If you have questions that are not answered here, please call Ombudsman at (800) 833-9235.
What is Ombudsman?
Ombudsman is an alternative education program for at-risk students. Ombudsman gives middle and high students who are at risk of not graduating an accredited alternate route to earn a high school diploma. Ombudsman partners with public school districts to educate students in grades six through 12 who have not been successful in a traditional school setting by offering:
- Personalized instruction
- A small classroom setting
- A low student-to-instructor ratio
- Computer-assisted instruction
- Increased interaction with instructors
- A flexible schedule that accommodates family and work responsibilities
How does Ombudsman work?
Ombudsman partners with school districts nationwide to help remove the roadblocks to graduation and offers alternative education programs for at-risk middle and high school students who want to get back on track. Many students do better in small learning communities where they receive individual attention, work on computers to master subjects at their own pace, and attend class on a flexible schedule that accommodates work and family responsibilities.
Students have a role in choosing which material they work on each day, and they enjoy being in charge of their own learning. On average, Ombudsman’s students achieve more than one academic year’s growth in less than one year’s time. Eighty-five percent of Ombudsman students graduate, earn credits or return to their district school closer to or at grade level.
What grades does Ombudsman offer?
Ombudsman serves students in grades six through 12. Ombudsman’s curriculum begins at the 3rd grade reading level.
What do Ombudsman students study?
Ombudsman students receive accredited instruction in seven specific areas:
- Essential skills, such as reading, writing and math
- Science, including biology, chemistry, physical science and physics
- Social studies and citizenship, including U.S. history, world history and government/civics
- Life management concepts, including personal finance, consumer education and social skills development
- Health and recreation, including first aid, fitness and nutrition
- Aesthetics, which includes arts appreciation
- College and career preparation, including test preparation, career opportunities and job skills
How long is the typical class day?
Ombudsman offers multiple flexible schedules and a compressed class day to accommodate students’ needs. Students spend about three-quarters of the day working on computers to master their subjects with assistance from teachers and instructional staff. The rest of the day is spent doing writing assignments, participating in group projects and conducting research. Students remain on task, focused, motivated and engaged in learning.
Describe the typical Ombudsman student.
Students drop out of school for a variety of reasons. Some work full-time to support their families or have missed too much school because of an illness. Others say they feel uncomfortable in large classes. No matter what challenges they face in life, students can find success through Ombudsman’s alternative program. Ombudsman provides a non-traditional classroom setting, with personalized instruction, computer-assisted learning and a flexible schedule. Ombudsman’s program is tailored for each student, including students who have IEPs or who are English language learners.
What diploma do graduates receive?
The goal is for students to earn a diploma from their school district. In some cases, with the school district’s approval, students may earn a diploma from Ombudsman’s accredited alternative education program. Either way, students have an accredited diploma they can present when enrolling in a community college, trade school, technical program or university, enlisting in the military or applying for a job.
Are Ombudsman students required to take state competency exams?
Yes, students take state competency exams if they are required by their state.
What is Ombudsman’s success rate?
According to standardized test results, Ombudsman students achieve more than one year’s academic growth during one year’s time. One hundred percent of Ombudsman students are at risk – and 85 percent of them graduate, earn credits or return to their district school closer to or at grade level.
Is Ombudsman accredited?
Yes, Ombudsman is accredited by AdvancED, the North Central Association (NCA), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and Middle States Commission on Elementary Schools (MSCES).
Where are Ombudsman learning centers located?
Ombudsman centers are typically located off campus and are located within the district’s public transportation and/or school bus routes. Centers are open Monday through Friday and offer multiple flexible sessions. Schedules follow the district calendar and students remain on district rolls.
What is the history of Ombudsman?
For more than 30 years, Ombudsman has provided students with the right environment and the right instruction to reach their goal of high school graduation. Ombudsman students work with teachers and staff to find a schedule and approach to meet their needs. Through personalized and computer-assisted instruction, students learn skills ranging from math and science to personal finance and nutrition.
Ombudsman is a division of Educational Services of America (ESA), the nation’s leading provider of K-12 and post-secondary alternative and special education programs. Based in Nashville, Tenn., ESA operates more than 140 schools and programs serving more than 240 school districts in numerous states. Ombudsman also operates charter schools in Arizona.
What benefits do school districts realize by partnering with Ombudsman?
Districts receive many benefits by partnering with Ombudsman. Ombudsman helps reduce classroom disruptions, counseling costs, teacher frustration, suspensions and expulsions. Districts also save money because the average cost per pupil is less than the district’s average cost. Students remain on school district rolls and Ombudsman reports enrollment and attendance information to its school district partners. This allows school districts to benefit from improved graduation and attendance rates as well as retain funding streams.
How do students enroll in Ombudsman?
School districts refer at-risk students to Ombudsman using criteria created by the Ombudsman implementation team, which includes school district personnel. When a student is referred, an intake appointment is scheduled with both the student and the parent(s) or guardian(s) to involve the entire family in the student’s learning experience. Students can enroll at any time during the year. While attending Ombudsman, students remain enrolled in their referring school districts.
Students also have the option of enrolling in Ombudsman as private-pay students, and students in Arizona can attend Ombudsman charter schools in Phoenix and Tucson. Charter schools are funded by the state, so students attend free of charge.
To apply to one of our charter schools, fill out the Charter Application Form or call
Are students eligible to participate in activities associated with the referring school?
Yes, students are typically eligible to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities at their referring school. This decision is made at the discretion of the referring school and/or district.
Are Ombudsman teachers certified?
Yes. All teachers are certified and meet the federal Highly Qualified Teacher requirements as defined by No Child Left Behind. Just as important, Ombudsman teachers are selected for their ability to work with at-risk students. Ombudsman teachers guide students to make good choices about their academic progress, attendance and consideration for others in the learning center. There is one instructor for every 10 or fewer students, so students receive individualized attention – and they stay on task, focused, motivated and engaged in learning. The result – students feel bright, capable and responsible for their achievement.
In addition, teachers are supported by instructional assistants who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
Click here to learn more about Ombudsman through a short video featuring students, staff and school district partners.