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Ombudsman Opens South Side Chicago Location

Lee Edwards | 10/30/2014, 11:12 a.m.
Recently, Ombudsman Chicago, an alternative school for young adults that provides them with the opportunity to earn an accredited high ...
Alderman JoAnn Thompson celebrates with Ombudsman Chicago students and staff during a ribbon cutting ceremony honoring the grand opening of Ombudsman’s third Chicago Options School, located at 6057 S. Western Avenue on the South Side.

Recently, Ombudsman Chicago, an alternative school for young adults that provides them with the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma, opened a new location on Chicago's south side at 6057 S. Western Ave. Ombudsman Chicago opened its first Chicago location almost a year ago within the city’s East Garfield Park community, 2401 W. Congress Pkwy, which was then followed a Park Ridge, IL campus, 7500 N. Harlem Ave.

Ombudsman Chicago is a branch of the Ombudsman Educational Services, a division of Educational Services of America (ESA), which is a national leader in providing behavior therapy and alternative and special education programs for children and young adults. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) partnered with Ombudsman Educational Services to open Chicago-area dropout recovery Options Schools, offering teens a second chance at achieving academic success and building a bright future as they work toward earning a CPS diploma.

“My goal is to create a hub in the community, I want Ombudsman Chicago South to be a hub in the community where people can come for multiple resources so we’re working with different social service agencies, different community organizations and that affords me the opportunity to build relationships with those people which helps me build relationships with our students,” said Conrad Timbers, principal, Ombudsman Chicago.

Ombudsman Chicago accepts students ages 14-21 and categorizes them by identifying if they are older and close to graduation - only needing a few credits - or if they’re younger and require several credits to graduate. Ombudsman Chicago graduates students in the spring, summer, and winter; although, their instructional period is year round.

“Alderman Thompson supported the Ombudsman location at 60th & Western because Alderman Thompson’s philosophy is one of second chance,” said Debbie Blair, chief of staff for Alderman Thompson. “The Ombudsman location offers teens a second chance at achieving success and building a future as they work to earn a CPS diploma. Alderman Thompson is a firm proponent of educational activities, educational opportunities, [and] educational advancement of our children.”

Safety for students, faculty, and staff is a primary concern for Ombudsman Chicago South. Timbers estimates that there are roughly 20 different gangs represented at OCS, however, he states that OCS can be a safe zone for all those occupy the building.

“I reiterate to the students all the time that this is a hub, this is a safety place, this is a safe haven for them, a safe haven for us. In order to make it safe, we all have to work together to make it happen and if we don’t we put not only ourselves in jeopardy but other people as well,” said Timbers.

For more information about Ombudsman visit http://www.ombudsmancps.com/.