi Gakuin in GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class is a more realistic example. It has a junior high, a high school and technological university in adjacent campuses, and they share a lot of common facilities— the main characters, which are in the high school, often goes to the university campus to have computer graphics classes and sometimes even for vending machines. It's also worth noting that because of the university's background, the high school have a relelatively large technical/vocational division, on top of general ed and arts divisions— and it's not an Elaborate University High, but just Truth in Television in Japan.
  • The titular setting from from Gakuen Alice has elementary, middle and high school education. In this case, it has to be an escalator school because it serves as a Wizarding School for students whose powers might not be discovered until they're teenagers, or might get noticed as toddlers.
  • Morinomiya in Gakuen Babysitters is a downplayed example, as it's known to have at least a middle school section and a high school section.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, Hakuo Academy has a middle school department along with one for high school, but all the main characters are in high school.
  • Shuchi'in Academy in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War runs all the way from elementary school to university, though there is apparently some form of entrance exam going between the different levels, since Kyoko had to transfer to another school when she failed. Given that most of the students tend to be the children of rather influential people (politicians, CEOs, etc), there is a division between the "pures" (those that went up through the elevator system) and the "impures" (those that started attending later on). Like other similar schools in anime, Shuchi'in Academy is a stand-in for the real-life Gakushūin institution.
  • The Sakuragaoka Academy in Kamichama Karin seems to have at least an elementary branch and a middle school branch.
  • The school attended by the cast of Kimagure Orange Road is specifically mentioned to be an Elevator School in the first episode. Its an extreme example, with classes from Kindergarten straight through high school graduation, and some community college classes.
  • Rei Kashima from Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun has attended a single all girls school her entire academic life, which has left her with no idea what male-female relationships are really like.
  • Mahora Academy in Negima! Magister Negi Magi is an elevator school (starting from kindergarten), though it mainly focuses on the middle school division since Negi teaches a middle school class. Despite being an elevator school, a condition of Negi's continuing employment (and thus receiving his magic license) is that he must get the class exam averages up — specifically those of the five worst students, the self-proclaimed "Baka Rangers" (Asuna, Yue, Kaede, Makie and Kuu Fei).
  • Ouran Academy in Ouran High School Host Club, which despite the series' title isn't just a high school; it's a huge institution for rich students that contains grades from kindergarten to high school. The kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school divisions each have their own uniforms to distinguish them.
  • In Pita-Ten, the main characters' school is apparently this; most of the cast goes to the elementary school, but Misha goes to the middle school, which is located in a separate building but has the same uniform.
  • Some of the schools in The Prince of Tennis go from at least junior high to highschool. Hyoutei and Rikkaidai are explicitely mentioned to go at least from elementary to university.
  • In Private Actress, Shiho infiltrates one of the most famous elevator schools in Tokyo (one that goes from kindergarten to university) to investigate the very shady death of a girl from the middle-school section.
  • Ohtori Academy in Revolutionary Girl Utena teaches kindergarten through at least high school.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Mugen Gakuen (Infinity Academy) goes from preschool to graduate school, with Haruka/Sailor Uranus and Michiru/Sailor Neptune being students in its high school division and Hotaru/Sailor Saturn being an elementary school student there as well. It's rarely seen acting as an actual school (though it is one) since it turns out to be a cover for the villains of the arc, and it's destroyed in the arc's climax.
    • Rei Hino/Sailor Mars attends T.A. Girls' School, an all-girls Catholic school run by nuns, which at the very least has middle school and high school divisions; the school is based on Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin, a real all-girls academy in Tokyo which has a university attached to it. When Minako says that Rei's lucky for not having to take high school entrance exams, Rei corrects her: it doesn't mean she has it easy since they still have to take regular tests at T.A., and the nuns could easily not let a student pass to the next year if they don't like her.
  • Slam Dunk: Kainan (the school attended by Maki, Kiyota and their classmates) is an escalator school, as it's always introduced as Kainan University Affiliated High School.
  • Maijima Private Academy from The World God Only Knows has a building for middle school and another for high school. This is only relevant in one arc centered on a middle school student, since most characters are in the high school.
