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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Hastings School Board, Dist 18

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    Sharon Behl Brooks

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    Laura Schneider

Biographical Information

How can your school district improve its use of technology, including broadband access, to foster better equity and educational outcomes?

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in your school?

As a school board member, how do you best advocate for your district's teachers and students in preparing students for the 21st century job market?

Education B.A Hastings College, M.A. University of Leicester, Great Britain, M.A. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Current Public Office, dates held Member of the Board of Education,Hastings, 2016-present
Volunteer experience United Harvest Mobile Food Pantry, YWCA, Hastings Public Access Corporation, Hastings Public Library Foundation, Community for Kids, Hastings Public Schools Foundation Board, Child Development Council
Address 1406 N CEDAR AVE Hastings, NE 68901
Marital Status married
Age 68
Our district works with local broadband providers to assure access to young people in our educational programs. We have been offering e-learning for those who request it during this first quarter and are surveying families about their plans for the second quarter. The district purchased additional computers for children this summer in order to make this possible. Teachers and administrators have been busy helping adults and young people navigate the protocols of use. Indeed, technology provides an array of teaching tools for today’s educators. Supporting our educators with technological tools in their efforts to interact with students during crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and weather-related events is a constant. Coding clubs have formed in some of our schools. Summer activities in past years have included opportunities to engage with robotics. Audio systems continue to be implemented as needed. Educators, through their Professional Learning Communities share strategies.
Constantly coordinating with community agencies has been invaluable to assessing threats and implementing policies to address them. At one time we might have been focused primarily on physical threats to our students and teachers. Now we acknowledge that we are in a position to help protect our students and teachers from viruses. By maintaining good relationships with law enforcement agencies, social service agencies, and health professionals, we support our administrators and teachers in assessing potential problems and working together to prevent harm.
Regular visits with teachers and administrators working in the Professional Learning Communities have been invaluable. We hope to continue some sort of shared communication this semester and next, even when social distancing is a challenge. The teachers see us in the schools. Parents and students know we attend school activities. We make ourselves available before, during, and after meetings. Yes, “we.” Our Board Norms are guidelines for our work as active board members. I fully embrace the collective effort to work on behalf of our teachers and students. Over time, this collaboration has identified a number of opportunities: for more attention to social and emotional learning; to curriculum that acknowledges research in how children learn, etc. Currently, I am working with the Hastings Public Schools Foundation on projects such as teacher grants and the Middle School Garden and the Community For Kids program to assess and address the needs for early childhood options.
Occupation self employed
Education BS in Entomology, Ag finance and general agriculture-UNL MS in agronomy-UNL
Current Public Office, dates held Hastings Public School board of education January 6, 2009 to present
Volunteer experience Secretary Hastings Habitat for Humanity Treasurer Grace United Methodist Church Sunrise Rotary member and past president LWV Hastings member, past state and local president 4-H leader 20 years Past BBBS board member Member Chamber of commerce
Address 2519 W 10th St Hastings, NE 68901
Marital Status Married
Age 63
Equal access to internet has been a struggle in rural areas. Recent events have highlighted this weakness. Our district has met most access challenges though use of hot spots and arranging printed lessons.
The health and safety of all our students and staff is a top priority. Recent school updates to all buildings have included limited locked entries and storm sheltering systems. Current challenge of COVID-19 has been beyond this physical safety change. Copious hours and meetings with staff, District health, and patrons have established the basis for stating back to school in person with e-learning options available to all students. This is a very fluid situation that will change as the year progresses.
Our district has focused on life and career ready students for the entire time I have been on the board. We have established cooperative programs in construction, auto mechanics and tool/die design with Central Community College. Most recent collaboration has been in the field of Health care.