ESEA State Ombudsman Community of Practice Summary

CoP Description: The goal of the Ombudsman Community of Practice (CoP) was to provide technical assistance to a select group of state ombudsmen related to implementing equitable services (statutes, regulations, and guidance). Beginning in September 2018, at the Ombudsman Update Live meeting, the State Support Network (Network) began recruiting and needs-sensing to design an agenda consisting of three learning cycles for a CoP between November 2018 and May 2019. Based on the results of needs sensing, the CoP addressed these topics through those learning cycles:

  • Federal law, regulations and non-regulatory guidance related to ESEA equitable services for private school students and teachers
  • Resources and procedures for providing equitable services

CoP Outcomes: Overall, the CoP set out to build capacity among it’s members to meet the following objectives:

  • Increase understanding of appropriate interpretation of equitable services statutes, regulations, and guidance under Title I, Part A and programs under Title VIII, and apply that understanding when implementing equitable services.
  • Implement promising practices, tools, and resources for equitable services.
  • Collaborate with peers to discuss the results of implementation and share ideas for improvement with non-public schools.

Within and across the learning cycles, CoP members worked with their state education agencies (SEAs) to develop organizational capacity to execute these practices:

  • Define processes for ensuring local education agencies (LEAs) engage in timely and meaningful consultation, including the processes for providing and obtaining required information and documentation.
  • Increase knowledge to provide technical assistance to LEAs and private school officials on consultation, including information LEAs need to provide and information private schools need to bring to consultation.
  • Identify action steps to enhance communication and guidance about consultation.
  • Identify action steps to enhance monitoring practices.
  • Increase awareness of dispute resolution practices and procedures used in other states.
  • Identify action steps to enhance dispute resolution processes.

Participating SEAs: Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wisconsin

CoP Duration: February 2019 through May 2019