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Education In America Authors: Darrah Deal, Student Lance, David Miller, David Miller, Chris Pentago

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Aurora Public Schools Honors First Graduates of Program for At-Risk Students

Aurora Public Schools Pioneers New Model to Address Drop-Out Rate

AURORA, Colo., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Eight students who dropped out of high school and another who was in danger of dropping out are the first graduates of an innovative new program for at-risk students in Aurora Public Schools.

The Rebound Program, created in September 2008, represents a partnership between Aurora Public Schools, the Colorado Coalition of Faith, Community College of Aurora, Colorado Youth for a Change, and a national program called Ombudsman Educational Services.

"The Rebound program offers hope of a regular high school diploma for students who may have thought that a GED was their only option," Aurora Public Schools Superintendent John Barry said.

"Superintendent Barry has shown real leadership in ensuring that all of the students in his district have the support they need to graduate from high school," said Gov. Bill Ritter, who has made halving the state's drop-out rate by 2017 a cornerstone of his education agenda.

Rebound provides personalized instruction in a technology-rich environment that enables students to progress at their own pace, condensing the school day into shorter than traditional sessions to accommodate students' family and work responsibilities.

"I was only two-and-a-half credits short of graduating when I dropped out," said Rebound graduate Aaron Faulkner. "My mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor my senior year and I had a hard time handling the situation by myself. Rebound helped me finish my degree before I turned 21, which was my goal. Now I can think about culinary school, which is what I want to do next."

In addition to academics, the program provides support to students through behavior intervention, social skills training and life management skills. Students also have the opportunity to enroll in the Community College of Aurora to earn college credits while they complete their high school courses.

"This program is great for students who can't go to class all day long, like young moms," said Rebound graduate Laura Ramos. "I dropped out of school because I was pregnant, but I wanted to get my diploma. Rebound helped me work at my own pace and earn my diploma so I can make a better future for my daughter."

"We are excited to be part of Rebound, bringing not only hope for students, but a clear path to a future of success," Community College of Aurora President Linda Bowman said.

Graduation for the nine Rebound students will be held Friday, Jan. 16, 2009, at 4:30 p.m. at the Aurora History Museum. Ramos and two other students will speak at the graduation.

SOURCE Educational Services of America

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