Volunteer to be an OSSE Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP)
Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), DC Government
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Specialized Education (ESSE) seeks volunteers to serve as ESPs for students with disabilities. A volunteer ESP is appointed to act as the special education decision-maker for a child who does not have an adult to fill that role. ESPs participate in individualized education program (IEP) meetings, receive notice of proposed school actions, monitor academic progress, and otherwise advocate to ensure that the child’s special education needs are being met. As an ESP, you may be appointed to work with students living in group homes, foster care placements, or homeless youth.
OSSE trains all ESP volunteers on the special education process and their responsibilities as an ESP. Previous experience with special education is not required and any adult who is willing to learn about the individual needs of a student with a disability is welcome to apply to volunteer. The required time commitment is driven by student needs and varies by appointment, averaging four to six hours per month.
Volunteers are matched with students and appointed on an as-needed basis after completing OSSE training; DC Public Schools (DCPS) volunteer clearance, and the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) Child Protection Register (CPR) check.
To request more information on volunteering, ask questions, or register to attend an OSSE ESP training, please provide your information using the following interest form. A member of our staff will contact you directly.
For more information or questions, please email the Surrogate.Parent@dc.gov.