It’s a brand new program that kicked off this semester–one that’s giving kids a second chance. And, Thursday some of those students graduated.
This is the first semester Grand Island Public Schools partnered with Ombudsman Educational Services.
Ombudsman serves as an alternative school for at risk kids.
Thursday 7 kids graduated from the center, receiving the same exact diploma as their peers at GISH.
The crowd is smaller, there are fewer students in caps and gowns and the stage, well, there is no stage. But this graduation ceremony is just as special as any other.
“I just feel so happy ,so proud. This is what I always wanted for him because he’s very intelligent,” said Karen Alvarez.
Alvarez is talking about her son Roberto Fraire. Fraire is one of seven students who graduated Thursday from Grand Island’s Ombudsman program.
Ferrari and his family weren’t sure this day would ever come.
“We’ve had our ups and downs,” said Alvarez.
Fraire missed most of his junior year at GISH. Then his senior year he got suspended. Finally, administrators transferred Fraire to Ombudsman, where he excelled.
“I come to school every day; it’s easier to work. I get more one on one help by teachers. I just like it more. It’s easier,” said Fraire.
This center meets state and federal education standards. The curriculum here is just as intensive as any other public school.
And there’s a focus on computers.
“They’re required to get a 90% on every assignment in order to move onto the next assignment,” said Ombudsman Center Director Linda Sanders.
GISH faculty members choose which students go here. Typically, they’re kids with problems like attendance.
“We have to continue to recognize that students have individual needs and this is one way to meet those needs,” said Clay Schutz, Grand Island School Board.
So that every kid can get an equal chance at success.
“My message to them is that despite what building they completed their education in we’re proud of them because they’re GI students. They’re gonna leave here with diplomas and that’s the bottom line,” Schutz said.
Now with the exception of seniors, teachers at Ombudsman try to transition kids back into public school.
And as far as Roberto goes, he says he plans to go to CCC to study business management.