Mark Claypool, president and CEO of Educational Services of America (ESA), is a member of a panel discussing options for helping students graduate from high school at the first Building a Grad Nation Summit, March 21-23 in Washington, D.C.

For Immediate Release

Nashville, Tenn. (March 18, 2011) – Mark Claypool, president and CEO of Educational Services of America (ESA), is a member of a panel discussing options for helping students graduate from high school at the first Building a Grad Nation Summit, March 21-23 in Washington, D.C.

The summit is co-hosted by America’s Promise Alliance, the Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, four organizations that have joined hands to inspire a national movement to reach a 90 percent national graduation rate by 2020. The three-day event is designed to bring together teachers, school administrators, community advocates, business leaders, policymakers, local government officials, nonprofit, education experts and many more leaders from the public and private sector in a dialogue on dropout prevention efforts.

ESA is the nation’s leading provider of K-12 alternative and special education schools and programs for students who are at risk of dropping out and for students with special needs. Claypool will present during the “Alternative Pathways and Dropout Recovery” session, and will discuss how Ombudsman Educational Services, a division of ESA, is helping public school districts provide alternative programs for dropout prevention and credit recovery. Ombudsman has proven that students make significant academic gains when provided with a customized academic plan created to meet their individual needs.

Data from the 2009-2010 school year show that, during an average enrollment period of 91 days, Ombudsman students nationwide advanced 1.5 grade levels in math application, 1.2 grade levels in language mechanics, 1.2 grade levels in spelling, one grade level in vocabulary, one grade level in math computation and nearly one grade level in reading comprehension. Nationally, 85 percent of Ombudsman students graduate, earn credits or return to their district school closer to or at grade level.

“Ombudsman teachers guide students to make positive choices about their academics and their behaviors and empower students to be accountable for their learning,” Claypool said. “Ombudsman’s customized academic programs and dedicated social skills training and supports help students become successful and prepared for life after high school. Ninety-four percent of students surveyed said they believe Ombudsman will help them achieve their future goals.”

ESA’s mission is to provide personalized, evidence-based educational services for non-traditional learners in collaboration with families and public school districts. To fulfill this mission, ESA operates two strategic service divisions: Ombudsman Educational Services and Spectrum Center Schools and Programs, which partners with public schools to provide individualized services for students with challenging educational and behavioral needs such as autism, emotional disturbance and developmental delay.

ESA operates more than 140 schools and programs serving more than 240 school districts in nearly 20 states. For more information, visit www.esa-education.com.