  • Yui Kamio Lets Loose: Teiyo Private Academy goes from Kindergarten to at least High School.

    Comic Books 
  • Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters/Xavier Academy, in the comic book, cartoon and theatrical versions of the X-Men. Xavier's "elevator" goes one step higher, since most of the instructors are former students who seamlessly moved into their new roles. Remember that this role is teacher-slash-superhero. Well, in most cases, anyway; it's hard to imagine Wolverine teaching anything but gym. And you do not want him teaching you gym.
    • After regaining the memory of his pre-Weapon X life, Wolverine became a history teacher (and later Headmaster of the Jean Grey institute). Having firsthand knowledge of a century's worth of events certainly bolstered his credentials.

    Fan Fic 
  • The story "The Inspection" from the fourth Halloween Unspectacular, and its sequel from the fifth, features Stanhope Municipal K-12, College, University, and DMV Superschool.
  • In Hero Academia D×D, U.A. becomes this a year before the story starts due to Rias Gremory attending it and thus needing all of her peerage, some who are not of high school age at the time they are reincarnated into devils, to be near her.
  • In the Heat Guy J fanfic ''In a Different Light'', there is a mention of an unnamed prestigious private elementary school with an affiliated college campus. Clair attended the elementary school...and his father paid some college boys to gang-rape him.
  • Kill la Kill AU seems to have a variant in that said school, at the beginning of the comic, that Satsuki, Nui, Ryuuko, and Mako went to also doubled as a day care center, as then five year old Satsuki attends kindergarten with a three and a couple of two year olds and the fact that, in comic 18, according to Nui, the class they attended was also attended by infants.
  • The Mysterious School, as its name says, has the Artemis Kuroshi School. The twist is that there are no exams needed to get in: accept the invitation and you immediately are let in.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Rushmore academy from Rushmore appears to be one of these, as it includes an elementary school in addition to a high school.
  • Matilda: Trunchem Hall becomes this after the climax because with Ms. Trunchbull gone, no-one wanted to graduate.
  • In Taps, Bunker Hill Academy's cadets range in age from late elementary/early middle school aged to high school seniors.

  • Alterien by Adam R. Brown.
    • Oberon works with his business partner, Dr. Morgan Flaye, and enemy turned friend and ally, Helena Velazquez, to initiate a special program for gifted young people. He calls it the Nu-Age Program and builds a system of private schools that feature a very different teaching style for those who attend.
    • Oberon later builds two more special schools intended to help even younger gifted children called Devo and GAIA.
  • The high school in the California Diaries spin-off of the The Baby-Sitters Club becomes one of these, due to overcrowding in the elementary school.
  • CHERUB Campus resembles one of these. Due to the CHERUB policy of not separating siblings, there are a number of under-10s living on the campus. All campus residents are educated on campus, and the curriculum ranges from basic English, maths and science to whatever A-level courses the older agents want to take.
  • High School D×D: Kuoh Academy not is only an elevator school, serving elementary to university, but was an all girl school until a year before the series started.
  • Girls Kingdom takes place in an elevator school for the rich, elite daughters of those who donated to the academy, who all are on the Societal arts track, starting from middle School and going all the way to university. Domestic arts students, meanwhile, only go there through high school, to train as maids.
  • Maria Watches Over Us' Lillian Girls School runs from kindergarten through university. It's mentioned that most of the cast have attended for their entire school days with flashbacks to previous years (Sei and Eriko's first meeting during Kindergarten, Sei and Youko's meeting during Middle School, and Sachiko's childhood through her classmate's eyes). Sei, herself, is currently attending the University, though she had to take the entrance exams because she was late getting her paperwork.
