For the first time, some school districts in the Garden State are headed back to school this week. Never have schools in New Jersey gone back in session in mid-August. For a few districts in Morris County, they've already begun their new term.

Some superintendents believe going back earlier in the year will prevent burn-out by the time the school year ends. Some expressed the inattention exhibited by most students once June hits, making it a real challenge for teachers to accomplish much of anything, let alone any serious testing.

Since it's required by the state for the school year to consist of at least 180 days, starting school in mid-August would translate to an earlier start to summer break. Sources also claim it'll allow for high school students to focus on applying to college sooner, too.

So, should South Jersey's school districts experiment with an earlier-than-usual return to school? Judging solely on the fact that so many districts are located in towns that cater to tourism, that seems unlikely.

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Could you imagine school districts like Somers Point, Egg Harbor Township, Upper, Middle, and Lower Townships returning to school while the regions are still in prime vacation season? Honestly, it sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen.

Just because this schedule may work in one part of the state doesn't mean it will work everywhere. If there's one thing NJ residents know for sure, it's that not every region of the state is created equal.

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New Jersey high school graduation rates

The lists below show 4-year graduation rates for New Jersey public schools for the 2020-21 school year. The statewide graduation rate fell slightly, from 91% in 2019-20 to 90.6%.

The lists, which are sorted by county and include a separate list for charter schools, also include a second graduation rate, which excludes students whose special education IEPs allow them to qualify for diplomas despite not meeting typical coursework and attendance requirements.

Columns with an asterisk or 'N' indicate there was no data or it was suppressed to protect student privacy.

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