The district Ombudsperson identifies opportunities for service improvements and serves as a resource for families, employees and the community to resolve issues or concerns through mediation and education. The Ombudsperson hears and discusses the presenting concern, and after determining the need communicates and clarifies concerns to appropriate KCS staff and helps all parties find acceptable options and solutions.
The Special Education Parent Liaison/Ombudsperson (Sue Ownby) is the primary point-of-contact for concerns regarding students who receive special education services.
Anyone with a concern can contact the Ombudsperson office to discuss or seek assistance in resolving or clarifying a school or district concern, problem or complaint by online form, phone, in writing or by email.
4 Steps to Resolve a ConcernReport your concern to your child's school principal, teacher and/or to the specific staff person involved.If the issue remains unresolved, contact Knox County Schools district office for the specific division or grade-level supervisor.If after completing Step 1 and Step 2, an adequate resolution has not been reached submit a service request online, by email to email@example.com or call 865-594-1192.The Ombudsperson will reach out to listen and take actions to address and facilitate resolution options in cooperation with KCS staff and in compliance with Knox County Schools policies and procedures.
Below are several documents to assist in submitting a service request.» Board of Education Information
» Family Advisory Council Representative Recommendation Form
» Family Advisory Council Information Sheet
Will my communication with the Ombudsperson be confidential?All inquiries and requests made to the Ombudsman will be handled with professionalism and confidentiality. Confidentiality would be voided only if the concern involved a risk to the safety of others.
Why was the KCS Ombudsperson role created?The role and function of the KCS Ombudsperson was one of recommendations of the Disparities in Educational Outcomes Task Force to:
- Help KCS families navigate school and community organizations and systems,
- Serve as a liaison to the Take Force and support the implementation of the recommendations
- Report to the Superintendent and Director of Public Affairs
- Make quarterly presentations to the Board of Education
What are the Ombudsperson responsibilities, services and supports?
- Receive and track inquiries, concerns and complaints from stakeholders and seek resolutions
- Facilitate communication and cooperative efforts to resolve inquiries from parents, community members and school employees
- Gather and analyze information to assist individuals with inquiries, concerns and complaints to determine best course of action or contacts
- Consult with school staff, school leaders, district department staff, leadership and community to problem solve, deescalate issues and support resolutions
- Serve as liaison between the community and schools
- Support school system and community efforts for family/community engagement and parent/student advocacy that promote and focus on student achievement, positive culture and eliminating disparities in education
- Seek and provide professional development and learning emphasis on cultural competency, restorative practices and effective instructional and educational support for students
- Work cooperatively with Superintendent’s executive team, department supervisors and principals.
- Identify and document significant concerns, problematic trends and offer recommendations for system change to enhance operations and communications between KCS, parents and community
- Serve as a resource to educate and inform internal and external stakeholders
What happens once I submit a a service request?The Ombudsperson will respond as soon as possible so any additional details can be gathered. The office will communicate with the appropriate KCS staff and move toward determining possible resolutions. To see the full path click here.
What does the Ombudsperson ask of you?When addressing any concern or inquiry, we ask for cooperation, communication and collaboration to assist in exploring opportunities to resolve matters, restore trust and improve relationships among schools, families and communities that best benefit students.