As of the 2019–20 school year, the school had an enrollment of 2,077 students and 164.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.7:1. There were 276 students (13.3% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 110 (5.3% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.
EBHS is one of the few high schools in the state to only house students in grades 10–12, with 9th graders at the middle school level.
East Brunswick High School opened for the 1958–59 school year. Previously, students living in the Township had attended South River High School in neighboring South River. In that first year, the school housed grades six, seven, eight and nine. Those four classes occupied the school until June 1962, when the original 9th graders became its first graduating class and the school contained grades nine through twelve. Because the school exceeded its intended capacity of 1,700 students, freshmen were dropped into the town's two junior high schools in 1967, later one junior high school. Enrollment reached a peak of about 2,600 in 1973. By 1990, the school had fewer than 2,000 students, falling to around 1,700 by 1997.
Additions to the school were built in 1965, 1970 and 2001, in efforts to ease overcrowding. The 2001 expansion included a second level of classrooms, over the administrative offices; a corridor connecting three "buildings" that had previously been connected only by a covered outdoor walkway; and expanded facilities for the cafeteria, library, arts and athletic departments.
The school day at East Brunswick High School begins at 7:26 am and ends at 2:12 pm. It operates its daily bell schedule on a 12-period system.
At the beginning of the 2005–06 school year, for security reasons, the school instituted an ID system in which the students must wear their IDs at all times.
In the 2014 "America's Top High School", Newsweek ranked the school 130th overall in the nation.
In its 2013 report on "America's Best High Schools", The Daily Beast ranked the school 484th among participating public high schools and 41st among schools in New Jersey.
In the 2012 "Ranking America's High Schools" issue by The Washington Post, the school was ranked 45th in New Jersey, after being ranked 48th statewide in 2011. In the May 22, 2007, issue of Newsweek, ranking the country's top high schools, East Brunswick High School was listed in 997th place, the 30th-highest ranked school in New Jersey. The school was ranked 886th in the May 8, 2006, issue of Newsweek, listing the "Top 1,200 High Schools in The United States".
In the April 1996 issue, the high school was cited as best in the state by Redbook magazine.
During the 2001–02 school year, East Brunswick High School's Intergenerational Program was honored by the Best Practices Program in the state of New Jersey.
The school was the 47th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 339 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2014 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", using a new ranking methodology. The school had been ranked 121st in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 71st in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. The magazine ranked the school 76th in 2008 out of 316 schools. The school was ranked 60th in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state.
The Schooldigger.com website ranked the school tied for 109th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 35 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (87.9%) and language arts literacy (94.4%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
Curriculum and grading
In addition to regular, honors, and Advanced Placement classes, the curriculum includes numerous electives in humanities, business, visual arts, music, drama, family and consumer science, and technology education. Two Cooperative Education programs are available, as well as a shared time program at the East Brunswick campus of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical High Schools. Students are encouraged to elect courses outside their major interests. Students may receive credit for private music lessons.
The school district had all its staff input their students' grades into a computer program called InteGrade Pro. Starting with the 2009–10 school year, InteGrade was replaced with a system known as Genesis, which provides a unified, wholly online attendance and grading system. Genesis also features auto-updating grades, a huge improvement over the previous online component to the InteGrade system, ParentConnect, which only updated once daily. If a teacher finds the need to, progress reports will be mailed to students' homes at a designated date near the middle of a quarter. At the end of a quarter, the grades are exported by teachers to administration, where they are formally presented to the parents/guardians of students through a formal report card.
The Board of Education changed the grading system to a "quality point" type of system where grades are equal to a number (GPA) and the GPA from the four quarters plus midterms (and/or finals) are averaged as well. Grade Point Average calculations are weighted three different ways: Standard scale, Honors Scale and AP scale. The Honors Scale transposes GPA values to their respective letter grades by a factor of 1.15, while the AP scale transposes by a factor of 1.25.
East Brunswick High School offers a full range of clubs and events. The school is perhaps most well known for its success in the national We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition, for which it won the national title in 1998, and then again three years in a row from 2004 to 2006. East Brunswick High School has also won the state competition for nearly every year in the past 25 years.[when?] The team was the state champion in 2019-20. Through 2005, the team won the We The People state competition in 17 of the program's first 18 years.
