Functional Statements > Office of Communications and Outreach


The State and Local 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 latest education concerns, and a speakers’ bureau of surrogates for the Secretary who can meet with state and local groups and schools. The unit is headed by a Deputy Assistant Secretary for State and Local Engagement.

Intergovernmental Affairs Team

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.

Regional Operations

Regional Operations consists of the Department’s 10 regional communications offices across the country. The staff develops strategies and outreach opportunities that will meet the specific content and cultural needs of the states in their regions. They gather information regarding state activity on education policy, developing relationships with key officials on the state and local levels. Each regional OCO staff member, with guidance from the Director, OCO Regional Operations, is responsible for, among many other items, the following:

  • Promoting the major goals of the Secretary to state and local contacts by conveying the policies, programs, and initiatives of the Department.
  • Serving as a local point of contact for state and local officials; state and local education officials’ public and private education agencies; schools, colleges and universities; and organizations with an interest in the success of public education.
  • Proactively establishing and maintaining a productive network of state and local contacts to ensure the most current information is given and received.
  • Coordinating, in consultation with other OCO components, support for local activities and initiatives.
  • Coordinating with the other Principal Offices in the Regions for the purpose of aligning communications and enhancing effective employee engagement.
  • Collaborating with other federal agencies in the Regions.

Recognition Programs

Recognition Programs plans and coordinates 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 the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and Middle School Principals Association, Chief State School Officers, as well as with other federal government agencies.