As part of our "Ready for Tomorrow" focus for the 2017-18 school year, the Hilliard City Schools leaders are committed to educating the whole child.

This effort is focused on balance among the academic skills that provide the foundation for future learning, the mindset and life skills that embrace continued growth and improvement, and the development of interests that promote the future with purpose and fulfillment.

Our focus on mindset is grounded in both proven research and programs.

District leaders are collaborating with Panorama Education, a national leader in measuring students' social-emotional learning and development.

We know employers in every field and at every level place the highest value in students with strong social-emotional skills.

We know every college and university wants students with strong life skills to join their campus.

Future success isn't dependent on a test score; it's dependent on a strong academic foundation with strong life skills.

Our students must have the pride, grit, hope and mindset for a world of continuous change. Our students must be reliable, trustworthy and honest.

In addition to partnering with Panorama Education, we also are continuing our partnership with Focus 3.

Focus 3, led by Tim Kight, has been instrumental in assisting the district with alignment of our values and development of life skills. Focus 3's R Factor skills have been used for decades in the corporate and business world, and Kight has worked with Fortune 500 Companies to build corporate culture.

We are proud the district has introduced R Factor training to faculty and students. Our work to build personal skills when responding to the events that take place in our lives is evident when visiting the schools in our district.

Using the simple heuristic, E + R = O, our Hilliard family strives to respond (R) to each event (E) with purpose and discipline to achieve the best possible outcome (O).

All individuals can control is our responses to the events we face. We can't control other people's behavior and we often have no control over the events we face. We ask our teachers, administrators and, yes, students to think about "stepping up" with the best possible response to each event we face.

What we are developing with these skills isn't easy. It is much easier for us to respond to situations with emotion and autopilot behavior. It is much easier to be undisciplined and spontaneous when we face tough events.

When we blame other people and complain about situations, it might seem to make us feel better, but it never solves a problem or improves a relationship.

This is tough work and this takes practice. By implementing the six R Factor skills and by practicing how we respond, we continue to see both faculty and students achieve better outcomes in our buildings.

It's tough for young people because popular culture often promotes quick fixes and easy pathways for success. Our goal is to develop the discipline in our students to "do the work" and to face each day with both optimism and skill.

We want each student to understand that seeking improvement and continued learning is required for future success.

We strive to empower students to build strong relationships and to work in teams.

We want our young people to ask questions, be inquisitive and create solutions to problems.

The future isn't going to be easy. Competition is going to be fierce for the best careers.

Most of the jobs these students will be doing don't yet exist and will continue to change. We aren't preparing students simply to follow directions or work on an assembly line.

Our work is tough and it keeps getting tougher.

We continue to require teachers to learn new skills and adapt their instructional techniques.

We fight political and cultural expectations that are relics of a bygone era.

We are doing the work in Hilliard. We are facing the productive discomfort that requires us to shift education from simply academic preparation to a more balanced, whole-child approach.

We are disciplined and intentional in our actions as we prepare every student to be ready for tomorrow.

Hilliard City Schools Superintendent John Marschhausen writes the Hilliard Schools Connection guest column for the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News.