Free Education Resources for Families: Education Ombuds

Stephanie Palmquist
Office of the Education Ombuds

The Office of the Education Ombuds (OEO) provides information about the Washington State kindergarten-12th grade public school system and informal, collaborative conflict resolution for families and educators; offers trainings and outreach to educators and community professionals; and partners with policymakers to tackle opportunity gaps.  OEO is free, confidential, and impartial.

OEO could help to improve family-school communication, problem-solving, or outcomes for students experiencing issues with discipline, high school graduation, academic failure, chronic absenteeism, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, inclusion for students with disabilities, post-secondary transition for students with disabilities, or language access.

OEO can help by sharing information, facilitating problem-solving with families and schools, or coaching families through difficult conversations.

OEO is a small state agency of 7 employees.  OEO is not able to provide direct Ombuds support for families with paid education advocates or lawyers.  We encourage families to work with their schools, districts, and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OPSI) to resolve issues at the lowest level possible.  Currently we are able to work with families, schools, and community professionals for up to 120 days of support for an individual student each school year.  We offer trainings, webinars and other tools to help get questions answered even when we cannot offer an individual phone appointment with an Ombuds.

Families can contact OEO directly:

  • Online–  We encourage you to use our new Online Intake Process.  You will need to create an account with your name and a valid email address.  After you create an account and complete the online intake process, someone will follow up with you as soon as possible to either provide information or schedule an appointment.  Our online intake is available at all times, but someone will follow up during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • By Phone– If you prefer to talk to someone in person, or need assistance completing the online intake process, please call us toll free at 1-866-297-2597 during our business hours of Monday-Friday, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. Our staff can access phone interpretation for more than 150 languages.
  • By Fax or Mail– Download a Request for Ombuds Services form and submit the completed form by fax, mail or email (contact information is printed on the forms) to OEO.

We can also coach educators and community advocates on supporting students and resolving conflicts.  Please email or call 1-866-297-2597 for this assistance.  One of our team members can often answer a question by email or with a short call.

You can read more about OEO services on the OEO website:

You can also watch informational webinars on the OEO YouTube channel:

You can find out about upcoming events on OEO’s social media:
Facebook English:
Facebook Spanish/español:
Twitter English:

Call OEO’s toll-free number: 1-866-297-2597.  Phone interpretation is available.