Other clubs include Model United Nations, Mock Trial, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Key Club, Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Math Team, Academic Team, Pre-medical Club, Science League, Code Club, Clarion (school newspaper), Emerald (yearbook), Drama Club, Jazz Ensemble, Marching Band, African American Club, Asian American Club, Spanish Club, French Club, German Club, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Club, Amnesty International Club, and various honor societies. East Brunswick High School is one of a growing number of schools in the country that has various religious clubs such as According to Jesus (A2J, formerly known as Bible Club), Islamic Club, Coptic Orthodox Club and the Jewish Student Union.
The East Brunswick High School Bears compete in the Greater Middlesex Conference, which is comprised of public and private high schools in the Middlesex County area and operates under the supervision of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. With 2,080 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2019–20 school year as Group IV for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 1,060 to 5,049 students in that grade range. The football team competes in Division 5C of the Big Central Football Conference, which includes 60 public and private high schools in Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset, Union and Warren counties, which are broken down into 10 divisions by size and location. The school was classified by the NJSIAA as Group V South for football for 2018–2020.
The school participates as the host school / lead agency for a joint ice hockey team with South River High School and Spotswood High School. The co-op program operates under agreements scheduled to expire at the end of the 2023–24 school year.
The wrestling team won the Central Jersey Group IV state championship in 1985.
The girls soccer team won the Group IV state championship in 1986 (against Westfield High School in the finals), 1987 (vs. Westfield), 1989 (vs. Westfield), 1990 (as co-champion with Bayonne High School), 1992 (vs. Westfield), 1994 (vs. Randolph High School), 1996 (vs. Westfield), 2001 (vs. Clifton High School). The program's eight state titles are tied for sixth-most in the state. A goal scored in the last minute of play in regulation gave the 1986 team a 1-0 win again Westfield in the Group IV championship game and a 25-0 record for the season. The 2001 team finished the season with a 20-2 record after winning the Group IV title with a 1-0 win against Clifton in the championship game played at The College of New Jersey on a goal scored by Heather O'Reilly, her 38th that year. From 1979 to 2019, the Bears won 36 of the 41 times the Middlesex County Tournament was played, including 21 consecutive championships from 1980 to 2000, with their only finals losses coming in 1979, 2002 and 2015 in addition to missing the finals in two other seasons. The Bears won five consecutive Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament titles, including a 2–1 victory over Old Bridge in 2007 and a 3–0 win over Bishop Ahr in 2008.
The boys' bowling team won the overall state championship in 1997, and the Group IV title in 2017 and 2018. The team won the Group IV state championship and the overall Tournament of Champions in 2017.
The football team won the Central Jersey Group IV state sectional championships in 2004 and 2009. The team won their first playoff-era title with a 17-12 win against Jackson High School in the finals of the Central Jersey Group IV tournament. East Brunswick won the Central Jersey Group IV state sectional title in the 2009 season, defeating Brick Memorial High School by a score of 9–0, earning the program its first sectional championship since 2004. In 2018, East Brunswick and Old Bridge High School played their 25th and final Thanksgiving Day game, with Old Bridge winning 22 of the 25 games. The series started after Cedar Ridge High School and Madison Central High School, which had played their own Thanksgiving Day game, were merged in 1994 to create Old Bridge High School. The two schools will continue to have a "Battle of Route 18" that will be played as part of the regular schedule.
The girls' bowling team won the Group IV title in the 2008 season, after bowling a 1077 in the state final.
The boys track team won the spring track state championship in Group IV in 2010 (as co-champion).
The boys track team won the indoor relay championship in Group IV in 2011.
Football coach prayer controversy
On October 7, 2005, shortly after being informed by then-Superintendent of Schools Jo Ann Magistro that he would not be permitted to join his football team in prayer as he had done in the past and that some parents had complained about the prayers, East Brunswick High School coach Marcus Borden resigned from his position. Borden, also a tenured Spanish teacher, had by then had a 23-year career with East Brunswick Public Schools. District spokeswoman Trish LaDuca told the East Brunswick newspaper Home News Tribune that a "representative of the school district cannot constitutionally initiate prayer, encourage it or lead it."
