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Pencilstorm Interviews: Nancy Drees for School Board

There are four candidates running for three seats on Upper Arlington City School Board. Pencilstorm asked each of the candidates five specific questions centered around issues that impacted Upper Arlington residents and questions that were being raised by fellow voters. Pencilstorm will be posting their complete and unedited answers individually leading up to the election and reposting all their answers together the last week of October. Answers will be posted in order they're received. Our first candidate, Nancy Drees, is featured below.

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Nancy Drees
http://uadrees.com/

In 2018, the school conducted a safety audit and implemented the recommendations.  Safety continues to be a top priority in our district. What additional measures would you advocate for to keep our students and staff safer?
Safety of our students and staff has always been a top priority for our district. We are committed to continuously improve safety. Approved by the board in August, is our Strategic Plan for 2019-2022, it focuses on the well-being of our students and staff. We are fully committed to making our schools a safe learning environment where Upper Arlington students can thrive. 

To name a few recent improvements, we expanded the school resource officer program to include all Upper Arlington Schools through our partnership with the city of Upper Arlington and the Upper Arlington Police Division. We continuously review, update and coordinate our safety procedures with the City of Upper Arlington Police and Fire Division. This fall, we implemented a background check process for all contractors and a new visitor-management system that efficiently completes a background check for every visitor to our schools. We believe and raised awareness in the importance of “see something, say something”. 

Safety starts every board meeting and every board committee meeting – it has always been and will always be a top priority to continuously improve safety.   

What technology projects would you propose as a school board member to better prepare our students for the challenges of the near future?
Upper Arlington Schools was one of the first districts in Ohio to implement one-to -one technology for every student. I am very proud that my work on the board has placed iPads in the hands of every student from kindergarten to grade twelve. iPads have built in accessibility features that have been proven to provide students with enhanced features for personalized learning. Our teachers will be using iPads to help students integrate photography, video and drawing to all aspects of learning. iPads offer flexibility for anytime and anywhere learning. Not only will our students be prepared for the future, but our teachers will be better equipped with real-time data to improve every student’s achievement. Our teachers will also be able to develop learning apps that enhance our curriculum. The possibilities of learning with technology are endless and as a school board member I’m excited for our student’s future.  

Between higher property taxes and the cost of students participating in various school activities, the expense of having a student in the school system seems to be ever increasing and can be challenging for some in our community.  What are some ways to lower the cost of our children taking advantage of various activities Upper Arlington schools have to offer?
We are currently doing a full scale study of all co-curricular and extra curricular activities and the financial impact on our students. We want every student to be able to participate in any activity and cost should NOT be a deciding factor.

What’s the one thing our teachers need to help them be better educators?
I believe our whole learning focus in our Strategic Plan for 2019-2022 enhances our teachers to be better educators. Having a learning-centered culture and instructional framework improves our teachers. We are focusing on a shared understanding of what we believe and value. We want to give our teachers time to create, analyze, plan and develop. Our focus in the Strategic Plan is to create an school environment where professional learning is job-embedded, personalized and peer based. Better educators make better students!  

Everyone at Pencilstorm is a musician. To that end, what would you do to support arts and music education at all of Upper Arlington’s schools?
I am a big supporter of the fine arts and the performing arts at Upper Arlington Schools. We have one of the finest programs in Ohio where our students excel in their passions. I am proud of our accomplishments and will support our teachers in any way to continue our student’s success. 

Pencilstorm would like to thank Nancy Drees for taking the time to answer our questions.  Learn more about Nancy at her website: http://uadrees.com/. Look for responses from future candidates in the coming days. Pencilstorm is an independent news source and does not endorse any individual candidate.

Local UA Politics coverage provided by Wal Ozello. You can email him at Pencilstormstory@gmail.com or try to catch him at Colin's Coffee. 

Check out coverage of all the candidates we've received responses from by clicking here.