Levy Puts District on Clear Path Forward

John MarschhausenReady for Tomorrow is the official Mission of the Hilliard City Schools. Ready for Tomorrow is personal; Ready for Tomorrow is different for each student. Our vision as a district is that all students embrace a mindset of continuous improvement, are empowered to push themselves to the very edge of their abilities, and are inspired to create a future for themselves.

We are extremely grateful that the Hilliard School Community voted to support the recent school levy. While any levy campaign is a challenge, it was great to share our district message face-to-face with thousands in our community. We are proud of the work we do, passionate about our mission, and optimistic about the future. We are educating the next generation of American leaders. School shouldn’t, it can’t, look like classrooms when we were students. We aren’t preparing students for yesterday or today; we are preparing students for tomorrow. We adults must embrace the discomfort of change. What was “good enough” for us in the 1980’s and 1990’s won’t prepare our young people for success in the 2030’s and 2040’s. We must work together . . . we must embrace this journey of change . . . and own the future together. We are on a path . . . a path to excellence taking one step at a time.

Our path together includes many exciting projects, it requires innovation and creativity, and it will take great focus and planning. The passage of the levy put into motion more than a dozen initiatives for the district. As we create, plan, and implement these new projects we also continue the great work we’ve been doing on a daily basis in our classrooms. We continue to pursue excellence each and every day.

Operationally the district has hit the ground running with the construction of the new Memorial Middle School. We are proud to partner with Eramo & Sons, a Hilliard-based company, on the site work for the new middle school. Our selected architectural firm, Fanning/Howey, is also a local company and our commercial construction management firm, Elford, has many Hilliard connections as well. We have great partners in the building project – all of whom bring world-class technical skills while also being personally invested in our Hilliard Schools. We simply have the best team in central Ohio working on the building.

While we are beginning the construction process for the new building, we are also preparing for several major projects and improvements at our existing facilities. As we shared during the campaign, there will be work on parking lots, roofs, and security taking place this summer. We will also use existing revenue for improvements inside and outside our buildings – traditional painting, carpet replacement, and renovations to areas that need upkeep and improvement. Our buildings are a community investment; we must keep up with maintenance to keep our students warm, safe, and dry.

Academically the district is planning for innovative and efficient ways to expand the programs at the Innovative Learning Center. The future requires different learning opportunities. Our College Jump Start program and Advance Placement courses provide thousands of college credits to high school students; we must expand and grow these opportunities. Columbus State Community College is a great partner and we are seeking opportunities to grow our college partnerships. Our collaboration with Tolles Career & Technical Center builds a technical foundation for students directly entering the workforce or pursuing further education in technical fields; we must expand and build on these programs. The ILC gives students the opportunity for personal, flexible learning but also maintains the rigor and demands of a Hilliard education; we seek balance and demand excellence.

With the new middle school opening in 2018 we must also shift and design a new sixth grade experience at both Hilliard Station and Hilliard Tharp sixth grade buildings. We will be shifting some teams and creating new, improved experiences for all sixth grade students. We are designing “campus teams” with several elementary school buildings. These natural partnerships enhance opportunities, increase efficiency, and create building collaboration.

We are finishing the final year of our Technology Task Force recommendations, we continue the implementation of Gifted Task Force recommendations, and we seek opportunities to expand all-day kindergarten. Our focus on educating the “whole child” continues as we explore new tools to measure student participation, persistence, grit, and passion. Education is changing; we must cultivate the desire to learn in each student. Being a good test taker isn’t our goal; being a world class learner will prepare each student to truly be Ready for Tomorrow.