Record stores.


Borders Books.


All are industries that have seen the rate of outside change exceed their internal ability to change. Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric for nearly two decades said, "If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near."

Some of these corporations had opportunities to create internal change, but they failed to create internal momentum. They held on, but they were blind to the possibility of extinction. They thought they were too strong to fail.

When organizations hold on too tightly to their core function, rather than their values, they lose sight of the future.

An example of holding too tightly to a core function is Kodak.

In 2001, at a time when Kodak was the king of film, the company was only a couple steps away from creating what became Facebook. Kodak decided to forgo an opportunity for digital photo sharing in favor of staying true to its core -- print pictures. As author Scott Anthony referred to it, "They succumbed to the sucking sound of the core."

Organizations must be externally focused, committed to innovation and passionate about the future. They can't hold on to the past. They must learn from it and build on it, but we never return to it.

Public education can't be blind to the need for change. The rate of change in the outside world is exceeding the rate of change in our school buildings.

We are fighting internal forces -- traditions, parent expectations and existing structures -- that hinder our ability to meet the rate of external change. We must educate our communities about the future needs of today's students.

Schools today shouldn't -- can't -- look like the schools we attended decades ago. We aren't preparing students for success in the 2000s and 2010s. Instead, they are preparing students to be ready for the tomorrow of the 2030s and 2040s.

The rate of change is exponentially faster than our comfort level, and that's just our reality. We must step up, be the change we want to see in education and lead from a position of strength and belief.

If we don't, we will have no one to blame but ourselves. We must embrace the discomfort that is today's reality in public education.

This change doesn't come from policy makers, assessment companies or politicians. There is no one-size-fits-all model to meet our needs. This work is difficult, complex and a little messy. We will innovate, we will fail and we will continue to learn.

Our first step is to begin with the end in mind: what is required for tomorrow's high school graduates. We must work with employers, business leaders and university experts to determine what students will need to be ready for tomorrow.

When we engage these experts, the answers aren't a score on a test. These experts talk about a balance of academic skills, life skills, values and responsibility.

We must prepare students for continued learning, not with stagnant information. We must prepare students with both foundational knowledge and the skills to apply knowledge. This doesn't mean abandoning everything we know about schools; there are, of course, foundational skills all students need to know. It does mean continued evaluation and reflection, and embracing a mindset of growth and change.

Secondly, we must embrace the reality that we must support teachers differently.

Teachers are the key to any educational change and success. We must provide teachers both more opportunity for professional development and more time for planning.

We aren't asking teachers to teach a class of students the same material. We are asking teachers to personalize the learning experience, using evolving tools and skills, for each child.

For teachers trained in "yesterday's model" we must support this shift in operation. We must also recognize it takes more time for planning, preparation and personalization.

Finally, we must communicate with parents.

Every child requires support and engagement -- as much support and engagement as possible.

The tools and resources available for today's students can be overwhelming. From regular progress monitoring to college and career planning, navigating through childhood, adolescence and the teenage years is a challenge.

We, as a school district, must continue to engage and educate parents about all potential future options. College isn't for every student. What options are available to ensure students are either ready for a career or ready for college? What resources are available for students and parents to help make these decisions? What does "Ready for Tomorrow" mean for your child? These are all questions we must answer.

Your Hilliard City School District is both positioned and committed to making these internal changes. We are a district ready to lead the way, not follow the crowd, to prepare each and every student to truly be ready for tomorrow.

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