The East Brunswick football team lost its game in a shutout on the day Borden resigned. Following Borden's resignation, nearly 100 players, parents, and coaches arrived at his house on a rainy day pleading for his return. Borden agreed and received pro bono legal representation the next week. He filed a lawsuit against the district on November 23 alleging that it was violating his constitutional rights; lawyer Ronald Riccio represented Borden.
In May 2007, a 16-year-old male student from EBHS posted a school shooting threat on the internet and was arrested on Monday morning before school once people had noticed it. After investigating the student's home, no weapons were found inside and police determined it was only a hoax.
In February 2019, a student from EBHS forged a letter on social media and in a bathroom at the school that had the signature of Superintendent Victor Valeski on it. The forged letter stated that Valeski tried smoking (vaping) an e-cigarette/juul and liked it and as a result, had decided to reverse and replace a vaping policy in which the new policy would allow students to vape in the bathroom/on school grounds only once with no consequences, but after being caught using it a second time, would face a suspension. After this forged letter was found, Valeski said the student would likely be suspended but not face any criminal charges.
Student fights a Muslim student
The 2018–19 school year was a rough one for EBHS, as another incident happened in April 2019 where a female white student pulled off a hijab (headscarf) of a female Muslim student in a physical fight in the student lounge. The female white student was criminally charged and arrested with simple assault and harassment after an investigation by the East Brunswick Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. Despite this, she was not charged with a bias or hate crime. The Muslim student was not charged with anything, although she was disciplined along with the female white student and both girls were absent from school the next day. The video of the fight quickly went viral online and on social media.
The school's principal is Michael W. Vinella. His administration team includes three assistant principals.
^"East Brunswick High School Captures the We the People National Title", Center Correspondent, Spring / Summer 2004. Accessed November 19, 2020. "Students representing East Brunswick High School in East Brunswick, New Jersey, placed first in the 17th annual We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution national finals held in Washington, D.C., May 1–3, 2004."
^"East Brunswick High School Wins We the People National Finals", Center Correspondent, Fall 2006. Accessed November 19, 2020. "Students from New Jersey's East Brunswick High School demonstrated their mastery of the Constitution with their first-place finish at the 19th Annual We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals, held April 29–May 1, 2006, in Washington, D.C."
^We The People, New Jersey Center For Civic Education. Accessed November 19, 2020. "At the 2019-20 annual New Jersey State We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition for high schools, East Brunswick High School placed first and represented New Jersey at the National We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Competition in April."
^"Constitution champs on roll; 17th state win by E. Brunswick teams", Central New Jersey Home News, February 10, 2005. Accessed November 19, 2020. "For the 17th time, a team from East Brunswick High School has captured the statewide title in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition. The 29-member high school senior class from the Institute for Political and Legal Education program competed in Trenton yesterday to defend the school's state title against seven high school teams. The competition tests students' applied knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. East Brunswick has taken the state honors every year, except for 2002, in the 18-year history of the civics competition."
^Racz, Gene. "Late scores decide gir!s' state soccer finales; E. Brunswick finishes perfect season; B-R East ties Ramapo, settles for co-championship", The Home News, November 23, 1986. Accessed March 9, 2021, via Newspapers.com. "Last minute heroics were the order of the day as East Brunswick High School won a girls' state soccer championship and Bridgewater East grabbed a co-championship with last-minute goals yesterday. In the Group IV final, East Brunswick right half Amy Graf pushed a through ball to send forward Leanne Swartz one-on-one with the Westfield keeper Malihi Vernugopal. Vernugopal came out well to smother the shot as the ball popped to the left side of the 18-yard-line, where Bear center forward Lisa Gonyo raced to smack the game-winner past the defenders and into the goal with 30 seconds remaining in the contest.... East Brunswick captured the title with an unblemished record of 25-0."
^Rosen, Dan. "Clifton loss is painful; E. Brunswick gets only goal", The Record, November 18, 2001. Accessed December 29, 2020, via Newspapers.com. "Clifton's junior goalkeeper had just played a fearless game in the Group 4 final Saturday at The College of New Jersey.... But like so many other teams this season, the Mustangs succumbed to the Heather O'Reilly factor. O'Reilly, a junior striker and under-19 national-team player, scored the lone goal, her 38th of the season, in the 18th minute and it held up as East Brunswick (20-2) captured its eighth Group 4 title and first since 1996 with a 1-0 victory."
