Our Services and Policies

We answer questions and provide impartial, independent perspectives on public K-12 school issues. We offer direct, informal, and collaborative support on behalf of students facing opportunity gaps and barriers to inclusion.

We have created brief documents explaining what we do:

We provide the following free services: 

  • Listen to concerns and perspectives and offer accurate,
    independent, and impartial answers to questions about the K-12
    public education system
  • Offer collaborative problem-solving and dispute resolution tools
    to address family-school conflicts and promote equity and
  • Provide coaching, facilitation, and training to support family and
    community engagement and systems advocacy
  • Collect data, identify trends, and make policy recommendations
    to elected officials and state educational leaders to promote fair
    and equitable processes and positive student outcomes

You can also read about how we help families and schools resolve concerns in ArabicChineseRussianSpanishSomali, or Vietnamese.

OEO Policies

  • Any member of the public may request information or support for an issue involving a public K-12 student in Washington who is currently enrolled or or eligible to be enrolled in or receive services.
  • We prioritize our direct support from Ombuds to concerns that fall within our current plan.  We chose to focus our more intensive work on these issues because they are state barometers of equity and access.
  • Ombuds cannot intervene directly without written permission of parents/legal guardians and/or students who are currently enrolled or eligible to be enrolled in elementary or secondary public schools in the State of Washington. 
  • We will receive concerns in any language by phone, online, fax, or mail. 
  • We work informally, impartially, and collaboratively.
  • Ombuds work primarily by phone, phone conferencing or video conferencing and rarely attend meetings in person.
  • OEO does not replace existing public school complaint systems, or local, state, and federal grievance or appeal procedures, and does not provide legal advice or representation.  We encourage families, schools, and communities to resolve their concerns at the lowest levels possible.
  • OEO maintains confidentiality around all records, materials, and information gathered in the course of providing services, unless disclosure is otherwise required by law.  To protect consumer privacy, OEO does not disclose any personally identifiable information in its data and reporting. 
  • OEO does not intervene with elected officials, private schools, universities, colleges, businesses, or preschools.
  • OEO does not conduct formal investigations or make findings on any issue, including complaints regarding allegations of professional misconduct. 
  • OEO's privacy notice explains what data is collected through our website, and what we do with it.