Many OFS participants come to the OFS classroom having experienced failure in traditional schools. OFS’ goal is to help students overcome fear and frustration they often feel toward school work. OFS provides an individualized learning environment in which certified teachers and skilled tutors provide small group and one-on-one instruction. The teacher/student ratio for most lessons is 1:5. For those studying the Basic Skills Curriculum, the ratio is 1:1. Typically, OFS students spend 2-4 hours daily in the classroom and the remainder of the day on the service site. Classroom work is compensated at the same rate as site work. Goals of the OFS classroom include:

  • Assisting each young person to achieve the highest form of high school accreditation possible. OFS works with local school districts to help students make up credits, attend night school, or complete an IEP. If diploma-completion is not a practical goal, OFS students work toward completing the HSED or GED;
  • Helping students master a broad base of practical skills and academic subject areas to prepare them for a career-track employment and life as independent young adults; and,
  • Increasing enrollment and retention in post secondary education and vocational training programs.

The OFS classroom curriculum includes:

  • Enriched curriculum to expose students to critical subject matter and address educational needs of those who have long records of school failure. Subjects include reading, language skills, math, science, social studies, construction skills, career-development, civics/leadership skills, career development, health and nutrition, and independent living skills.
  • Basic Skills instruction to assist students to increase reading and math skills by at least two grade levels.
  • Diploma-completion at the highest level possible
  • Preparation and testing for HSED or GED
  • College exploration, planning, and assistance

Links to Madison College (MATC)
Since 1970, Madison College (MATC) has been a close partner with OFS in supporting graduates as they transition to part or full-time enrollment at Madison College. In the past 8 years, Madison College has assigned a Counseling Center counselor to be the “point of contact” for OFS students and graduates. The counselor works with OFS participants and graduates on an individual basis to help them match interests and labor market opportunities to Madison College course work; to set up class-shadowing opportunities; navigate Madison College’s financial aid program and admissions process; to learn about student life; and, to find support services when needed. Most importantly, the counselor welcomes and works closely with OFS’ staff who follow OFS students as they transition to post-secondary education programs.

AmeriCorps Education Award:
At the end of their program, OFS participants who have completed AmeriCorps terms of service receive a voucher which may be used to pay the costs of education at accredited post-secondary schools. The value of this voucher depends on the number of hours of service completed and can be as high as $4,725 per year.