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    Barbara Rockey

    Please note: because we are committed to publishing a website that is accessible to all our readers including those who need ADA accommodations and language translations, we have not published PDF documents such as resumes the candidates may have submitted during the application process or links to non-Seattle Public Schools' PDF documents submitted with their questionnaire responses.

    Letter of Interest

    A photo of Barbara RockeyMy interest in serving as the District VII Board of Director encompasses the value in civic commitment, investment in my community, passion and belief in a public school education, which includes being a graduate of a public school education, parent, educator, and advocate. My commitment to education spans almost 20 years.

    I approach this commitment to serving the community and the Seattle Public School District, by investing in the educational goals and dreams of young people through trust, accountability, being attentive, advocacy, equity and access in the best interest of all students.

    It would be an honor to serve as the District VII Board Director as someone, who works and lives directly in the community with perspective, experience and knowledge of the community and schools.

    Resume or Related Experience

    Professional Objective: Committed to improving equity and access in education through advocacy, leadership, community engagement and positive connections.

    Professional Experience

    2013-Present Treehouse, Senior Education Specialist, Seattle, Washington

    • Work to advocate and adapt to changes in legislation and laws that affect clients in foster care for better outcomes for their future.
    • Demonstrate the ability to adjust to program requirements and changing priorities in order to support clients, counselors and DSHS.
    • Advise client on their education trajectory, self-advocacy, and exploring post-secondary options, as appropriate with alignment of personal and professional goals.
    • Demonstrate motivation by taking on additional responsibilities including advocating in the community, motivating client, and providing resources for positive educational outcomes.
    • Utilize excellent communication skills by systematically evaluating and defining the educational needs of clients through communication, DCYF, personal networks, and other service providers.
    • Work collaboratively when appropriate to make sure that deliverables are completed on time and on budget.
    • Engage in diplomatic, two-way communication, including giving and receiving constructive, candid feedback as a senior specialist to managers, co-workers, and supporting teams.
    • Improve effectiveness of department by stay abreast of best practices and current research to enhance critical thinking skills
    • Attend internal and external trainings and conferences to remain active in the current industry of educational advocacy, best practices and outcomes. 2017-2019 Our Best Advisory Council, City of Seattle, Committee Member Youth Opportunity Initiative focuses on education, positive connections, employment, health and safety. Our Best is an explicit commitment to programmatic and systems changes to ensure young black men have access to opportunity.
    • Specific goals include: Close opportunity gaps in Seattle Public Schools by increasing the percentage of black male high school graduates and post-secondary attainment
    • Advance economic mobility by increasing the number of Black males gaining access to and engaging in meaningful employment opportunities in technical and trade programs.
    • Increase the percentage of young Black men experiencing self-care through access to health care and resources to promote good health.
    • Reduce the percentage young Black men entering the criminal justice system.
    • Close mentoring gaps for young Black men and boys by recruiting more black men to service as mentors for young black men.
    • Advocated for community based programs in middle school to high school, early learning and post-secondary programs for levy funding in Seattle, which are included in the 2019 city's fiscal budget.

    2008-2013 Seattle Public Schools, Paraprofessional K-8, Seattle, Washington

    • Supported students in developing writing skills with Writers Workshop Curriculum.
    • Instructed and reinforced literacy through one on one instruction to improve fluency
    • Assisted with DRA and MAP assessments assuring that students were meeting, exceeding or approaching standard.
    • Reviewed and graded in class assignments, homework and class projects.
    • Participated in parent and teacher conferences and Individual Education Planning (IEP) meetings. Assisted in developing frame work for Anti-Bullying Curriculum K-8.
    • Implemented Individual Education Plans for students receiving specialized instruction.
    • Worked with a team of teachers to provide the least restricted (Inclusion) learning environment to meet the educational needs of students with a 504 and IEP.
    • Implemented behavioral plans and provided accommodations based IEP.
    • Supported Family Support workers in providing services to students, families based on need that also improved academic outcomes.

