Office of Ombudsperson
The Office Ombudsperson is an independent, neutral, and confidential alternative dispute resolution 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.
Step One: Contact your School or Central Office Department
Before reaching out to the Ombuds Office, first consider contacting your School Principal or a Central Office Department to discuss your question or concern.
If you are unsure who to contact, or uncomfortable making contact, please reach out to the Ombuds Office. Frequently contacted departments:
- Find your school contact
- Special Education
- Office of Student Civil Rights
- Department Directory
Step Two: Submit a Question or Concern
If you already contacted your school or central office department, the next step is to submit a question or concern to the Office of the Ombudsperson.
They will listen to understand, help explore options, provide information, facilitate discussions as needed, make connections, track systemic trends and make recommendations as appropriate.
About the Office of Ombudsperson
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.