Fusion Academy of Michigan is a partnership between virtual school operator Connections Education and alternative education provider Ombudsman Educational Services to help students in the Detroit area who have dropped out of high school earn the credits they need to graduate.

Dazmon Taylor was bullied, threatened, intimidated and ostracized.

“I couldn’t handle it,” Taylor told The Detroit News, “so I just stopped going to school altogether.”

Taylor was on his way to becoming a victim of the nation’s inexcusable dropout epidemic when he saw an advertisement for Fusion Academy of Michigan. The school is a partnership between virtual school operator Connections Education and alternative education provider Ombudsman Educational Services to help students in the Detroit area who have dropped out of high school earn the credits they need to graduate.

“We have room for 300 students, and about 150 are enrolled so far,” said Ombudsman’s Jenni Leeds.

Students who are younger than 20 and coded as dropouts in the Michigan Student Data System are eligible to enroll. Graduates earn an accredited high school diploma, and tuition is free.

Because many students need a flexible schedule due to work or family responsibilities, Fusion Academy offers three daily school sessions at each of its Detroit locations. Each session is four and one-half hours long, supplemented by additional remote coursework.

The program was a perfect fit for Dazmon, who wants to be a clinical psychologist.

“Having something like this is a blessing,” he said. “I want to help people who are dealing with mental illnesses, so I can be that vessel they can come talk to instead of running away from their problems like I did.”