Beating the Odds

By Max Resnik

June 8, 2011 Updated Jun 8, 2011 at 6:28 PM EDT

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Twenty former at-risk students received their high school diplomas today as they graduated from the Ombudsman Educational Services.

The group partners with the East Allen County Schools to provide a one-on-one style of teaching. Ombudsman director Heather Jauregui calls their approach more individualized. She says many of the students did not believe they had the ability to succeed.

“They felt like they wouldn't make it--that they weren't going to be successful and they came to us and they couldn't believe what they were capable of doing. We just have a different approach. It's more one-on-one. Each is treated individually."

Zachary Isaacson is a product of the Ombudsman program. His problems landed him in nearly 10 different high schools.

"With all the schools that I've gone too, I've been through roughly nine different schools and this was the only system that had worked for me and it really pulled out my potential."

Walter Cable also found the Ombudsman program beneficial to his future. He says the one-on-one approach allowed him to work at a pace that was comfortable for him.

"I couldn't work at the pace that the school was forcing, not forcing but getting us to work at. Ombudsman helped me to work at my own pace and still be able to succeed like everyone else."

Isaacson says getting interested in the teaching material is the first step for any students like him.

“Just get interested in how you're leaning. Get interested in the lessons and it really helps them fly by, helps you learn more and when all that's done you get to walk across the stage."

Cable agrees saying effort is the key to unlocking your potential.

“All you need is just a little bit of effort. You can be what you want to be. I mean, you're the master of your own abilities."

Data from the 2010-2011 school year shows that just three months of schooling with Ombudsman can do wonders for students. During a three month period, students advanced 3.2 grade levels in reading comprehension, 2.4 grade levels in spelling, 2.3 grade levels in math application, 2.2 grade levels in vocabulary and nearly two grade levels in mathematics and language mechanics.




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