CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) – Caddo Parish kids went back to school on Monday. The district has a few renovated or changed campuses, and they hope those changes will improve the level of education.

On Monday morning, J.S. Clark opened its doors for the first time as an Elementary school. The former middle school campus was renovated when the district decided to close West Shreveport and Central Elementary schools, and combine them on one campus.

Just a week ago, the halls were still filled with construction equipment, but on the first day of school uniforms and back packs filled them instead.
Some parents were upset when the district decided to close the other schools, but others are excited about opportunities at the new campus like science and iPad labs.

“I feel great about it. I think it’s going to be a great change for them and a new experience,” said Candice Martin, who has daughters in the 1st and 6th grades.

The other big campus change is with the Alternative school system. The district has decided to privatize its Alternative Education program using a program called Ombudsman.

“If we do our job, then we will significantly impact the drop out rate. We’ll significantly impact behavioral issues,” said Ombudsman CEO, Mark Claypool.

The district expects to save about $ 3-million a year by contracting with Ombudsman.

The Tennessee based company will have 4 campuses across the Parish that can serve up to 450 students at a time. For now, it is temporarily using school district resources, like the old Bethune Middle School Library, as its campuses.

On the first day of school about 230 were enrolled in the program which allows them to attend one of three sessions- morning, afternoon, or evening- so the students have more flexibility with their schedule. The program also tries to specially tailor lessons for each student who had fallen behind to get them back on track.

“Our ultimate goal is once a student finishes with an Ombudsman program that they’ll be able to seamlessly integrate back into Caddo School District program without skipping a beat,” said program administrator, Guy Cooper.

The district hopes the changes at all of its new campuses will help students excel this school year.

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