  • Modern Villainess: Part of the story follows The Protagonist Runa Keikain's school life at Gakushūkan (a stand-in for the Gakushūin School Corporation) from kindergarten to high school.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The school in iCarly is a combined Middle School and High School, unusual in a major American city, presumably because the main characters were in 8th grade in the first season and the producers didn't want to cast new teachers and build new school sets after just one season. Justified, in that many school districts in Washington State (the show is set in Seattle) have ninth graders attend junior high, yet take high school level courses and earn high school credit. Apparently it prevents overcrowded high schools. It's also more analogous to Japanese high schools/junior highs, by pure coincidence.
  • Angie Gakuen (Angie Private Academy) in Idol x Warrior Miracle Tunes! is an elevator school. The main character, Kanon, is in 6th grade, while the rest of the girls are in middle school. The girls often go to and from school together.

    Video Games 
  • Bullworth Academy from Bully, in addition to being an Elaborate University High, has everyone from kindergartners to high school seniors.
  • Escape From St. Mary's: Though most of the game concerns high school, the entire school has children aged 6 to 18. So though you are a student, you spend time "minding" a younger class and even throw a tiny younger student over your shoulder.
  • In the video game Final Fantasy VIII, each of the three Gardens is an Elevator School (you can get in as early as 5 years old, and you get kicked out if you're not a SeeD by 20), in addition to being an Elaborate University High (some towns have smaller populations than the Gardens).
  • Monark has Shin Mikado Academy, which caters to both middle school and high schoolers. The majority of the game centers around the high school campus and the school's main facilities and amenities like the library and club block, however, with the middle school in an unaffected area.
  • Project SEKAI: Miyamasuzaka Girls’ Academy caters to both middle school and high school students.

    Visual Novels 
  • Higurashi: When They Cry has got a variation: The school is a small country school, with just one class but still having children of varying ages.

    Web Original 
  • Superhero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe is one of these. Most mutants manifest around fourteen and start as freshmen, but some manifest earlier, so the school has kids as young as eleven or twelve, like Diz and Clover. And it teaches classes that include college and grad school level curricula because some mutants have the brain power, or at least the skills with physics and biology.

    Web Comics 
  • Girl Genius: The school aboard Castle Wulfenbach provides schooling and training for the future rulers of Europe and further afield (at least China, India and the Middle East), as well as the children of Sparks. The oldest members of the school are in their early twenties, and sometimes act as carers for the younger children, who seem to go down to the age of about five. The late leaving age is justified in that they're receiving instruction in how to rule in the future, and it's beneficial to everyone that the future world leaders are friends and allies from childhood.
  • Sleepless Domain: Future's Promise School for Magical Girls is a prestigious private academy for the exclusive education of magical girls. Because magical girls don't necessarily awaken or lose their powers at the same age, it functions effectively as a combined junior high and high school. The school's classes aren't divided by age or grade level; instead, students are placed into classes according to their individual proficiency in each subject, meaning that several classes contain students of multiple different grade levels.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Brady Kids, all six kids attend the same (unnamed) school, even though Greg and Marcia are high school age while Bobby and Cindy are elementary school age. Note that they did distinguish between elementary, junior high, and high schools in the live-action series.
  • In Bob's Burgers, the main school is simply called Wagstaff. Given the prominent blend of elementary and middle school students coupled with the complete absence of high school students it appears to be one of these. This conveniently lets the Belchers all attend the same school together despite the four-year age gap between the eldest Tina and youngest Louise.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: some American Private schools (usually of the religious type) and some rural public schools are small enough to have a K-12 range of students. Some charter school systems are like this, as well, though they may also subvert this by dividing grade levels up across a geographical area (i.e. providing elementary and middle school in one neighborhood and high school in another).
    • Also in Japan, where many private universities have high schools, junior highs, and even primary schools and kindergartens in adjacent campuses. The most famous of these is Gakushūin, which has educated the Imperial Family for decades.
    • Ditto for some small towns in Canada.
  • Before the 20th century, due to limited transportation, the need for children to help their parents out on the farm, and the lack of teachers, especially in the frontier, most schools of the era had a dizzying range of age for the students. Nowadays, many school districts will just bus children in rural areas to schools in the nearest larger town.
