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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Omaha Public School Board, District 3

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    Alex P. Gates

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    Nick Thielen

Biographical Information

How can schools use technology to foster better equity and educational outcomes?

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

What role, if any, should charter schools have in the Nebraska educational system?

Education B.A., University of Northern Iowa, 2005
Volunteer experience Secretary, VP, & President Edison Elementary PTA & Wilson Focus School PTO 2012-current. Board Member and Advisor, Iowa Business Horizons 2010-current. "Introduction to Computer Programming" enrichment teacher, Wilson Focus 2014-current.
1:1 technology initiatives, when implemented correctly, can help close the Digital Learning Gap and improve educational outcomes. Paired with onboard unlimited data during remote learning, technology can be an equalizer by bringing high-speed internet to all students. Additionally, technology allows for better teacher / parent communication. More than 109 languages are spoken in the homes of OPS families. Modern translation technologies allow new opportunities for dialogue parents and teachers.
Congress can adopt common-sense gun reform legislation by banning assault weapons and expanding background checks and reporting.

School districts can adopt trauma-informed practices in schools and equip adults in schools to recognize and respond to traumatic stress in their buildings. Restorative practices can also be implemented to repair relationships and foster better learning-centered classrooms, thereby reducing suspensions and helping to end the school-to-prison pipeline.
None. I don't support charter school legislation for our state. I'm opposed to siphoning tax dollars away from public school for charter schools that can pick-and-choose students without public oversight. Instead, we should continue to support publicly-accountable schools that serve ALL children in our state.

We're fortunate to have flexibility to be innovative in Nebraska public schools. Instead of charter schools, we should continue to support and expand our existing innovative programs.
Education Colgate University, B.A. Economics and Theater, University of Nebraska, J.D.
Volunteer experience Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (Board), Friends of Nebraska Children (President), Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (Board), Foster Care Review Organization, Project Harmony (Service League Board), CSI, Nebraska Mock Trial, Dundee Elementary PTO
The right technology can help teachers connect with students, expand learning opportunities, and teach digital skills some students may not otherwise obtain. Remote learning has shown that over-reliance on even moderately complicated technology can also exacerbate inequality, leaving behind those who don't have the resources to make the technology work. In the end, technology is a tool for amplifying good teaching and curriculum - every proposed technology should be tested against that standard.
We need a learning environment where everyone can focus on the common goal of helping students grow. That starts with reasonable workloads and class sizes that allow a true connection between teachers and students. We need trauma-informed practices that seek to understand catalysts for behaviors instead of simply dispensing punishment. As a community, we must support families, especially affordable housing, health care, and mental health. We have to treat root causes, not just the symptoms.
Public funds should stay in public school districts, especially in OPS. Omaha has schools with exceptional educational opportunities and significant school choice, including what is arguably a public-run charter (Wilson Focus). Publicly-funded private schools often drain resources from the district while drawing only the students that cost the least to educate. In addition, public funds and public education should come with the public oversight and accountability that the school board provides.