    2010-Summer Contract Seattle Urban League, Summer University, Teacher, Seattle, Washington
    2004-2006 Parenthesis, Teacher, Oak Park, Illinois
    2004-2006 Pilgrim Day Nursery, Substitute Teacher, Oak Park, Illinois
    2001-2002 Adoption Information Center of Illinois, Adoption Listing Specialist, Chicago, Illinois
    2000-2001 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, Case Manager, Chicago, Illinois
    1999-2001 Consulting Partnerships & Alliance, Family, Work Life Consultant, Chicago, Illinois

    Volunteering /Community Engagement

    Our Best Advisory Council City of Seattle, Education Committee Member, Seattle, WA 2017-2019
    Garfield High School, PTSA Seattle, WA, 2017-present
    Race and Equity Committee, Treehouse, Seattle, WA 2016-present
    Graduation Steering Committee, Treehouse, Seattle, WA 2017-2018
    Achievers Hometown Mentor, Cleveland High School, Seattle, WA, 2016-2018
    Peace Circle (Restorative Justice) Seattle, WA, 2016-2018
    Social Justice Committee TOPS K-8, Seattle WA 2013-2014
    YWCA, Educator/Facilitator, Teen parent program, Seattle, WA

    Education

    Sea University, Seattle, Washington, Public Administration Certificate 2018-2019
    University of Washington Bothell, Bothell, Washington, Teacher Certification Program 2009-2010
    Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, Bachelor of Arts 1995-1999
    Triton Community College, River Grove, Illinois, Advance Child Care Administration Management Certificate 2003-2005

    Professional Organizations/ Achievements

    Keynote Speaker Celebrating 18 4th Annual Benefit Breakfast 2019
    Seattle Urban League of Young Professionals, Seattle, Washington, 2014-2016
    National Education Association 2008-2013
    Doris Hickman Award 2011

    Relevant Skills

    Excellent Interpersonal skills, planning and organizational skills. Moderator, advocacy, solution driven, conflict management training Emotional Intelligence Training in the Workplace and Mindfulness LSCI Training Diversity and Engagement Training Cultural Competency (facilitator) Make It Happen: College and Beyond (Facilitator) Children's Alliance

    Candidate Rockey Questionnaire Responses

    On July 16, candidates were asked to provide responses to five School Board-selected questions and asked to select three questions submitted by community members in a recent survey. Read the submitted questions from the community.

     

    Board-selected questions and candidate responses:

    1. What is your connection to the Southeast Seattle District VII community, schools, families, and students? How do you foresee growing or expanding on those connections and relationships in your role as a school board director?

    I live and work in the Southeast Seattle District, and I am proud to call it my community for the past six years. My career and volunteer efforts have afforded me the opportunity to work in all of the schools in the Southeast. I visit schools frequently to work directly with students, coach teachers, and support families of color through the lens of education advocacy. Understanding the challenges of this region, and as a board member, I would use present or write policies to aid the struggle to foster improvement educationally, economically, socially and emotionally. Taking into account the needs of these students with housing challenges, language barriers, in Special Education and foster care, my goal is foster a sense belonging for all of our school communities.

    Going forward, as the District VII Board Director, I believe it’s vital to expand relationship building towards trust, working with community partners, in-school partnerships for support and resources, which includes PTA’S, parent communities that are underrepresented, ongoing communication and engagement with parents, students, teachers and administrators for development of relationships, feedback on what’s working and needs of their students, and community that provides racial equity, access to resources, safe and inclusive learning environments.

    My role on the board would introduce the many years of serving this community and my focus is to enlighten collogues on procedures to close the opportunity and achievement gaps in learning. As a researcher, I have the skills of communication to encourage adoption of principles for guiding a course of actions to create improvement. When making important decisions as a body, around the issues of discipline and achievement, my mantra involves uniting. I’ve connected to members of Southeast Seattle District VII by attending school events as multicultural nights, sporting events, chaperoning dances, student forums, graduations, potlucks and band concerts via invitations from parents, students, staff and administrators. Thus, I’m known; so sitting in the board chair, I visually sit as an individual but my voice speaks for many in the Southeast Seattle District VII.

    2. What is your understanding of the role of school board director? How do you foresee working with your fellow directors, the superintendent, staff, and the public?

    The role of the School Board Director is entrusted leadership that’s appointed by the citizens of the district that’s being represented, and to uphold the educational needs of all students and schools with racial equity and access. As the Director, being accessible to the community is important to me in order to understand what’s needed for students, parents, teachers, administrators and school communities that supports the whole student. In order to be effective in the role as Director, a commitment to building positive partnerships, and relationships, staying informed of the needs and concerns of the community is absolutely necessary. I seeing and value holding, hosting and attending community meetings, visiting schools and attending school and neighborhood events, as an effective way to engage and communicate with diverse communities that’s inclusive.

    As an incoming Director, Working alongside fellow Directors implementing policy that support our intent, vision, and accountability as a school district in assuring set governance forth is critical. Driving policy and decisions that empower our students, building community and supporting parents and school staff in the success of all students. Creating policy that will allow us to govern with oversight and responsibility in an effective manner professionally. To respond to any issues or concerns that may arise and the management, operation and functionality of current policies and adopt new policies that align with state laws or without conflict and a cooperative effort with staff and community involvement. As a director, I want to work with fellow directors in support of creating policies with course of action, clarity for what’s needed and guidance, and that’s viable legally.