  • Those are also common in Mexico today. The Instituto de Ciencias in Guadalajara, for example, has all grades from kindergarten to high school. If you stretch it a little bit, you might consider the ITESO — founded by priests from the I de C — as part of the campus (and indeed they have a "direct pass" if your GPA is higher than 85%), thus technically making it the same school from kindergarten to doctorate.
    • One has students from 4 to 18 with three adjacent campus: One for preschool, one for the 4 first years of elementary school, the last a big campus for all the others grades. High school classrooms were close to the entrance, Middle school a little farther, Junior School classroom much further... Done to remind students how many years they will have to endure?
    • Many Marist schools also follow this paradigm. Case in point: Instituto México and Colegio México, which begin at elementary school, move on to junior high, high school, and get automatic pass to college. While students do need to change campus, there are no entrance exams as long as they remain within the system.
    • ITESM, also known as Tec De Monterrey, is an elevator school between tenth grade and university, all in the same campus. You only need to take entrance exams for the level you're first applying to.
  • Certain schools - both state and private - in the UK also resemble this.
    • Most secondary schools in England and Wales go from Year (Grade) 7 to Year 11, sometimes with a college or sixth form taking students up to 18 years old included. A small number have primary and junior schools as part of the school. So in all you can have people ranging from 4 years old to 18 in the same school (but probably not in the same building.)
    • Also, the US equivalent of kindergarden to 2nd grade and 3rd to 6th grade are divided into Infants and Junior schools, which are separate educational establishments with their own administration and budget but are almost invariably sited in close proximity and sometimes share certain facilities. The effect is much the same from a pupil's point of view. And then there's certain counties that have a three-tier system that mostly corresponds with the US system, and they usually have at least two out of three tiers co-located.
  • Rural regional schools in Australia often have a small student body, so most schools go from CPC(preschool) to year 12. Many private/religious schools also do this.
    • Australian schools as a whole are like this. Instead of splitting into 3, primary, middle, high school, the vast majority of students will go through a single school from Kindergarten to Year 6 or 7, and then move to a high school for Year 7 or 8 through to the final Year 12. The only formal exam to progress in most states is in Year 10 (Called the School Certificate in NSW). There is a final set of tests in Year 12, but students leave regardless, and would usually go to the equivalent of a Community College if they failed Year 12 but wanted to complete it anyway the year after.
    • One school in Melbourne ran a bit more unusally. Prep - year 8. The 7/8 were the 'high school' section, of an otherwise normal primary school.
  • New Zealand has area schools and composite schools covering all 13 years of primary and secondary education. Area schools are found in rural areas where the population does not justify separate primary and secondary schools, while composite schools are found in urban areas and are most likely private, state-integrated schoolsnote , or Kura Kaupapa Maorinote .
    • While in major towns and cities it is common to go through separate primary (Years 1-6), intermediate (Years 7-8) and secondary schools (Years 9-13), the intermediate years in smaller centres and some parts of larger centres are usually covered by a full primary school (Years 1-8) or a Year 7-13 secondary school.
  • Pine View School in Osprey, Florida, a public gifted school that ranges from 2nd to 12th grade, all on the same sprawling campus.
  • The Escuela Nueva Laboratorio (New Laboratory School) in Costa Rica has only 1 30-student class in each grade going from preschool (called "5 years" the kids age at the time) to the 6th grade (12 years). The graduates can continue to Liceo Laboratorio Emma Gamboa (Emma Gamboa Laboratory High) which has 3 classes per grade, that never change throught 7th grade to 11th (There are only 11 grades in Costa Rica)
  • The Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, PA. The school also has an association Moravian College which is nearby.
  • Likewise, Liberty University is affiliated with a school called Liberty Christian Academy, both in Lynchburg, Virginia. The former admits students starting at age two!
  • In Detroit, there was a campus that included an Elementary School, Middle School, and High School on the same property, though in seperate buildings. It was one of the many places that have been shut down in the city's recent budget-induced closings over the past few years, though.
