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At their February 10, 2011 meeting, the Sumter County Board of Education approved association with Ombudsman for creation of a center for Sumter County Schools. In recent days, the site for the new Ombudsman program for Sumter County nears completion. Training continues for educators and facilitators who will manage the local program.

Ombudsman Educational Services collaborates with public school districts to provide accredited alternative education to middle and high school students at risk of dropping out of school, helping students earn diplomas and helping school districts improve graduation rates. Ombudsman is accredited by AdvancED, the unified organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). AdvancED is dedicated to advancing excellence in education worldwide through accreditation, research, and professional services.
Ombudsman provides an alternative middle and high school program for students who learn better in a non-traditional classroom setting and want an alternate route to high school graduation.

The vision and mission of Ombudsman believes all students have value, can learn and can develop their inherent talents to become contributing members of society. According to the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET), a child drops out of high school every nine seconds. Ombudsman's alternative school programs help communities combat the staggering social and economic costs of high dropout rates. Since 1975, Ombudsman Educational Services has provided more than 130,000 at-risk students an alternate route to graduation - and to all the opportunities a real high school diploma provides.

Ombudsman students are at risk of not graduating because they may have missed too many school days, lack credits, or have academic challenges or adult responsibilities that keep them from being successful in a traditional classroom environment.
Students benefit from computer-assisted instruction and teacher-led instruction while following customized academic programs that are aligned to state standards. Ombudsman's comprehensive programs provide the academic, emotional and behavioral support students need to be successful in the classroom and in life after high school.

Many public school districts partner with Ombudsman to provide alternative programs for dropout prevention and credit recovery. Nationwide, 85 percent of Ombudsman students graduate, earn necessary credits or return to their district school closer to or at grade level. This number is significant, as 100 percent of Ombudsman students are considered at risk when entering the program.
When Ombudsman students are coached in the value and rewards of accountability for their academic performance, many experience success and report self-confidence for the first time, even if they have been unsuccessful in past academic endeavors. This renewed sense of confidence contributes to improved dropout and graduation rates for Ombudsman's district partners and the states in which they operate.

Ombudsman programs can be funded by Title I and other categorical grants. To learn more about Ombusman, contact to learn how Ombudsman can help improve education outcomes for at-risk students and support important district academic and graduation goals.

Col. Eric Bryant of the Sumter County Sheriff's Department said, "We are excited about getting the Ombusman program in Sumter County. It will be beneficial for students and parents and partner with Sumter County Schools to provide additional stimulus to help students stay in school and seek a meaningful education."