^Knego, Lauren. "Girls Soccer: East Brunswick wins 36th GMCT title", Courier News, October 23, 2019. Accessed November 19, 2020. "On Wednesday night, the top-seeded Bears (15-2) won their fourth-straight county title and 36th overall with a 1-0 victory over second-seeded Old Bridge at Woodbridge High School. It was the third time in five years that East Brunswick and Old Bridge (11-6-4) faced off in the final. Since 1979, East Brunswick has played in 39 of the 41 county finals with 36 titles. The only years it didn't win were 1979, 2002 and 2015. The Bears didn't make the final in 2001 or 2011."
^Allinder, Jimmy, "East Brunswick, Monroe pick up titles on the lanes", Examiner, February 27, 2017. Accessed December 29, 2020. "East Brunswick High School captured the NJSIAA Group IV title and went on to win the ultimate prize: the Tournament of Champions (TOC)."
^"East Brunswick beats Columbia", Asbury Park Press, March 15, 1999. Accessed November 22, 2020. "The East Brunswick girls basketball team buried eight 3-pointers, including four in the second quarter, as the Bears defeated Columbia 63-57 at the Dunn Center in Elizabeth to capture their first NJSIAA Group IV title yesterday."
^Eisner, Dan. "Mendham beats East Brunswick", Asbury Park Press, March 21, 1999. Accessed January 31, 2021, via Newspapers.com. "It looked like it would be a great matchup. Second-seeded Mendham, the Group II champion, had proven its ability by incurring only one loss this season, to national power Christ the King. East Brunswick, the Group IV champ, was on a tear. Yet the final score of the Tournament of Champions girls basketball semifinal didn't come close to what could have been predicted: Mendham 71, East Brunswick 40.... Although Mendham played a 1-3-1 zone, a defense that the Bears have recently devoured, East Brunswick (28-4) could not sink a three-pointer, shooting 4-for-21 from beyond the arc."
^Haley, John, "East Brunswick 9, Brick Memorial 0", The Star-Ledger, December 5, 2009. Accessed September 9, 2011. "Known as a good 'bad-weather' team, East Brunswick scored nine points and let its defense do the rest in posting a 9-0 victory over Brick Memorial in the NJSIAA/Gatorade Central Jersey, Group 4 title game yesterday before 2,500 at The College of New Jersey in Ewing."
^Mendlowitz, Andy. "NJ Football: In final Thanksgiving Day game, Old Bridge defeats East Brunswick 10-0", Courier News, November 22, 2018. Accessed November 19, 2020. "But next fall, Joseph will be able to sleep in and catch the Macy's Parade instead of playing East Brunswick. During Thursday's game that Old Bridge won 10-0, the schools announced they're ending the holiday edition of the 25th annual matchup. The 'Battle of Route 18' will continue on, just during the regular season.... Old Bridge has a 22-3 edge in the series against the Bears."
^Polakowski, Art, "Millburn, NP, KPS topped local tennis season", Independent Press, December 5, 2008. Accessed June 7, 2011. "Millburn lost to East Brunswick in the 'T of C' finals, which terminated the Millers' three-year, 98-match winning streak."
^Sauer, Justin, "Brick wins fourth state bowling title", Asbury Park Press, February 15, 2008. Accessed June 7, 2011. "Brick tallied an impressive 3012 pins through the first three games to finish first in Group III, while Bordentown (Group I), Carteret (Group II) and East Brunswick (Group IV) also won their respective groups to advance to the semifinals."
^Schmidt, Michael S. "Coach Sues Over Right to Pray With Team", The New York Times, November 23, 2005. Accessed November 21, 2015. "Marcus Borden, who quit as head coach in October when the school district threatened to fire him if he continued to pray with his team, is asking the state Superior Court in Middlesex County to allow him to bow his head in prayer over pregame meals and to kneel in the locker room with the team before games.... The East Brunswick High School football coach who was barred by his school district in New Jersey from praying alongside his players has filed a lawsuit alleging that the district's action infringed on his constitutional rights."
^Finley, Bill. "Coach Is Allowed to Pray With Team", The New York Times, July 27, 2006. Accessed November 21, 2015. "Judge Dennis Cavanaugh of the United States District Court for New Jersey ruled Tuesday that Marcus Borden, the coach at East Brunswick High School, can bow his head and bend down on one knee during student-led prayers."