  • The way the Venezuelan educational system is made means that the most common type of public school is a "Unidad Educativa Básica" (Basical Educative Unit), who teach what is known as the "basic cycle", ranging from ages 5 to 16, and grades 1st-9th. Some UEB have kindergartens, but that's not common outside of big cities. There are also the ones popularly known as "Liceos", who teach grades 7-9 plus the two-three years of "ciclo diversificado" or "Bachillerato" (the equivalent of other countries High School, but with differentiated programs for science, humanistic, and vocational instruction). And there are institutions like the Gran Colombia School, who has all the range from kindergarten to Bachillerato, with a technical vocational school and (more recently) a college trown to the mix.
  • In the Philippines, it's not uncommon for universities to have high schools, elementary schools, and even kindergartens attached, usually in the same general area. Also, one university (such as De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University or St. Scholastica's College) may have different campuses (and adjacent high schools...etc.) all over the country. These campuses end up overlapping with One-Gender School a lot due to their religious backing, although some are slowly shifting to a co-ed environment as of late.
  • Tends to happen in college towns in the US too; just for example, the University of Arkansas has an elementary school and a combined middle and high school (same campus, different buildings) all within walking distance of the main university campus, in addition to several daycares. They aren't the only schools in the area though.
  • In Denmark, the normal primary school system technically isn't an elevator school, but since it goes from kindergarten classes to 9th grade, it will certainly look like an elevator school to foreigners, with 6-year-olds and 16-year-olds going to the school in the same building and sharing the same common areas. The Danish equivalent to high school, "gymnasium", is separate, but unlike American high school it isn't mandatory, and not everyone starts it right after 9th grade, so the gymnasium has its own grades ("1. g" to "3. g").
  • Brazil has a few examples.
    • Grupo Objetivo works this way. There are schools from kindergarten to high school and preparatory schools for the universities' admission exam (a.k.a. "vestibular") named "Colégio Objetivo". Their owner also own the Associação Unificada Paulista de Ensino Renovado Objetivo, that contains 21 colleges, so one person can go from kindergaten to the grad school without exiting its domains.
    • Military schools house both middle and high school years in one institution, so a student can get in fresh off of elementary school and come out trying for university.
  • Standard operating procedure in Russia and most other post-Soviet states, where elementary, junior high and high are usually the same school, consisting of 10 or 11 grades, called a "middle school" ("high" is a university or college).
    • Post-independence Uzbekistan educational system in particular kept combined elementary and middle school (9 years) and then added compulsory high school (3 years, often combined with a college).
    • East Germany, another Eastern Block country, had Polytechnic Secondary Schools (POS), which spanned over 10 years, from 6 to 16.
  • Some of the oldest French ''Lycées'' have preparatory classes and also integred junior high schools on their campus, which come from the time befote the 60s where the Lycée spanned over seven years, unlike three today, and pupils entered when they were 11-years-old, not unlike the English Grammar Schools and the German Gymnasiums. Some of these lycées also had primary school'note  and even, in the big cities, kindergartens.
  • In North America, some of the more prestigious universities will have affiliated "feeder" high schools or preparatory academies. Examples include the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools for University of Chicago and University of Toronto School for University of Toronto (in general, if the name of the university is in the name of the high school, it's probably a favored feeder). While admission is not always guaranteed, getting into the university is generally much easier because of the school tailoring their curriculum and extracurriculars to the host university's needs.
  • Many Chilean schools also go from elementary to high school. It used to be mostly associated with private schools, but many public ones also follow the model (specially if they're either very prestigious or are of the kind that takes in kids that are otherwise rejected by the education model).
  • A significant minority of schools in Hong Kong are part of the "Through-Train" System (in Chinese, 一條龍學校, yāttìuhlùhng hohkhaauh, or "One-Dragon Schools") and cover both primary and secondary education, sometimes even on the same campus. This list of schools include multiple traditional "elite" schools with religious background (most famously St Paul's Co-educational College and the sister schools Diocesan Boys' School and Diocesan Girls' School), but there are also others like various schools operated by charities (e.g. Po Leung Kuk, Hong Kong Japanese school (an international school), and Sha Tin Public School (a school for intellectually disabled children and youths).