    I view myself in my role as Director in working in partnership with fellow directors as key to understanding the barriers and challenges faced by all students and communities. Allowing for collaborations of directors across communities, and creating opportunities for shared resources for equity and access for all students. Overseeing, hiring and supporting leadership that’s in alignment with the strategic plan of the Superintendent with attention to the success and room for refinement of the plan in order to meet the educational disparities and gaps for students of color and commitment to equity. I believe it’s imperative that the board works to have a balanced budget and clear direction of the financial health of the district with the goal of equity, and how state funding and local levies fit into the current budget, how to assess the budget alignment with the five year strategic plan. The work of the school board requires commitment, trust, support, communication, collaboration and partnerships from all invested parties in educating all students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools.

    3. How do you think Seattle Public Schools is doing? Do you support the district’s recently adopted strategic plan — why or why not? What does focusing on students that are the furthest from educational justice mean to you? Read the district's strategic plan.

    In asking the question of how one thinks Seattle Public Schools is doing, we have to ask the question of students, who are enrolled and receiving an education in Seattle Public Schools, they provide the greatest insight in knowing from their own educational experiences.

    My assessment and engagement with students, families, educators, administrators and community through my profession, as well as personally being a parent of children enrolled in Seattle Public Schools, is that we have amazing students, teachers, schools and communities that are being underserved, undereducated and underutilized.

    I respect and appreciate the district’s ongoing efforts in eliminating the opportunity gaps to ensure access and provide excellence in education for every student, specifically students of color furthest from “Education Justice”

    • Increasing reading levels of students of color by 3rd grade
    • Math proficiency by 5th and 7th grade
    • On-time graduation end of 9th grade
    • Students of color will graduate ready for college and career

    However there is much work to be done in getting students, families and communities trust and by in, after years and decades of exclusion of the educational needs and outcomes of students of color. Yes, we’ve been in this position numerous times in trying to address education gaps and suspension rates for students of color and racial equity with little progress. We must act with a greater sense of purpose and as a community with much ground to cover.

    In position as Director, I want to with the board in supporting our students who may fall outside of the new strategic plan 2019-2024, such as current secondary 10th, 11th, 12th, 5th years and alternative route students. They too deserve a quality education, graduation, college and career readiness support. In moving forward, my integrity in the community and confidence in the board position, supports my abilities to work through these barriers in building sustainable partnerships with the community and board for the outcomes we need for our students.

    It speaks to the intentional focus and priority of African American male achievement, equity and access for students of color, Cultural responsive hiring and training, enriching cultural curriculum (Ethnic Studies K-12) that expands beyond testing outcomes that supports student’s cultural identities, history and individual experiences.

    I support the district’s priority that’s outlined in the strategic plan to increase diversity in staff and leadership in schools. In Seattle Public Schools, 1 in 10 teachers are of color, creating a disparity in educators. This is valuable as students have articulated the importance of having representation of teachers of color in their classrooms.

    • They have an understanding of their culture and community
    • Are more supportive in their success.
    • Have higher expectations and challenge their abilities.
    • Greater sense of fairness.
    • They feel cared about.
    • Role models and mentors.

    As a Director would like to work with fellow board directors integrating social and emotional into policies. Students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools bring a significant amount of additional challenges that create barriers, which impacts student learning and lack of skills needed by teachers and staff to support them. This includes basic needs of housing, food, behavioral and mental health resources. Taking a better look into the operations and services of Student Health Services and Student Support Services and needs of students furthest from “Educational Justice.”

    Another added benefit to improve equitable educational outcomes and representation for students of color, is incorporating more targeted development and investment in partnerships that are school and community based, such as PTSA’s, 100 Black Men, 100 Black Parents, My Brother’s Keeper and community engagement are critical in supporting students furthest from “Education Justice” especially with the enrichment funding being impacted by levies restriction. A Community and Engagement tool that the district can cross check and reinforce in meeting equity and educational outcomes for students of color. This tool is separate from the family and student survey.

    4. How does racism affect education in Seattle? What are your ideas for implementing School Board Policy No. 0030, Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity? Read Policy 0030.

    The plight of racism effect on education in Seattle is rooted systematically and institutionally with implications of gaps in education for students of color, life trajectory, segregation across schools and neighborhoods, non-diverse hiring practices of teachers and administrators, cultural, racial and economic disadvantages in communities of color, physical and mental health, attendance, increased dropout and incarceration rates of students of color especially, African American males, increased unemployment and access to housing.