^Kelley, Tina. "Coach in New Jersey Cannot Pray With Players", The New York Times, April 16, 2008. Accessed November 21, 2015. "A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that the public school district in East Brunswick, N.J., was not violating the constitutional rights of a football coach when it prohibited staff members from participating in student prayers."
^Contacts, East Brunswick High School. Accessed January 13, 2021.
^Dunek, Ken. "One-On-One with Michael Barkann"Archived September 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Jersey Man magazine, December 14, 2011. Accessed January 9, 2012. "Michael Barkann, the Jersey City born and East Brunswick High School educated, effervescent and self-effacing face of Daily News Live, the Eagles pre and post-game shows, Flyers, Sixers, and now the mid-day host with Ike Reese at 94 WIP, sat down with JerseyMan for a one-on-one interview to discuss what he does, how he got there, and why it means so much to him."
^Marks, Jon. "Michael Barkann is Always on the Run", The Jewish Exponent, February 3, 2016. Accessed June 25, 2019. "'She would always tell me when I was in school, "You should be doing more,"' recalled Barkann, a four-sport athlete at East Brunswick High School, who later ran cross country at Syracuse."
^"Tomorrow: The Career and Music of EBHS Teacher 'Mr. K'", South Brunswick, NJ Patch, February 1, 2014. Accessed November 13, 2020. "Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations is about former East Brunswick High School orchestra teacher Jerry Kupchynsky, known as Mr. K. Join the co-authors, EBHS grads Joanne Lipman and Mr. K's daughter, Melanie Kupchynsky, in a multimedia tribute to this remarkable teacher."
^Lambert, Jim. "New Jersey's Sam Mattis wins the NCAA discus title for the University of Pennsylvania", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, June 13, 2015. Accessed June 25, 2019. "New Jersey's Sam Mattis, a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, won the NCAA men's discus title in dramatic fashion on Friday when he unloaded a school record 205-0 on his final attempt to rally for the victory at the University of Oregon. Mattis, a 2012 graduate of East Brunswick High School, was in second place behind Tavis Bailey of Tennessee, 203-2 to 203-0, when he stepped into the circle for his final attempt."
^Michael Seiberl Biography, All American Speakers. Accessed December 29, 2020. "Michael Seibel was born in Brooklyn, NY, and lived there for his first nine years. His family then moved to East Brunswick, NJ, where he graduated from East Brunswick High School in 2000."
^Makin, Cheryl. "Harry Potter anniversary edition covers designed by East Brunswick's Brian Selznick", Courier News, April 10, 2018. Accessed June 25, 2019. "As a child, Selznick started on his artistic career path by fashioning tin foil sculptures in his parents' East Brunswick kitchen and taking local art classes. A 1984 graduate of East Brunswick High School, Selznick, who went onto study at Rhode Island School of Design, published his first book, The Houdini Box, in 1991 while working in a children's bookstore in New York."
^Keller, Ilana, "Glenn Slater: The man behind the music", Asbury Park Press, April 7, 2016. Accessed August 4, 2017. "Thirty years ago, Glenn Slater wandered the halls of East Brunswick High School — these days, you'll find him at School of Rock.... 'I owe quite a bit of where I am to East Brunswick,' said Slater, whose Class of 1986 is holding its 30th reunion next week."
^Dunphy, John, "E.B. native wins Emmy for best comedy writing", East Brunswick Sentinel, September 29, 2005. Accessed July 28, 2016. "For East Brunswick native Jim Vallely, his began when former East Brunswick High School drama teacher Elliott Taubenslag asked him a simple question.... After graduating from high school in 1972, Vallely took on stand-up comedy by helping form the Funny Boys troupe during the late 1970s."
^Franklin, Paul, "Standings rekindle memories", Home News Tribune, June 3, 2007. Accessed September 9, 2011. "You might remember some of the noted players of that time including Artis Gilmore of Jacksonville, Jim McDaniels of Western Kentucky, Austin Carr of Notre Dame, South Carolina's John Roche, Johnny Neumann of Mississippi, Dean Meminger of Marquette, Sidney Wicks of UCLA and Penn's Dave Wohl a graduate of East Brunswick High School."