Division Overview

Ombudsman Educational Services partners with school districts to provide at-risk students with an alternate route to a high school diploma. At-risk students generally have issues with attendance, credits or academic skills, or adult responsibilities that keep them from being successful in traditional school.


Students who attend Ombudsman alternative programs remain enrolled in their home school districts. This allows school districts to benefit from improved graduation and attendance rates as well as retain funding streams. School districts can also utilize federal stimulus dollars from the ARRA, School Improvement Grants and Race to the Top awards to fund Ombudsman programs that help improve outcomes for at-risk students, support important academic achievement goals, reduce dropouts and improve graduation rates.


Ombudsman’s rigorous academic programs are aligned to Common Core, and Ombudsman is the first organization of its kind to receive system accreditation from AdvancED, the world’s largest independent accreditation commission for primary and secondary education organizations. 


Nationwide, more than 80 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 most Ombudsman students are considered at risk when entering the program.


Choice Theory and Reality Therapy

The foundations of the Ombudsman program are Choice Theory and Reality Therapy, methodologies developed by William Glasser, M.D. By applying Dr. Glasser’s principles to the classroom, Ombudsman gives students greater accountability for their learning and helps them gain a better understanding of the consequences of their choices.


By modeling behavior and encouraging students to make positive choices, Ombudsman team members help students learn:


  • that every situation presents a choice;
  • to identify potential outcomes of choices they are considering;
  • to set goals;
  • to develop a plan to achieve those goals; and
  • to take responsibility for the choices they make.

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. 


Environment and Culture

Ombudsman applies the core philosophies of Glasser’s Choice Theory and Reality Therapy in its classrooms and makes it easy for students to make good decisions. Ombudsman accomplishes this by providing an environment with:


  • personalized instruction;
  • prescribed learning paths;
  • small classrooms;
  • flexible schedules;
  • highly structured classroom environments;
  • high academic expectations;
  • instructors who model positive behavior;
  • encouragement to make good choices;
  • on- or off-campus programs; and
  • technology-based curriculum.

By providing highly individualized services, including a written Individual Learning Plan (ILP) for each student, Ombudsman guides all students toward success, regardless of their learning style or skill level.


Ombudsman PLUS

Ombudsman PLUS is an alternative education program for at-risk middle and high school students who have challenging educational and behavioral needs that may keep them from being successful in a traditional classroom setting, but who can succeed if their needs are addressed appropriately in a supportive environment.


Ombudsman students benefit from computer-assisted instruction and teacher-lead instruction in small and large groups. They follow a customized academic program aligned to state standards and created to meet their specific needs, with the goal of transitioning back to their home district. This comprehensive program provides the academic, emotional and behavioral support students need to be successful in the classroom and in life after high school.  



Ombudsman operates schools and programs in 20 states. Click map below for locations.



Click below to download detailed information about Ombudsman programs:

  1. U.S. Department of Education. EPE Research Center Report. 2010
  2. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, The Condition of Education. 2010.
  3. IES/US Dept. of Ed. Alternative Schools and Programs for Public School Students at Risk of Educational Failure: 2007-08.
  4. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, selected years, 1992 through 2007, and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) database, retrieved April 21, 2009, from National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education, 2007-08. Table was prepared September 2009.