OMBUDSMAN SERVICESThe Queen Anne’s County Public School System provides Ombudsman services for parents, employees, students and concerned citizens. Ombudsman services will provide individuals with an independent and neutral party who seeks to resolve school-related problems as quickly, confidentially, and efficiently as possible.410-758-2403, EXT. 215800-336-7775410-758-8215
The Queen Anne’s County system understands that parents, families, and community members play a key role in the success of all of our students and we also understand that parent and family involvement can make a positive difference in the lives of our children. There are times however when a parent or a guardian may feel the need to contact the school system about a particular issue involving their child. The issue may be school based or system wide. The Queen Anne’s County School system hopes that by working together we can resolve all concerns that you may have as a parent and that serving the best interest of your child is our highest priority,
What is an Ombudsman?
"Ombudsman" is a Swedish word meaning citizen representative or advocate. The primary responsibility of Queen Anne’s County Ombudsman is to help resolve school based or system wide concerns from parents and the community
- Listens to your concerns
- Provides information on policies and procedures
- Works with parents and community members to resolve concerns within the Queen Anne’s County School System.
- Ombudsmen handle issues such as: bullying/harassment, suspension, expulsion, special education, enrollment, transportation, discipline, academic progress, truancy, and more.
STEPS TO HELP YOU THROUGH THE
COMPLAINT PROCESSSTEP NUMBER ONE...
The first step is to contact the person who is closest to the issue. For example, if you have a concern about something that happened in your child’s classroom we suggest that you contact the teacher directly. You can do this either by email or by phone. This is the best first step and hopefully you will be able to have your concerns resolved to your satisfaction at this level. Many problems are merely a result of a miscommunication or a misunderstanding between the school and the home. So if you and the person closest to the concern are able to discuss the matter than usually between both parties the problem can be resolved. We hope that you remember that even though you may be upset about the situation it is important to be respectful and work towards a solution. More often than communicating with then person closest to the problem will result in a satisfactory solution for both parties.There are occasions however when you and the person closest to the situation are not able to resolve the issue.STEP NUMBER TWO...
What is the next step in the process?
If you do not feel as though your concerns have been addressed by the person closest to the issue, the next step is to contact the principal. This communication can be by email or by telephone. If you explain the your concerns to the principal in a calm and respectful manner, he/she can fully understand the problem. The principal may suggest a meeting at the school to try to resolve the issue. This meeting may involve the person closest to the concern in order to fully resolve the situation.STEP NUMBER THREE...If after the first two steps in the process were not able to resolve your concerns, the next step is to call or email the ombudsman. Have all your facts and information ready. The Ombudsman will listen to all of your concerns regarding the issue and try to help you find a resolution.
HOW TO COMPLAIN SO PEOPLE WILL LISTEN
- Go to the person directly.
- Be organized.
- Prepare to discuss the problem by making a list of questions or points to bring up. Know what’s most important and keep the conversation on track.
- Stay calm.
- Take a deep breath. Focus on the problem, not the person. Talk about facts and be clear. Don’t attack.
- Even if you’re not satisfied with the situation, let people know you appreciate their work to resolve the problem.
- Try to fully understand the other person’s view of the situation and solutions they might propose. Ask questions about anything that is unclear.
- Say “I believe,” “I feel,” or “We can” rather than “You should.”
- Recognize that problems can be solved in more than one way. Be open to creative solutions.
- Keep records, save copies of letters, completed forms, and other materials. Keep dated notes about who you talked to, what was said, and the results of that communication.
- Be positive.
(Office of Education Ombudsman-State of Washington)