Anson County Schools will partner with Ombudsman Educational Services to operate Anson Academy, a new alternative education program for students in grades six through twelve. Anson Academy is one of 25 schools in North Carolina to be awarded a three-year School Improvement Grant making possible this strategic partnership. The Anson County Board of Education approved moving forward with Ombudsman at their May 2010 business meeting contingent upon grant funding.

Anson County Schools will partner with Ombudsman Educational Services to operate Anson Academy, a new alternative education program for students in grades six through twelve.

Parents and students should expect letters within the next week.

Anson Academy is one of 25 schools in North Carolina to be awarded a three-year School Improvement Grant making possible this strategic partnership. The Anson County Board of Education approved moving forward with Ombudsman at their May 2010 business meeting contingent upon grant funding.

Making up the new Anson Academy will be approximately 100 students who will learn in a smaller class size setting while receiving personalized attention from caring teachers. Each student will receive a customized academic plan created to meet their specific needs. A technology-rich environment allowing students to receive immediate feedback and become familiar with tools they will use in college, trade or vocational school and even the workplace will be offered. Work-based learning, service learning and volunteer projects that will help students explore careers, develop the skills required to secure a job, and give back to their community will be a focus area.

Flexible schedules which give students time to attend class during one of three 4-hour sessions will allow them to meet family or work commitments. Teacher-led learning activities and small group instruction to help students apply knowledge and enhance social skills will be provided. A counselor who will provide academic, career and social supports will be available, all of which should equate to greater accountability and improved academic results for the students enrolled.

“Anson Academy is an innovative solution that will help us fulfill our mission to ensure all students acquire skills and knowledge necessary to be successful and responsible citizens,” Greg Firn, superintendent of Anson County Schools, said.

“Students who may have more success in the Academy’s nontraditional environment will be assigned to Anson Academy, or they may choose to attend the new program if they believe Anson Academy’s personalized instruction and customized learning will best meet their individual needs,” added Firn.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Anson County Students,” stated Preston Waddell, Project Director/LEA Liaison for Anson Academy. “The hands-on approach and 10:1 student/instructor ratio will give our students the attention they need to achieve their educational goals.”

“Positive, respectful interaction between students and teachers who care about them and can help them succeed is a vital component of Anson Academy,” Firn said. “Career exploration that includes the development of post-secondary education or work goals is also crucial to students’ success after high school,” continued Firn. Academy graduates will have the opportunity to earn a state and nationally recognized Career Readiness Certificate that documents their entry-level skills for different occupations.

“Partnering with Ombudsman will help us provide meaningful education in an alternative setting, “Firn said. “Ombudsman’s results-based program is proven successful, and we are confident that Anson Academy students will meet the high standards of Anson County Schools.”

Ombudsman’s rigorous academic program is aligned with North Carolina standards and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, the organization that accredits North Carolina schools.

Ombudsman students make significant academic gains. Data from the 2008-2009 school year, the most recent available, shows that Ombudsman students nationwide advanced 2.4 grade levels in math application, 1.6 grade levels in language mechanics, 1.5 grade levels in spelling, 1.4 grade levels in vocabulary and 1.3 grade levels in math computation.

“Ombudsman partners with school districts to provide students an alternate route to a high school diploma,” Mark Claypool, Ombudsman president and CEO, said. “Students receive one-on-one instruction from caring teachers who guide and encourage them to make positive choices about their education. Ombudsman helps students recognize their ability to learn and celebrate their successes so they can achieve their academic and career goals.”

“Anson County Schools is dedicated to our commitment that “All Means All,” stated Mr. Michael McLeod, Executive Director for Individual and Organizational Accountability.
Every child should have the opportunity to learn regardless of the obstacles they face. By offering our students with an alternative educational setting we hope to be able to help more children reach their full potential.”

Nationally, 85 percent of Ombudsman students graduate, earn credits or return to their district school closer to or at grade level. Ombudsman has served nearly 123,000 students since it was founded in 1975 and has partnerships with more than 120 school districts in numerous states. For more information visit www.ombudsman.com or www.ansonschools.org.