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The Hilliard City School District has welcomed students to its new “Think Big Space,” a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The “Think Big Space” is an educational environment that combines Hilliard’s curriculum with AWS’s cloud computing technology. Educational activities that take place in the space are designed to promote career awareness, business, engineering, entrepreneurship, technology, and design. Hilliard teachers will facilitate students’ self-directed learning and develop best practices they can share across the district for implementation in all Hilliard classrooms. AWS selected Hilliard City Schools as the first district in the world to launch this new concept because of the district’s cutting-edge thought leadership, innovation, diverse student population, and location in Central Ohio, which is instrumental in AWS’s global infrastructure.
The Think Big Space is located in Hilliard’s Innovation Campus, in the center of the district which is northwest of Columbus and home to students from 68 countries who speak 56 different languages. Designed to look like an Amazon work environment, the space offers students a place to learn, be curious, and explore passions and interests through hands-on, imagination-sparking learning opportunities. During the inaugural 2019 – 2020 school year, thousands of K-12 students, families, educators, and community members will get to enjoy the space.
Hilliard Superintendent Dr. John Marschhausen said, “The partnership between AWS and our district is a groundbreaking opportunity to prepare today’s students to be Ready for Tomorrow. The Think Big Space creates experiential learning for students to explore interests and develop essential life skills. It’s a wonderful blend of academics and creativity.”
Hilliard’s vision includes daily student programming, family offerings in evenings and on weekends, and summer enrichment opportunities. In addition, the space will be utilized to offer workshops for teachers and community members. Amazon Future Engineers, a comprehensive childhood-to-career program that inspires, educates, and trains children and young adults from under-served and low-income communities to pursue careers in computer science, has also already committed to hosting a camp at the Think Big Space.
“This project will impact our entire district and beyond. It provides access to state-of-the-art technology and opportunities to work alongside world-class experts in various fields,” said Hilliard Director of Innovation Mark Tremayne. “The workforce of the future is changing, and our students will be ready.”
The Think Big Space is made possible by AWS InCommunities, a program within Amazon Web Services Infrastructure focused on community stewardship where the company builds its cloud. The space was named after one of Amazon’s 14 Leadership Principles.
“Amazon’s ‘Think Big’ principle encourages leaders to create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. With this new space, we want to inspire students to think big,” said Cornelia Robinson, senior manager, AWS InCommunities. “As part of our commitment to serving the communities where our AWS global infrastructure resides, we are proud to work with the district to bring this space to life, and we are eager to see how this collaboration inspires and delights students.”
The Think Big Space is one of several initiatives Hilliard City Schools and AWS are collaborating on. AWS will partner with Hilliard City Schools in hosting an upcoming Girls’ Tech Day on October 19. AWS will also sponsor Tech Week in the spring, a Future Family Tech Day, and award STEAM scholarships to seniors from our three high schools.
Dr. Marschhausen said, “We look forward to expanding our partnership with AWS. The Think Big Space and Girls’ Tech Day are only the beginning.”
Hilliard Schools will host a transition resource fair on October 23 from 5:30-7:30 at Davidson High School. This is free for students with developmental disabilities and their parents and is designed to assist with future planning for the student.
Representatives from Delaware, Franklin, and Union counties will be available to discuss: adult day habilitation programs, career and technical education programs, agency support after high school, transportation options, recreation and leisure programs, county resources and services, employment supports, financial supports for students with disabilities, independent living supports, future planning, estate planning & wills.
If you are looking for help in preparing your students for life after graduation this resource fair is for you.
Later this month Hilliard Schools will begin to partner with Safe School Hotline. This is a free and confidential tool for our students to report threats of violence, illegal activity, or any activity they think can harm students or staff in our schools. There is a toll-free number students can call, or number they can text, or a web page where they can report their concerns and talk to a trained mental health counselor.
All students in grades K-12 will be bringing home a brochure in the coming week with more details. We will also be putting the information on all district-issued iPads later this fall.
The Safe School Helpline can be accessed via three methods – By telephone at 1-800-41-VOICE ext. 359 (1-800-418-6423 ext. 359); online at www.safeschoolhelpline.com; or by texting 66746 and typing “TIPS” as the message.
Safety is one of the highest concerns. Student well-being is a major component of keeping all students safe. This hotline is just one more tool our students, parents, and staff can use to help maintain a safe and healthy school experience.
We want to invite you to Dr. Marschhausen’s State of the Schools address on Thursday, October 24, 2019. The event is sponsored by The Credit Union of Ohio and presented in partnership with The Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce. The address will take place at Heritage Golf Club. From 6:00 pm – 6:30, we will have music provided by our High School Honors Quartet. There will also be light appetizers and a cash bar. Dr. Marschhausen’s address will begin at 6:30.
This fall, the district will embark on a Master Facility Plan. We want to get our community involved from the beginning. So we are asking you to join us on October 20 at 6 pm at Darby High School. This night will be an open meeting with a short presentation of current and future trends in education, and small group discussions for you to share your vision of what a Hilliard education should look like in the future.
Come join us for a night of family fun.
NEW DATE November 7th
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Registration is now open! Discover HCS will take place at Darby High School on September, 28th from 8 am – 12:30 pm.
Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, CEO and founder of ROX, (ruling our eXperiences.) She will share a riveting presentation called “A Confidence Crisis: What 10,678 girls think about stress, social media, school, and their future.”
In addition to the keynote, you will be able to attend up to 3 additional sessions on topics such as Igniting a Passion for Reading in Young Children, Understanding Your Child’s Star Scores, Navigating Canvas, iPad Tips for Parents and The Gift of Failure. You may register for as many or few sessions as you like.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association this week posted an important blog on their web page addressing fan behavior at sporting events. We hope our entire community will take a moment to read this and help create a better environment at our athletic events. There are six simple guidelines we can all follow.
Today the Ohio Department of Education released the State Report Cards. The Hilliard City Schools received an overall B for this year. This is the second year schools and districts were assigned an overall letter grade which is calculated using six components: achievement, progress, gap closing, improving at-risk K-3 readers, graduation rate and prepared for success.
“The Hilliard City School District utilizes the State Report Card as one, of many, data points we consider to measure our progress as a district.” Said Dr. John Marschhausen, Hilliard Superintendent. “We truly value the whole child; the State Report Card has some limitations. We will use the data from this report card to identify the areas for improvement that align with our mission and vision.”
Our school district, much like an annual physical, takes time each year to conduct our annual check-up. Just as multiple measurements are evaluated as part of our yearly physical, we take into account a holistic approach to educating each child. Evaluating our district’s performance is a complex, often complicated process. The more diverse our population – both economically and socially – the more complex the evaluation process. The more programs and services required to meet student needs – the more complicated our assessment process.
“Our professional teachers are the key to a high-quality education. Hilliard uses standardized assessments, teacher assessment, and professional skills to ensure every student is Ready for Tomorrow.”
We are proud of the gains we made in the Gap Closing component, which measures how well schools are addressing the achievement gaps that exist nationwide between our most vulnerable populations of students and the general student population in the areas of English language arts, math, and graduation.
“Standardized tests are one tool Hilliard uses to measure student growth. We embrace the complexity of the educational process; we have dozens of data points that are all included in analyzing each student’s growth and needs.”
We will continue to be honest and open about our performance. We don’t meet every mark; we aren’t meeting every student’s needs. We can, and we must do better. Just as there are often places to improve our physical health, there are always places we need to improve as a district. Furthermore, needing to improve isn’t the end . . . It is a beginning. We live our Passion for Growth and commit to doing the work necessary in the coming year.