Parent Letter: “Without Ombudsman, our son wouldn’t be where he is today.” (Fulton, Ga.)

Date: July 22, 2014

We received the following letter from a parent of one of our students at the Ombudsman Fulton North center in Georgia. We’re so grateful Mr. Albert granted us permission to share this on the blog:

Mr. Petit,

I want to share with you our (my wife and I) experience and my son’s experience with Ombudsman North this past school year. My son Steven was with Ombudsman North from October 2013 through May 2014, he graduated from high school this academic year.

The staff was phenomenal, especially Mrs. Ketchup, Mrs. Cooper, and Mr. Washington. Steven was with Ombudsman because of disciplinary reasons and that was our biggest concern; how will the staff respond to Steven’s needs. Initially, we meet with Mrs. Ketchup and her staff to develop a plan for Steven to follow while attending Ombudsman North. We were extremely impressed with that process. We have not had this type of meeting with any of Steven’s previous counselors.

Since we knew Steven was not going back to his neighborhood school for his last year of high school, our focus was to make sure he got all his course work completed on time to earn his high school diploma. Mrs. Cooper was instrumental in ensuring that Steven was enrolled in all the necessary courses for both semesters during the school year. But that was not all, she spoke with Steven about college and convinced him that he was more that capable to attend college, if that was what he wanted.

Mrs Cooper played a vital role encouraging Steven to apply to colleges. Once the acceptance letters started coming in, Steven became more confident and focused in pursuing college. He starts this fall at the University of North Florida on an academic scholarship. He was also given the privilege to participate in Cambridge HS graduation ceremony. No doubt in our minds, that Mrs Cooper had a lot to do with that process.

Mr. Washington was actively involved in keeping Steven focused on his school work and often challenging Steven to do more and not settle for average. Mr. Washington has reached out to me on several occasions to discuss Steven progress and was very pro-active in heading off any problems. Not since elementary school has Steven come home to discuss what his teachers had said; but I often had conversations with Steven discussing what he and Mr. Washington talked about that day. This was a refreshing occurrence to say the least.

And finally, Mrs. Ketchup; who was always available to meet with us or take our calls without hesitation. Gave us the reassurance that Steven will do well and have all resources available to him even if he was not in his regular school. At the end of the school year all the students were recognized at a banquet held at Ombudsman.

Steven received a signed letter from the President of the United States congratulating him on his academic achievement. We were not expecting this level of support from Mrs Ketchup and staff; and the lengths everyone took to encourage Steven was something he has not experienced ever from the Fulton County School District. These were his words to me. I assured him that it does happen. Which got me to thinking, had Steven not had a lapse in judgment (for lack of a better term) and not been sent to Ombudsmen where would he be today.

I sincerely want you to know how thankful I am for the Ombudsman staff; and the level of commitment the staff displayed to its students. I hope one day that Ombudsman wil not only be for students that have a lapse in judgment, but also for those students who may need more attention and help to deal with their issues before the issue becomes a violation of the rules.

Thank you,

Steven D. Albert, MBA
Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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