ESA’s extensive experience in dropout prevention and special education programs positions it for continued growth and student success. This experience, coupled with the increased need for special and alternative education programs, affords unique opportunities for ESA to serve public school districts and students across the country. The need is great, as indicated by U.S. Department of Education data:
- The national average graduation rate for U.S. students in the class of 2007 was 68.8 percent, representing a second consecutive year of decline1.
- The dropout rate of minority students was nearly 50 percent in 20082.
- Among districts that administered alternative schools and programs during the 2007-08 school year, one-third (33 percent) reported an inability to enroll new students in those
schools and programs due to staffing or space limitations3.
- 6.6 million students received special education services in 2008. This number represents 13.4 percent of all K-12 students enrolled in United States public schools that year4.
Because of its ability to meet these dynamic needs, ESA has been recognized as one of America’s 5,000 fastest-growing private companies by Inc. 500/5000 (2007-2011), selected for BusinessTN’s Hot100, a list of Tennessee companies that exemplify entrepreneurial vision and growth (2009), and identified as one of the 25 fastest-growing private companies in Middle Tennessee by the Nashville Business Journal (2009-2010).
With more than 35 years of providing special education and dropout prevention programs, ESA has a record of success in serving school districts, students, their families and communities. This legacy, combined with the projected increase in education expenditures, provides an opportunity for significant growth with special and alternative education programs designed to help students succeed.
ESA’s evidence-based programs are established on best practices and have been recognized as model programs by national organizations such as the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. ESA’s programs have served more than 145,000 students over 35 years. Our experience working within federal and state education guidelines, along with our solid infrastructure and broad geographic scope, position us to develop the most efficient and effective process when initiating new programs.
ESA provides school districts with the programs and services they need to improve graduation and dropout rates, educate children with autism spectrum disorders and other special needs, and meet state and federal requirements. Districts can access federal and other funds to pay for many of ESA’s programs.
Scalable infrastructure and information systems allow for efficiency in developing new programs, all of which are tailored to meet the needs of individual school districts and student populations. ESA utilizes its national resources and economies of scale to deliver localized, customized services for school districts, parents, students and communities.
Through its Ombudsman and Spectrum Center divisions, ESA provides fully accredited programs for students who are at risk of dropping out of school and for students with special needs.
Although most Ombudsman students are considered at risk of not graduating, more than 80 percent of Ombudsman students graduate, earn necessary credits or return to their district school closer to or at grade level.
Spectrum Center students set individual goals through Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and work toward those goals through vocational or technical training, academics, transitional services and independent living preparation. Last year, 78 percent of Spectrum Center students in collaborative programs and 60 percent of students in traditional Spectrum Center programs* made significant progress toward IEP goals. Additionally, challenging behaviors were reduced by 83 percent among all Spectrum Center students. Spectrum Center students make up to 12 months of progress in one year compared to the 6 months of progress that is typically observed for students in special education.
ESA’s Ombudsman and Spectrum Center programs help students, their families and communities and offer untold societal benefits.
* Students in traditional Spectrum Center programs typically have more extensive educational and behavioral needs that impact their ability to learn.