F.A.Q.

Latina girl smilingWhat is Ombudsman? Is it a private school, charter, or something else?
Ombudsman is not a charter school. Ombudsman is part of the Chicago Public Schools Option Schools program. Chicago Public Schools is partnering with Ombudsman Educational Services to help out-of-school and off-track youth ages 14-21 graduate from high school ready for college and career.

How much does Ombudsman cost?
Tuition for Ombudsman is FREE. Ombudsman is a new option offered by Chicago Public Schools and is funded by the school district.

Who is eligible to attend Ombudsman?
Students who meet the following criteria are eligible to attend:

  • Returning or currently enrolled in grades 9-12
  • 21 or younger as of September 2, 2014
  • A resident of the city of Chicago

Do graduates receive a real diploma?
Yes. Students will earn a Chicago Public Schools Diploma; not a GED.

How do students enroll?
CPS district high schools and Re-engagement Centers will refer eligible students, or interested students and family members can contact Ombudsman directly to begin the enrollment process. Request a call for more information or enroll now.

How large are the classes/How many students are in each learning community?
Each class is 15-20 students with a student to teacher ratio of 15 to one, so students will be able to get the personalized help they need to improve skills, earn credits and meet their goals.

Where is Ombudsman of Chicago located?
There are three convenient Ombudsman Options School learning centers in the Chicago metropolitan area: one on the Northwest Side at 7500 N. Harlem Ave., on the West Side at 2401 W. Congress Parkway and on the South Side at 6057 S. Western Ave.

When is the first day of school?
The first day of school is Monday, September 2, however, Ombudsman of Chicago has an open enrollment policy, and if space is available, students can enroll at any time during the school year. Space is limited, so we encourage you to register your child right away.

Ombudsman is a New Options School program for students who are out of school, recovering from dropping out or off track for graduation. What does that mean and what does that include?
An Options School program provides students with an approach and an environment that are different from a traditional classroom setting. Students work in a welcoming, safe and technology-rich setting and receive one-on-one attention from caring teachers and benefit from a mastery-based blended learning approach.

What is mastery-based learning?
Mastery-based learning allows students to work at their own speed and skill level. Students are tested to determine their current skill level in each subject and work at exactly that level. Subjects and grade levels are customized for each student so that students can progress through each grade level based on their skills. Personalized instruction allows students to keep their progress private. They don’t worry about what their peers are doing or how they compare to others. While in the program, they can focus their attention on academic credit recovery and graduation.

What is blended learning?
Blended learning is a mix of online learning and teacher-led instruction. Ombudsman’s blended learning approach allows teachers to integrate technology into their work directly with individual students and small groups.

How will Ombudsman students benefit from personalized instruction?
Our instructors work with each student individually to determine his or her abilities, challenges and personal needs. Our instructors help students identify and overcome academic obstacles as well as family, personal and emotional issues that can impact their success. We view each student as an individual who has the potential to graduate and succeed in life.

What will the class day at Ombudsman look like?
Because many students need a flexible schedule due to work or family responsibilities, Ombudsman offers up to three, four-hour sessions each weekday at each of three locations. Sessions times at all locations are in the morning from 7:30-11:30, the afternoon from 12:00-4:00. Northwest also offers an evening session from 4:10-8:10. Students will be greeted by a teacher when they arrive, and they will complete their assignments by following a prescribed learning path in a technology-rich environment.

Students will also participate in teacher-led small group instruction, collaborate on group projects and learning activities, and develop meaningful relationships with teachers who care about them and can help them succeed. Students will rotate among three or four classrooms that will be led by a certified teacher, and the size of each class will be small. Ombudsman will offer students the emotional and behavioral supports to develop the skills to establish positive relationships and the self-confidence they need to be successful. A licensed social worker will teach social skills, and students may participate in individual or group counseling. A special education teacher will assist students who have Individual Education Plans (IEPs).

Will Ombudsman help prepare students for life after high school?
Yes. Every Ombudsman learning community will have a Post-Secondary Counselor and each site will have a Post-Secondary and Career Development Center so students can learn about academic and career pathways. Internships, job shadowing, college fairs, career days and counselors will introduce students to a wide range of opportunities.

What is your philosophy?  What is it “like” in the center?
Student Experience

  • Ombudsman uses a student focused approach, setting goals, providing one-on-one support through individual and small group instruction.
  • Students learn to make choices about their own education and preparing for life after high school.
  • Social work counseling and post-secondary counseling services are provided
  • Special education services are also available

And, students graduate.

Is Ombudsman accredited and if so, by what organizations?
Ombudsman Educational Services is accredited by AdvancED, and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), the same organization that accredits Chicago Public Schools.

What is Ombudsman Educational Services?
Ombudsman was established in 1975 and today partners with more than 120 school districts in 20 states. We work with students in large urban areas such as Las Vegas, Cobb County, Ga., and Philadelphia. We have more than 20 centers in the Chicago area and two in Rockford. For more information about Ombudsman Educational Services, visit www.Ombudsman.com .

Student Testimonial

Ombudsman
I started Ombudsman in 2015 with only 6 credits. With kids it’s hard to really go to regular school and work- Ombudsman gave me a shorter day. I’m also graduating a year early yes I am a 2016 graduate. My teacher Ms. Paulsen was also the best teacher I’ve ever had.
Written by: Google User
Alternative Education
Date published: 11/16/2016
5 / 5 stars