The designation of 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING recognizes communities producing measurable results that improve the lives of young people. Ombudsman Educational Services recognizes that many of the 100 Best communities are home to students who have been impacted by the Ombudsman program. By providing students an alternate route to a high school diploma, the program helps them overcome the difficulties that prevented them from success in a traditional classroom environment. Often these students are hindered by chronic absenteeism, issues with academic skills or adult responsibilities.

A 2010 100 Best winner, Aurora, Colorado operates the Ombudsman REBOUND program to recover high school dropouts. In addition to academics, the program provides behavior intervention, social skills training and life management skills guidance. Students also have the opportunity to enroll in the Community College of Aurora to earn college credits while they complete their high school courses.

Ombudsman’s partnership with the Aurora Public Schools demonstrates its commitment to increasing the city’s graduation rate and providing the resources necessary for youth development that produce results.

“There are many detours in life, but the courage that the students demonstrate when they show up every single day and attend Ombudsman REBOUND to earn their high school diploma is evidence of their character and the quality of the students, as well as the wonderful options that we have in the City of Aurora,” said Aurora Public Schools Superintendent John Barry. “This program allows us to provide an option for our students to come back to school, earn a high school diploma and then be able to go on to bigger and better things like attend college or serve our country.”

Students attend Ombudsman REBOUND for four hours each school day, which allows them time to work or care for their families. Students have greater accountability for their learning and are responsible for following a prescribed academic path created to meet their specific needs. Because they complete most coursework on computers, they receive immediate feedback and become familiar with tools similarly used in college, trade or vocational schools, or the workplace. Ombudsman teachers guide students towards positive decision making regarding their academics and behavior.

America’s Promise Alliance and Ombudsman Educational Services recently announced a multi-year partnership to help increase high school and college graduation rates across the country. This partnership is a featured component of the Alliance’s 10-year Grad Nation campaign to mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis. Ombudsman joins many of the nation’s corporate leaders such as State Farm, presenting sponsor of Grad Nation, Boeing, Target, AT&T, and more in addressing the dropout crisis.

Ombudsman Educational Services partners with more than 120 school districts in nearly 20 states to help students graduate from high school. Data from the 2009-2010 school year shows that 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 has served more than 132,000 students since its founding in 1975.