Our Services and Policies

The Washington State Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO) is an independent state agency that helps to reduce educational opportunity gaps by supporting families, students, educators, and other stakeholders in communities across WA in understanding the K-12 school system and resolving concerns collaboratively.  OEO services are free and confidential. Anyone can contact OEO with a question or concern about school.

OEO listens, shares information and referrals, and works informally with families, communities, and schools to address concerns so that every student can fully participate and thrive in our state’s public schools. OEO provides support in multiple languages and has telephone interpretation available. To get help or learn more about what OEO does, please visit our website: https://www.oeo.wa.gov/en; email oeoinfo@gov.wa.gov, or call: 1-866-297-2597 (interpretation available).

Read about how we work with families in EnglishArabicChineseRussianSpanishSomali, or Vietnamese.

Our Roles

  • Listen to concerns and address questions about the K-12 public education system
  • Use informal conflict resolution tools to support collaborative problem-solving and promote education justice
  • Provide coaching, facilitation, and training about family and community engagement and systems advocacy
  • Collect data and identify trends to guide our education policy recommendations

Our services are:

  • Free
  • Confidential
  • Collaborative

Our services are available to families, students, educators, community professionals and others with questions or concerns affecting any child who attends or is eligible to attend Washington State's k-12 public schools. Due to limited staffing, we are only able to work with a particular student/family once per year, with a maximum of 120 days for issues that fall within our strategic plan. We have created brief documents explaining in more detail how we work with families, educators, and community partners:

OEO Policies

  • Any member of the public may request information or support for an issue involving a student in Washington's K-12 public schools.
  • We prioritize our direct support from Ombuds to concerns that fall within our current strategic 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 by contacting a school or district without first receiving written permission of parents/legal guardians and/or adult students. OEO follows the definitions of “parent” in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (parent includes “natural parents, a guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence of a parent or a guardian”) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • We will receive concerns in any language by phone, online, fax, or mail.
  • We work informally, independently, 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 annual reporting.  OEO's privacy notice explains what data is collected through our website, and what we do with it.
  • 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.
  • Social Media Commenting Policy

    The Washington State Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO) welcomes your comments and encourages polite and productive conversation. Your comments are visible to the public and subject to public record disclosure laws.

    We do not approve, endorse or verify the scientific accuracy of comments posted by our followers. We do not discriminate against any views, but reserve the right to remove comments, without notification, that:

  • Identify personal information including, but not limited to: medical information, email addresses, telephone numbers, mailing addresses, or identification numbers.
  • Contain violent or obscene language.
  • Contain solicitations or advertisements.
  • Promote or oppose any political candidate or ballot initiative.
  • Encourage or suggest illegal activity.
  • Violate trademarks or copyrights.
  • Are repetitive posts that are copied and pasted.
  • Our Facebook filter is set to ‘strong.’ Comments that violate Facebook’s Community Standards may be automatically removed or hidden by Facebook.

    Comments on social media do not take the place of any requests for Ombuds’ assistance, official notifications or public comments to the Washington State Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO).

Governor's Office of the Education Ombuds

Mailing Address:
PO Box 40004
Olympia, WA 98504

Toll Free:          1.866.297.2597 Phone interpretation available.

Fax:                  844-886-5196