Ombudsman Charter East is only school in the state to receive this honor

PHOENIX  – Ombudsman Charter East, an alternative learning program, was recently named a Microsoft Showcase School for its commitment to innovation and educational transformation. Ombudsman Charter East is the only school in the state to receive the distinguished classification.

To earn the designation, administrators and teachers at Ombudsman Charter East completed a rigorous application process to demonstrate how the school would utilize Microsoft 365 programming to enhance the students’ experience, share resources and increase efficiency.

Ombudsman Charter East, one of seven Ombudsman programs throughout Phoenix and Tucson, offers free, flexible education programs and college and career counseling services to students ages 14-21 who struggle in the traditional high school environment due to behavioral issues, poor academic standing or adult responsibilities, or those who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school.  The Ombudsman curriculum and support services help students get back on track and graduate and prepares them to enter college or the workforce.

As a Microsoft Showcase School, teachers incorporate Microsoft 365 technology into the curriculum and student assessments. Students become proficient in utilizing basic Office software, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and utilize more advanced programming, such as Microsoft’s Teams platform for communication and OneNote for project management. Students use this technology to plan school-wide activities, share feedback on school events and complete classroom projects at least twice each semester. To ensure success, the school incorporates Microsoft 365 training into its orientation process so all students are prepared to use the technology from day one.

Regular attendance can be challenging for Ombudsman students. Many have adult responsibilities such as work, family and childcare. Students miss instruction when they are absent, which can cause them to fall further behind in coursework. To help ensure students succeed, Ombudsman classrooms incorporate small group and whole group study settings while also focusing on more independent-led teaching utilizing Microsoft technology like OneNote and PowerPoint, allowing students to access learning materials 24 hours a day from a variety of devices and stay current on their schoolwork.

Giving students the opportunity to select their own assessments and tools to demonstrate learning is increasing engagement and success in the classroom. Already the school has realized improved performance as a result of utilizing the Microsoft technology.

“Our school serves non-traditional learners in an alternative setting. Partnering with Microsoft has

allowed us to know our students better and to engage and motivate them more deeply,” said Ombudsman Charter East Principal Dorothy Cohen. Last year, students received credit for 10 percent more classes than the previous year and exceeded the district average for credits earned by 19 percent. In addition, Ombudsman Charter East has doubled the number of graduates from the previous year.

Students who want to increase their proficiency in Microsoft software to prepare for a career can pursue a Microsoft certification, proving their experience and expertise to potential employers. Ombudsman encourages students to complete the self-paced certification program and will cover the cost of the exam fee for students. For many, this certificate could open doors to careers previously unattainable without a college degree.

“It’s our goal to prepare our students for the next phase of life and ensure our graduates move on to college or career with increased self-efficacy in learning and greater digital literacy,” said Cohen. “Being a Microsoft Showcase School allows us to accomplish this goal and help our graduates achieve their goals too.”

About Ombudsman Charter Schools:

Ombudsman, a division of ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy and Education, provides highly personalized, technology-rich blended learning programs for high school students who have not been successful in traditional school programs. Our program is for students who are at risk of dropping out, who wish to recover credits to advance with their classmates, or who have adult responsibilities and would benefit from a flexible schedule. For more information, visit