    In implementing policy 0030 to provide an equitable education for all students with students of color as a district as follow:

    • The mission, vision and goals of all K-12 schools should clearly state a commitment to equitable access for all students, but there should a commitment of distinction for students of color, for a high quality curriculum, cultural curriculum that encompasses Ethnic Studies, educational resources and differentiating resource allocation. Refinement or clarity in identifying supports, facilities and educational resources to affirm their alignment with equity.
    • The analysis of racial equity by the district along with transparency and inclusion of stakeholders such as, students, parents, guardians, teachers, administrators and community in the process and outcomes. Support the use of a racial equity tool to integrate explicit and intentional consideration of racial equity in decisions, including refinement and new policies, best racial equity practices across all schools K-12, fidelity with equity being key deliverable in program design and outcomes, and the budgeting process and final fiscal budget. Use of a racial equity tool can help to develop new strategies and actions that reduce racial inequities and improve equitable outcomes for students of color and a benefit to all students.
    • In creating, investing and supporting a diverse teacher and administrator workforce that reflects the diversity and the educational needs of students especially, students of color, families and communities. In doing so we increase the academic outcomes of students of color, and that of all students in reading and math, test scores, graduation rates, self-esteem, a high school and beyond plan that’s aligned with college, career readiness and community engagement. As a district, we must be transparent in acknowledging and taking action in addressing the racial disparities in hiring diverse inclusive staff across the district administratively, instructional and personnel that’s inclusive to race, gender and diverse languages. Systematically and institutionally that has deprived our students.
      • Dismantling the role and impact that white normative culture has on recruiting and retention practices of teachers and administrators of color.
      • Partnerships with state and community colleges in recruitment efforts of teachers and administrators of color.
      • Students and parents of color engagement in the hiring of teachers and administrators of color.
      • Piloting a High School Teaching Program for Students of Color.
      • Incentive based recruitment and education referral.
      • Development of tenure for teachers of color that support recruitment and retention.
      • Workforce Equity Innovation Task Force Best Hiring Practices.
      • Seattle Public Schools staff of color affinity groups.
    • Professional development of teachers and staff is instrumental for all students’ enrolled in Seattle Public Schools in eliminating the opportunity gaps, achieving high level instruction and an equitable education. It’s where policy 0030 and practice merge, and where it is morally imperative to build equitable classrooms in supporting the intellectual, social, academic, and civic benefits of diverse schools for all students. The collaborative work and efforts by DREA provide and equip educators with culturally responsive instruction & leadership to transform educational opportunities, access and outcomes for every student, in every classroom. An area for growth that benefits students, parents and teachers is relationship building. Teacher learning who their students are: their personality, cultural and their communities creating trust and a sense of being cared for, respect and communication.
    • As a school district building and fostering culturally welcoming and inclusive learning environments are important in our commitment to support diversity of students, families and community. These are ways as a district that we can create and support a culturally and inclusive schools:
      • Inclusive language for students, other staff and educators, and for parents and caregivers when talking about families.
      • Student forms, handbooks and school/home communications to ensure inclusivity.
      • Representation of diverse family structures, people of different races, gender expressions, ethnicities and abilities.
      • Displays that encourage respect for all people and their humanity.
      • Staff and educators treat all families with respect and avoid stereotyping or judgment when communicating with two-mom and two-dad, single-parent, racially diverse and/or multi-linguistic families.
      • Provide interrupters for diverse languages spoken in schools that supports students, parents and guardians.
    • The district’s outreach and inclusion of partners and stakeholders in policy 0030, who commit their cultural expertise, support and resources, reflects it’s understanding that community and partnerships are vital collaborations in eliminating the opportunity gaps, achieving high level goals and in providing an equitable education to all students in Seattle Public Schools. We as a district must trust our partners and stake holders on various levels in the community to lead or guide when necessary, which means as a district we must continue to do the work of dismantling systematic and institutional racism and white normative culture that has historically disenfranchised communities and partners of color.
    • The education goal and path of no two students is every the same and with Seattle Public Schools being the largest and most diverse in the state racially, culturally, ethnically and in languages, it’s important to provide multiple pathways for student success, and now with the Washington legislature passing house bill 1599 in recognizing and supporting multiple pathways for graduation students that’s equitable in meeting their educational needs. This supports important elements of personalized learning environments as they create distinct, equally-rigorous paths for students to pursue their interests and gain the skills that are relevant to the real world and experiences they need to be successful after graduating high school.
    • Recognizing diversity and inclusion as a district aligns with regulations at the state level and district policy and budget as a district Consistent with state regulations and district policy and within budgetary considerations, the district shall provide materials and assessments that reflect the diversity of students and staff, and which are geared towards the understanding and appreciation of culture, class, language, ethnicity and other differences that contribute to the uniqueness of each student and staff member.

