PHOENIX (September 19, 2022) – Four of Ombudsman Charter High Schools, an alternative learning program, were recently named a Microsoft Showcase School for its commitment to innovation and educational transformation. Ombudsman Arizona Charter East was named Microsoft Showcase School for a fourth year in a row, Ombudsman Charter Metro and Northwest are being recognized for a second time in a row, and the Ombudsman Online Academy was named for the first time a Microsoft Showcase Schools. Microsoft Education has also recognized Ombudsman Charter West of Glendale and Charter Valencia of Tucson as Microsoft Incubator Schools.
To earn the designation, administrators and teachers completed a rigorous application process to demonstrate how the Ombudsman Charter High School would utilize Microsoft 365 programming to enhance the students’ experience, share resources and increase efficiency.
“We’ve used Microsoft tools to develop an intelligent environment to better serve our students. It’s a space where students are able to learn anytime, anywhere—unaffected by time, place, or circumstance. This gives our students the flexibility they need and skills that will serve them beyond graduation.”
– Dorothy Cohen, Principal of Ombudsman Charter High School-East
Ombudsman Charter High Schools, have seven locations 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, adult responsibilities, or those who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of school. In addition to the high school locations, Ombudsman offers an Online Academy where they provide an online learning experience that connects students with teachers, social workers, classroom peers, while integrating all Microsoft 365 applications. The Ombudsman curriculum and support services help students get back on track and graduate and prepare them to enter college or the workforce.
As a Microsoft Showcase School, teachers incorporate Microsoft 365 technology into the curriculum and student assessments. They create student-centered inclusive experiences that instill the development of future-ready skills which empower the students to achieve more. 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.
Many students who attend Ombudsman High School have adult responsibilities such as work, family, and childcare. As a result, 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 because of utilizing Microsoft technology. While 100% of all Ombudsman staff in Arizona are Microsoft Educators, thirty-three have been recognized as Microsoft Innovation in Education Experts. These experts must submit a rigorous application each year demonstrating not only their commitment to their own development but must also demonstrate how these Microsoft tools are used to enhance learning in their classrooms as described above.
Ombudsman’s Microsoft Innovation in Education Experts:
- Ombudsman East: Principal Dorothy Cohen, Andrea Rodriguez, and Delia Stirk
- Ombudsman East II: Joshua Levinski
- Ombudsman Metro: Principal Lupita Ingram, Stephanie Delacruz, Doris Klein, Kevin Little, John LoGiudice, Claudia Rodriguez, Vanessa Villarreal, Judy Fisler
- Ombudsman Northeast: Principal Sara Garcia, Jordan Favela, Janea Fredia, Sophia McGovern
- Ombudsman Northwest: Andrea Lopez, Lynda Lothe, James Rasmussen
- Ombudsman Valencia: Principal Patricia Wood, Katherine Crooks, Jill Czaporowski, Valeria Valdez, Tina Romero, Robin Parker-Isenhour
- Ombudsman West: Principal Jessica De La Cruz, Marrissa Medina-Soza, Frances Monsisvais
- Ombudsman Online Academy: Principal Tanicka Blanchard Garretson, Rachel Armock
- Ombudsman Administration Team: Jonathan Lindsay, Michael Goto
“As a teacher, I strive to foster the value of life-long learning in my students, and the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert community has provided a vital opportunity to practice this tenet myself. Through this professional learning community, I can discover the newest Microsoft updates and features that can help to make my curriculum more accessible and engaging for my students.”
– Katherine Crooks Ombudsman Charter High School-Valencia
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. For those needing support beyond academics, our schools also use these innovative tools to support student social and emotional well-being.
“Microsoft OneNote has allowed our CARES Program to have one location to go to for resources for our students. Additionally, SEL has been streamlined in a positive way to reach all of our students as we are able to do the in person activities but follow up with postings on our Collaboration Spaces allowing even those students with barriers to see and participate in the discussion.”
– Tarinda Craglow 2022 School Social Work Association of Arizona Social Worker of the Year
About Ombudsman Charter Schools:
Ombudsman, a division of ChanceLight 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 high school schedule. For more information on Ombudsman or to find out if you or someone you know qualifies to attend Ombudsman Arizona Charter High School, visit www.ArizonaDiploma.com.