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Functional Statements > Office of Communications and Outreach

FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF OCO COMPONENTS

Outreach

The Outreach Unit executes the core processes related to direct interaction with organizations and individuals at the national, state and local levels. National outreach includes sharing information and coordinating with national education associations that represent the teaching profession, civil rights groups, business and other stakeholders who are directly affected by education policy, including parents and students. State and local outreach includes sharing information and coordinating with state and local public officials and policymakers who are directly responsible for administering policies mandated by federal education legislation. All outreach is done to support the U.S. education system at the pre-kindergarten, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels, as well as for career and technical, English language, adult, and special education.

  • National Public Engagement
    The National Public Engagement unit is responsible for outreach to national organizations of parents, teachers, students and youth, advocacy groups, think tanks, associations, foundations and the business community, as well as for special-focus outreach, including Hispanic, African American, Asian, and other populations, with special emphasis on under-served groups. The office disseminates information and fosters collaboration and partnerships between the Department and these groups and among each other. The outreach agenda is set by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Outreach, and the office is headed by a Managing Director who reports to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management.
    • Stakeholder Engagement
      Stakeholder Engagement reaches out to key national education associations, organizations, and constituencies, including parents, businesses, youth, higher education, professional associations, and the Hispanic, African American, Asian Pacific Islander, and other communities. The unit sponsors national meetings with Department officials to keep the public informed and promotes networking opportunities among meeting participants. It also supports the work of the White House Initiatives and coordinates with the policy and program offices to assure accuracy of information.
    • Educator Engagement
      Educator Engagement Services builds direct relationships with teachers, principals, and other educators across the country. This unit administers the Teaching Ambassador Fellows and Principal Ambassador Fellows programs of full-time teachers and principals in residence and part-time, practicing teachers and principals, all of whom inform the Department about the concerns of teachers and principals and serve as resources of information about the Department for the public. This team is responsible for a website designed to meet educators’ needs, a newsletter, ongoing roundtables with teachers and principals, advising the Secretary and others on policy and issues of importance to teachers and principals, and reaching out to teacher organizations.
  • State and Local Public Engagement
    The State and Local Public Engagement unit is responsible for customized communication to key stakeholders, communities, and citizens at the state and local levels. Outreach services provided include a bi-weekly newsletter summarizing announcements and opportunities available from the Department, regular conference calls with governors and Chief State School Officers, briefing materials for the Secretary on the latest education concerns, and in-person and video conference meetings with state and local groups and officials. The outreach agenda is set by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Outreach, and the office is headed by a Managing Director who reports to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management and Employee Engagement.
    • Intergovernmental Affairs
      Intergovernmental Affairs is responsible for outreach to state and local elected officials and the organizations that represent them, Governors, Chief State School Officers and District Superintendents. The office’s primary function is to communicate information about the Department’s initiatives, policies, and programs to State and local officials and build partnerships to improve education for all children, including partnerships to leverage increased support for high academic standards and educational excellence. As part of this team, Recognition Programs plan and coordinate the Department’s initiatives that recognize outstanding schools and students nationwide. The programs honor achievement as they facilitate communication and sharing of best practices within and among schools and the public. The programs include Blue Ribbon Schools, ED Green Ribbon Schools, Presidential Scholars, and the President’s Education Awards Program. In managing these programs, team members coordinate with outside organizations such as Chief State School Officers, the national principal organizations in coordination with the National Public Engagement unit, as well as with other federal government agencies.
    • Rural and Community Engagement
      Rural and Community Engagement coordinates outreach efforts across the Department that focus on serving rural communities. Rural outreach includes use of technology to communicate with remote communities, posting information on a webpage for rural educators on ed.gov, and keeping the community apprised of ED policies, opportunities, and initiatives. The work of this team includes special emphasis on outreach to, and providing information for, American Indian communities and the faith-based community.

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