VALDOSTA, GA – A new education program is underway in Valdosta to help at-risk students get on the right track. The school system is partnering with a private company called Ombudsman Educational Services to make sure struggling students graduate.
It’s not your average school setting, students arrive for one of the three daily sessions and learn for four hours each. Two sessions are in the morning for middle schoolers and one at night for high schoolers. Valdosta City School leaders say this is the first time they’ve had a program like this.
“The program offers a true alternative route for our students to be successful and graduate and that’s what we we’re looking for. Some students have a difficulty learning in a traditional environment,” said Dr. Alvin Hudson, Asst. Superintendent of Operations.
The students learn through an education based computer system, but if a child is struggling with the curriculum a teacher will step in and work one-on-one.
It gives high schoolers a chance to work at a job during the day and work on getting their diploma at night. The Operations Manager says regardless of why students are in the program, the most important thing is getting them back on track.
“The students we have here have struggled making the academic progress and being able to function well in the large school environment. So when they come to us they have a clean slate, I don’t know why they’re here, it doesn’t matter to me,” said Arnold Wright, Ombudsman Operations Manager for south Georgia.
Wright says bringing the center to the Valdosta School System was a partnership the program really wanted.
“People look to Valdosta as an example in this part of Georgia and Northern Florida, so any time you work with good people to get good things done, then of course that raises your stature,” said Wright.
Right now nearly 70 students are enrolled in the program and officials believe by the end of the semester they will reach capacity at 100.
The Ombudsman Program will have a community open house September 20th, so people in the community can see how the program is helping students.
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