Departments

Ombudsperson

District Ombudsperson

The Office of The District Ombudsperson is an independent and confidential alternative dispute resolution office established within the Superintendent’s Office. The office was designed to assist parent/guardians, students, and SPS Schools or Departments with problem solving issues or concerns that are negatively impacting an SPS student or the SPS School-Family relationship/partnership. This is an informal and in-good faith option for problem-solving, at the lowest level, when normal procedures have failed.

When you are not sure who to call or what to do, reaching out to the Ombuds Office is one way to confidentially discuss your concern, with a neutral third party, that is objective and impartial to the situation. The Ombudsperson and staff are present, friendly, and work in good faith. They will listen to understand, help explore options, provide information, facilitate discussions as needed, make connections, track systemic trends and make recommendations as appropriate.

The mission of the Office of the District Ombudsperson is to ensure that processes are followed and that all members of the Seattle Public Schools community receive fair and equitable treatment in their matters of concern or complaint.

Independence

The Ombuds Office is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization. The Ombuds staff operate independently of those who use the resource and is not involved in making or administering policy.

Neutrality and Impartiality

The Ombuds offfice, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombuds staff do not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest. The Ombuds staff consider the interest and concerns of both parties with the objective of achieving fair and equitable outcomes.

Confidentiality

The Ombuds staff hold all communications with those seeking support in confidence, and do not disclose confidential communications unless given permission or summoned to do so.

Informality

The Ombuds office works to resolve issues at the lowest level using informal interventions. The Ombuds staff do not participate in any formal adjudicative, administrative, or legal procedures of formal complaints.

Commonly cited benefits of Ombuds services:

  • Offers a safe place for members of a community to discuss concerns and understand their options without fear of retaliation or fear that formal action will be taken.
  • Provides the ability to address subtle forms of insensitivity and unfairness that do not rise to the level of a formal complaint but nonetheless create a dis empowering environment.
  • Fosters a trust in those seeking support as an impartial and neutral party.
  • Has the ability to track trends and can provide upward feedback as needed.
  • Helps improve school-family partnership satisfaction, by humanizing the problem solving process as a resource that provides safe and informal opportunities to be heard.
  • Addresses barriers to communication.
  • Provides the organization with an independent and impartial voice, which fosters consistency between organizational values and actions.

Responsibilities of District Ombudsperson

What are some things that the District Ombudsperson does ?

  • Assist with problem solving, conflict, or unfair treatment regarding the process.
  • Assist in clarifying processes regarding concerns or complaints and generating options for working towards resolution.
  • Serve as a resource by providing an alternative to the formal complaint process.
  • Serve as a resource to schools, families and district administrators by providing the tools for effective collaboration and problem resolution.
  • Make recommendations to district stakeholders as necessary.
  • Hear anonymous requests for information and provide referrals.
  • Conduct informal interventions and conflict resolving facilitation between parties.

What the District Ombudsperson will Not do?

  • Address employee grievances.
  • Make, set, or change policy.
  • Compel any decision or the implementation of recommendations made as a result of an informal investigation.
  • Act as an advocate.
  • Interfere or undermine an existing complaint or appeal process.
  • Provide legal advice or engage in legal proceedings.

Commonly Sought District Departments

See quick reference info and links below that may also assist with your questions and concerns. You can alwaysreach out to the SPS District Ombudsperson to explore options for resolving aconcern at any point or if the info below isn’t helpful.

If you have admissions/enrollment related questions or concerns, you can also contact the department directly using the Admission Center Contact Page link below.

On this page you will be able connect with a department contact for information or requests including:

  • Change of address/email/phone number.
  • School assignment or registration status
  • Transfer appeals
  • School assignment questions

If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of your inquiry or conversation, you may ask to speak with the Enrollment Manager or contact the Ombuds Office to help connect you connect with the Enrollment Manager to discuss your concern further.

Admissions Center Contact Page

206-252-0760

If you have a transportation related question and are not sure how to contact in the transportation office, you can click on the link below for the Transportation Contact Page.

On this page you will be able to:

  • Report a transportation incident or safety concern
  • Report a lost item
  • Request info on bus routes or stops
  • Resume or cancel transportation services
  • Request info on special service transportation programs

You can also contact the Ombuds Office if you need assistance in the process.

Transportation Contact Page

206-252-0900

If you have a question or concern about your student’s special education services and are not sure who to talk to next or who is on your designated team, you can also visit the Special Education Department Directory, linked below, where you will learn more about support team contacts.

Special Education Department Directory

To contact the Special Education Department contacts or programs directly, you can visit the Special Education Contact Page, linked below.

Special Education Contact Page

You can reach out to the Ombuds Office for assistance throughout the process or if you have followed the recommendations on the Special Education Contact Page and continue to have a challenge with getting your question or concern addressed.

Discrimination

Seattle Public Schools has designated staff responsible for responding to, investigating, and resolving formal complaints. If you believe that you have been discriminated against, you can report the incident(s) to your school’s Principal or the District’s Office of Student Civil Rights.

Read the explanation of the District’s discrimination complaint procedure webpage.

Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB)

Concerns about harassment, intimidation, or bullying should first be reported to a school administrator (Principal or Assistant Principal). Reports can be made verbally or in writing.

Formal reports can then be made using the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) Incident Reporting Form.

This form is available in other languages.

HIB Compliance Office: 206-252-0306 or Email: oscr@schools.org

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault (Title IV)

If you are not sure whether you should make a formal complaint about sexual assault or harassment, you can consult the Title IX coordinator. The Title IX coordinator can help you decide next steps and how best to address your situation.

Read the definitions of sexual assault and sexual harassment on our What is Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment webpage.

If you believe that you or an SPS student or staff member has been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, you can report the incident(s) to any school staff member or the District’s Title IX Coordinator.

Title IV Coordinator: 206-252-0367 or Email: Title.IX@seattleschools.org.

Contact us

Submit a Question or Concern to the Ombuds Office

Resources