New Contract for Ombudsman (Parker, Ariz.)

Date: April 19, 2016

Written by John Gutekunst

Ombudsman Education Services will be providing alternative education services for the Parker Unified School District for the next three years. The District Governing Board approved a proposal from Ombudsman to provide these services from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019.

At the board’s April 13 meeting, Superintendent James Lotts said Ombudsman’s current contract expires at the end of June, and they were the only service to submit a proposal. He said the district has an excellent relationship with Ombudsman.

“I feel really good about what they’re doing for students who need an alternative school,” Lotts said.

The school is located at 1001 Kofa Ave. It is currently at full capacity with 45 students. While it provides some classroom instruction, most of the instruction is online. Students are able to work at their own pace on their own schedules.

The school’s director, Tim Hamilton, said they have a smaller learning environment, and more personalized instruction. They also do not have the distractions found at a traditional high school, such as sports and extracurricular activities.

While some of their students may have fallen behind at Parker High, Hamilton said they have others who want to work at a faster pace than what a traditional high school offers. They also have students who have jobs or family obligations that make it difficult to fit into the familiar high school model.

Hamilton and the school’s match teacher, Melissa Beck, said students become individually responsible for their own success.

“A student must be a self-directed learner,” Hamilton said. “Some of our students excel at that.”

“Self-motivation is the key,” Beck said. “We give them all the tools necessary to succeed.”

Students who graduate from the alternative school receive a high school diploma, just like graduates from Parker High School.

Lotts said the number of students who graduate from Parker High School and the alternative school are an indication of how well the district is doing at educating young people.

“If you measure a school by how many kids cross the finish line, we’re doing well with Parker High School and the alternative school,” he said.

Categories: Alternative Education, News
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