    5. What do you want to focus on as a school board director and why? How do you foresee doing that work within the constraints of the role (law, existing policy, budget, staff, and public expectations)?

    As a School Board Director, I want to focus on policy 0030 in alignment with the five year strategic plan to drive and sustain action driven education outcomes, access and resources, strategically through the racial equity framework in support of all students with a commitment to students of color furthest from “Educational Justice.” I don’t view the work for policy 0030 being a focus of just myself, but a collaborative effort that will require all board members to remain committed and engaged in the process even when there are barriers that create challenges that may be budget/funding, legislative, and balancing the needs and expectation of the public when the work of the board is going well or when it’s challenged.

     

    Community questions and candidate responses:

    What do you believe is the cause of the opportunity gap and what are the solutions we should be working on to solve it?

    The plight of racism’s effect on education in Seattle is rooted systematically and institutionally with implications of gaps in education for students of color that can be exacerbated by school funding policies. White Normative Culture is embedded in the institution of education, which makes its way into classrooms of educators, who are predominately Caucasian and female that maintains privilege at the expense of students furthest from “Educational Justice.” Not supporting the educational rights of Black, African, and African American, Asian Pacific Islander, Pacific Islander, Latina X, and Native and Native American, creates lasting legacies of economic disadvantage, increased dropout rates the opportunity to access resources, educational curriculum that’s aligned culturally in students learning styles.

    In Education, we know that there are varying ways in which students learn and that development of students is continuous, but that hasn’t been inclusive to all students, especially students of color. We must acknowledge the disservice of white normative culture that has shown biases in testing and curriculums, hiring practices that exclude teachers of color, over commitment and emphasis on time and outcomes that aren’t culturally inclusive or best practice.

    The greatest influence on improving educational outcomes for students especially students furthest from “Educational Justice” is family and community engagement. We must value and respect the role of community and work in close partnerships for providing and creating sustainable racial equity framework, high quality standards that support all abilities, resources in all schools and district headquarters that support all students in our district. All efforts should built from a foundation of trust and authenticity and communication.

    What will you be doing to support foster care kids/families getting in-school supports? This is a racial equity issue and our schools are not built to support the unique needs of our kiddos.

    As a trusted leader, and as someone who has personally and professionally encountered the foster care system, I am committed to working with the Board of Directors in the most effective way in supporting the educational outcome of youth in foster care. Students of color in Washington State and those enrolled in Seattle Public Schools, encounter the foster care system at a much higher rate than non-students of color. They are impacted greatly from racial inequities, access to resources, and enter the education system with learning gaps, higher dropout and suspension rate, attendance and truancy issues and experience homelessness.

    I see the district’s five year strategic plan being beneficial in addressing and supporting the needs of students in foster care with greater intentionality with use of the racial equity tools, creating strategic partnerships between the district’s Student Health Services and Student Support Services specific to the Foster Care Liaison, McKinney Vento with Department of Children Youth Family Services and community partners that work with youth in foster care. Also as a district exploring ways to support and advocate for youth in foster care to remain in their same schools if it’s in their best interest and seamless transition between schools.

    What qualifies you to oversee a $1.5 billion budget on behalf of the public?

    I understand the alignment of the budget with the districts objective, mission and vision along with the strategic plan in commitment to eliminating opportunity gaps to ensure access and provide excellence in education for every student.

    My knowledge in public administration and budgeting for government and non-profit provides me with a key foundational knowledge in working across various areas of budgets. I have fiduciary experience in budget oversight in my work as a PTSA president and working with Building Leader Teams and administrations, setting and approving the budget with community input. My graduate level course studies in budget analysis has provided me with a deeper lens and breath of understanding of working through the budgeting development process in being challenged by funding constraints.

    As a district, we are challenged with a budget shortfall of 40 million and the state’s new funding formula, designed to address the school funding lawsuit called McCleary, and state-imposed restrictions to our local levy collection has created the deficit. The intent of McCleary was to provide ample and equitable funding of K-12 education. Some improvements were made, but more work remains to meet our state’s constitutional requirements. In knowing what we are up against in the coming years, we be remain committed fiscally, keep working with the legislature to work through funding barriers with the support of the students, parents, educators, administrators in eliminating the opportunity gaps in ensuring access to an excellent education for every student.