How The Office Operates

How the Office Operates

The Office of the Ombudsman provides parents, students, and members of the school community confidential, impartial, and informal assistance in resolving school-related concerns, conflicts, and issues.

Fundamental Principles

The PWCS Office of the Ombudsman operates according to the following fundamental principles:


We will not share your information unless given specific permission to do so. The Ombudsman will take all reasonable steps to protect the anonymity of visitors to the office and safeguard confidentiality.*


The office is a voluntary resource where discussions are considered off-the-record. The Ombudsman does not participate or intervene in any formal complaint processes or conduct investigations. The Ombudsman will:

  • Listen and help clarify visitor concerns;
  • Provide information and explore options available to visitors; and
  • Facilitate discussions to resolve issues, with permission of the visitor and as appropriate.


The Ombudsman is neutral. The Ombudsman does not take sides or advocate on behalf of any individual or the administration. Rather, the Ombudsman is an advocate for fair processes.


The office sits outside any chain of command to serve as an early warning system and as a catalyst for change. The Ombudsman reports to the Superintendent and the School Board and will:

  • Collect data on emerging trends and patterns while safeguarding anonymity; and
  • Utilize data to make quarterly and annual reports to the Superintendent and School Board and promote positive change.

*The exceptions to confidentiality are when the Ombudsman believes there is a serious risk of harm to self or others. The Ombudsman is a mandated reporter of suspected child abuse or neglect and of sexual harassment claims.

**The Ombudsman is not affiliated with any compliance function and does not serve as an agent of notice for PWCS.

Standards of Practice

The PWCS Office of the Ombudsman operates according to PWCS Policy 180, the Office of the Ombudsman Operational Guidelines, the International Ombudsman Association’s Code of Ethics and their Standards of Practice.

Type of Ombuds

There are different types of Ombuds with different roles and functional responsibilities. The standards of practice and functional responsibilities can be very different for different types of ombuds. The PWCS Ombuds is an Organizational Ombuds.

An organizational ombuds is an individual who serves as a designated neutral within a specific organization and provides conflict resolution and problem-solving services to members of the organization (internal ombuds) and/or for clients or customers of the organization (external ombuds). The PWCS Ombuds serves both internal and external constituencies. There are organizational ombuds in all sectors (corporate, academic, governmental, non-governmental, nonprofit, etc.).

An organizational ombuds provides confidential, informal, independent and impartial assistance to individuals through dispute resolution and problem-solving methods such as conflict coaching, mediation, facilitation, and shuttle diplomacy. The organizational ombuds responds to concerns and disputes brought forward by visitors to the office and may convey trends, systemic problems, and organizational issues to high-level leaders and executives in a confidential manner. Ombuds do not advocate for individuals, groups, or entities, but rather for the principles of fairness and equity. The organizational ombuds does not play a role in formal processes, investigate problems brought to the office’s attention, or represent any side in a dispute.

Standards of Practice Resources