Brick's two high schools followed a statewide trend this year: lower graduation rates thanks to a new type of ranking system.
The new formula for calculating the graduation rate of high school students changed this year statewide, as New Jersey adopted a federal standard which calculates how many students graduate within a four-year period.
The new method was used in calculating graduation rates for the 2010-11 school year, which were released by the state Department of Education yesterday.
The rankings showed had an 84.31 percent graduation rate and had an 89.74 percent graduation rate.
During the previous school year, which used the previous method, BTHS had a 95.1 percent graduation rate and BMHS had a 96.1 graduation rate.
Superintendent Walter Hrycenko said the new rankings only take into account students who graduate within a strict four-year period, meaning students who do not amass enough credits on time or special education students who can remain in school until the age of 21 are not counted among graduates.
The change in reporting especially affected Brick Township High School because of the number of special education classes that are based there that serve the entire district. BTHS ended up with the second-lowest graduation rate in Ocean County, next to Lakewood High School's 70.11 percent graduate rate.
"At Brick High School, we have our special education students who can be in school until they're 21," said Hrycenko. "We have a couple classes like that."
Hrycenko said some of the district's high school special education programs, such as verbal behavior classes, are only taught at BTHS, which shifts the graduation rate downward as more special needs students attend Old Brick instead of Memorial. Special education students who remain in the district longer than four years are never counted as actually having graduated.
"There are a lot of variables," Hrycenko said, including students who complete GEDs and those who graduate, albeit late.
Hrycenko said the district's block scheduling does give students a good opportunity to complete the required 130 credits in order to graduate, since it is actually possible to take 160 credits over a four year period.
"Students have an opportunity to make up classes during the year instead of the summer," Hrycenko said, increasing the likelihood they will graduate on time.
Statewide, graduation rates declined by about 9 percent, on average, under the new formula.
By The Numbers: Ocean County Graduation Rates, 2010-11 School YearDistrict District-Wide Graduation Rate Brick 87.39 percent Toms River 89.96 percent Lakewood 70.11 percent Point Pleasant Boro 92.39 percent Point Pleasant Beach 98.17 percent Lacey 90.77 percent Central Regional 88.48 percent Jackson 93.42 percent Manchester 89.18 percent Barnegat 89.19 percent Southern Regional 88.33 percent Pinelands Regional 86.72 percent Plumstead 96.84 percent