Hours after the dismissal bell rang at Hilliard Crossing Elementary School, dozens of students returned and, under the guidance of two teachers, made illustrations of four of their favorite things.

For fifth-grader Jessica Hobson, that meant drawing a plate of spaghetti.

Hobson and the rest of the students were asked to draw a favorite food, a favorite game, a favorite teacher and their family members as an exercise in the three-week Mindset series that concludes Feb. 13.

Meanwhile, parents were gathered in the school's cafeteria, discussing what is most important in their lives and learning ways to focus on creating and maintaining the best home environments for their children.

Mindset moves to Beacon Elementary School from Feb. 20 to March 6, J.W. Reason Elementary School from Feb. 26 to March 12 and Brown Elementary School from April 12 to 26.

Brown will be the last of six elementary schools at which Mindset will be offered this school year. Darby Creek was the first elementary school to offer it last year, and it will conclude at Britton this week.

Parents and students can register through the schools where Mindset is offered.

The Mindset series has been taught three years in Hilliard City Schools.

"We are fortunate to live and work in a school district that has made a conscious decision to invest in not only academics, but student interest and mindset, as well," said Sharon Esswein, who with Lori Ludwig teaches the Mindset series.

Esswein and Ludwig were both classroom teachers when they helped create the Mindset series. They now are part of the district's professional-development department, which is directed by Brian Lidle.

Mindset evolved after conversations the teachers had with Superintendent John Marschhausen about the significance of positive mindsets in connection to academic achievement.

"Mindset is the single most important factor to success in school, at work and in life," Marschhausen said. "At Hilliard, we intentionally strive to cultivate a 'growth mindset' in our students.

"Our Mindset workshops are another example of partnering with our parents and our community to build bridges between school and home."

More than 200 adults and children participated in Mindset at Crossing Elementary, Ludwig said.

Mindset is offered from 6:30 to 8 p.m. one night a week for three weeks at each school building. The program explores the power of literacy, goal-setting, optimism, purpose, empathy, embracing failure and a "growth mindset."

"When you build a growth mindset, it affects academics as you go forward, and everything else," Esswein said. "It used to be we thought of education as (only) academics ... but mindset is needed ... to create the strongest potential in every student."

This program brings family members into the equation Esswein said.

Amanda Peterson was among the Crossing parents who participated. She and her husband have four children, including two sons at Crossing.

"Family is important to us and I hope to hear things tonight we can do at home," Peterson said.

Discussion with parents included "making a blueprint" to achieve what you want as a family and pathways to achieve it, Ludwig said.

"Helping families uncover these concepts is what promotes personal growth and unlocking potential," Esswein said.

"Our goal is to support families as they embark on the most important, most impactful project of their lives: raising our next generation."

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo