Office of the Ombuds

Department Contact Information

571-423-4014
Submit a Question

The FCPS Office of the Ombuds serves as an independent, confidential resource for students, families, community members, and employees who are seeking informal help to answer questions, resolve concerns, and voice complaints regarding FCPS matters. The Office of the Ombuds reports to the Chief Experience and Engagement Officer. 

The word Ombudsman means "representative." 

Our Mission and Vision

The Office of the Ombuds supports the mission of Fairfax County Public Schools. We serve families, students, employees, and community members by:

  • providing information about resources and how to access them,
  • understanding concerns and providing support to resolve them.

The office follows the four principles of the International Ombuds Association:

  • Confidentiality
  • Independence
  • Impartiality
  • Informality

What We Do

  • Provide parents, students, employees, and community members an opportunity to share concerns and complaints in a confidential manner
  • Relay information about FCPS programs, regulations, and policies
  • Share ideas to help parents advocate for their child’s education
  • Offer information and support to students and parents of children with disabilities, to help them understand and navigate these processes

Examples of What We Do

  • Sharing strategies for parents to improve communication with, and between, school and home
  • Helping to resolve disagreements between parents and schools or disagreements involving employees in the workplace
  • Providing ideas to foster parent participation in Individual Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plan meetings

When to Contact Us

  • When you want help resolving an issue that affects student learning or the school/work environment
  • When you want to understand how FCPS works or where to go for assistance

Contact us by using the "Submit a Question" button at the top of this page, or by calling (571) 423-4014 or emailing [email protected].

What We Don't Do 

  • Change or make decisions, policies, or regulations
  • Take sides
  • Provide legal advice

Assistant Ombuds for Special Education

Kathy Murphy, the assistant ombuds for special education, serves as a resource, providing information and support to parents and students regarding special education services. It is the hope, that through providing transparency and understanding to families, children with special needs will receive all the services and supports required to equitably access public education.

The assistant ombuds can support families in the following ways: 

  • Provide information and support to parents and students with disabilities to help them understand and navigate special education processes
  • Assist by sharing information regarding state and federal laws and regulations governing special education and Section 504
  • Work neutrally and objectively with families and school staff to help ensure a fair process is followed
  • Provide information related to parental role, as a member of the knowledgeable committee
  • Serve as a resource for disability-related information and referrals to other available programs and services for individuals with disabilities, including early intervention and transition to post-secondary services

Download Our Flier

Additional Resources

Parent Advocacy Handbook

Information and resources in the Parent Advocacy Handbook are designed help parents and guardians advocate for and support their children’s academic, social, and emotional growth from preschool through high school and beyond. 

Frequently Used K-12 Acronyms

Acronym

Meaning

2E

Twice Exceptional

 

504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (FCPS webpage or U.S, Govt. webpage)

 

504 SBC

504 School Based Coordinator

 

AAP

Advanced Academic Programs

 

ABA

Applied Behavioral Analysis

 

ACSD

Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities

 

ADA

Americans with Disabilities Act

 

AP

Assistant Principal OR Advanced Placement

 

AVID

Advancement Via Individual Determination

 

AYP

Adequate Yearly Progress

 

BCD

Basis for Committee Decision

 

BIP

Behavior Intervention Plan

 

CT

Collaborative Team

 

CST

Child Study Team OR Child Specific Team

 

CTE

Career and Technical Education

 

DPE

Due Process and Eligibility

 

ECIDS

Early Childhood Identification and Services

 

EL

English Learner

 

ELL

English Language Learner

 

ELP

English Language Proficiency

 

EOC

End of Course

 

ESOL

English for Speakers of Other Languages

 

ESY

Extended School Year

 

ETR

Employment & Transition Representative

 

FAPE

Free Appropriate Public Education

 

FBA

Functional Behavior Assessment

 

FCPS

Fairfax County Public Schools

 

FECEP

Family and Early Childhood Education

 

FERPA

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

 

FOIA

Freedom of Information Act

 

HCP

Health Care Plan

 

IA

Instructional Assistant

 

IAES

Interim Alternative Education Setting

 

IB

International Baccalaureate

 

IDEA

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

 

IEE

Independent Educational Evaluation

 

IEP

Individualized Education Program

 

ISP

Individualized Service Plan

 

ITC

Infant and Toddler Connection

 

LEA

Local Education Agency

 

LEP

Limited English Proficiency

 

LRE

Least Restrictive Environment

 

LSC

Local Screening Committee

 

MDR

Manifestation Determination Review

 

MTSS

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support

 

OCR

Office for Civil Rights

 

OT

Occupational Therapy OR Occupational Therapist

 

PAC

Preschool Autism Class

 

PBA

Positive Behavior Approach OR

Performance Based Assessment

 

PBIS Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

PHN

Public Health Nurse

 

PHTA

Public Health Training Assistant

 

PLC

Professional Learning Community

 

POC

Point of Contact

 

PRC

Parent Resource Center

 

PSL

Procedural Support Liaison

 

PT

Physical Therapy OR Physical Therapist

 

PTA/PTO

Parent Teacher Association/Organization

 

PWN

Prior Written Notice

 

RTI

Response to Intervention

 

SHA

School Health Aide

 

SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

 

SOL

Standards of Learning

 

SP/L; S/L

Speech/Language

 

SPED

Special Education

 

SR&R

Student Rights and Responsibilities

 

SW

Social Worker

 

SWD

Students with Disabilities

 

T/TAC

Training/Technical Assistance Center

 

USDOE

United States Department of Education

 

VAAP

Virginia Alternate Assessment Program

 

VDOE

Virginia Department of Education

 

VGA

Virginia Growth Assessments