Hilliard Superintendent John Marschhausen delivered his first state of the schools address Oct. 22, showcasing the district's new McVey Innovative Learning Center and announcing the district would seek a levy no sooner than 2015.

Hilliard Superintendent John Marschhausen delivered his first state of the schools address Oct. 22, showcasing the district's new McVey Innovative Learning Center and announcing the district would seek a levy no sooner than 2015.

"Education is the cornerstone of any great community and we value your partnership in being here tonight," said Marschhausen, recognizing current and past elected officials and board members, teachers, parents and support staff during his address at the learning center.

"Most importantly, we are surrounded by students," he said. "(I hope) you will see how Hilliard schools are taking the necessary action to ensure these students are ready for tomorrow."

At Hilliard, Marschhausen said, every student is made "Ready for Tomorrow" – the district's slogan – with three words: embrace, empower and inspire. Throughout the address, he used examples of certain students to illustrate those themes.

Marschhausen said district officials make an effort to embrace every student.

Within the 60 square miles of the district is a "diverse (student) community" speaking 39 different languages, he said.

"We learn from them as much as they learn from us," Marschhausen said.

More than 12 percent of students have individualized education plans, almost 7 percent receive English Language Learner services and nearly 25 percent are considered economically disadvantaged.

"At Hilliard City Schools, we care about our students and community," Marschhausen said. "That's why we go the extra mile to embrace every student.

"We help students overcome their challenges (and) we do this like no other district."

The second word, empowerment, includes not "just students, but parents, teachers and the community," Marschhausen said.

Marschhausen announced two community-engagement initiatives designed to encourage the participation of parents and residents in determining the district's future, including creating a technology task force.

"We live in a digital world and to ensure that our students are ready for the college and career demands of tomorrow, we must address the use of technology devices in our classrooms."

Those discussions could include, he said, whether every student should be provided a personal electronic device.

Our goal is to announce a plan in spring 2014 that will "set a clear vision" concerning individual devices and technology integration in the district.

Secondly, the district in 2014 will engage the community in a "quality profile."

While state report cards are not to be overlooked as a barometer of the district's quality, we want to "empower our students, teachers, and parents ... to be a part of creating our own report that determines what a high-performing district should look like."

Alluding to the new learning center, Marschhausen said, it "empowers students to find a more personalized educational experience."

The final aim of the district is to inspire, Marschhausen said.

He cited some cost-cutting measures, such as reducing expenditures and reallocating resources, that should allow the district to extend its operating levy approved in 2011 to at least 2015.

"Making good financial decisions and engaging the community in critical decisions is what it means to inspire community confidence," Marschhausen said.

Inspiration also comes from the classroom, Marschhausen said.

In his closing comments, Marschhausen said he would recommend that the school board update the district's mission and vision statements, the latter using the keywords of Marschhausen's address.

"We are all in this challenge together ... embracing our diversity, empowering our community and inspiring (everyone)," Marschhausen said.