The Hilliard City Schools, in partnership with the Dublin City School District, recently brought the film "Angst" to our school community.
"Angst" is a documentary created to raise awareness about the anxiety students are facing in our world today.
In Hilliard, we purposefully scheduled "Angst" during the school day in all of our middle schools and high schools.
To be honest, it is that important. Our teachers and staff members opened the dialogue and started the conversation about the anxiety and challenges students are dealing with in school, at home and in social circles.
This generation of young people, like no generation before it, is susceptible to anxiety and social-emotional stress.
Our social-media driven, 24/7/365 world paints both an unreasonable and false picture of our students. This constant connectivity and comparisons to others create unreasonable expectations for happiness, confidence and self-worth.
It is easy for young people to project an appearance of confidence while battling anxiety internally. This internal struggle, a struggle that is waged alone for fear of showing weakness, rips at the very core of students.
As educators, our primary purpose is to start the conversation.
We want all students to know that all of us, even adults, face challenges. No one is alone in having worries and fears; we all work through issues and face challenges.
We want our students to understand that the worlds of Instagram and Snapchat aren't representative of real life. Our social media world -- their social media world -- is a snapshot in time. It isn't the complete picture. In many cases, each post is the highlight or crescendo of an event.
As we engage in this conversation, we are encouraged to hear feedback from students, teachers and parents. We've started talking, and it is making a difference.
In partnership with Dublin, we scheduled four evening opportunities for parents to watch "Angst" and talk about it.
Our Parent U program is a multifaceted opportunity to collaborate and partner with parents. One track of Parent U this year is focused on social-emotional learning.
We don't have all the answers, but we have a phenomenal community in central Ohio. From Ohio State University to Syntero counselors, from our own professionals to physicians at Nationwide Children's Hospital, we find experts in the field to serve our families and students.
We build skills in our education community through a partnership with Focus 3 and Tim Kight. Our students are learning, and building on, life skills to assist them in dealing with the events they face each day.
There isn't one solution; it is a journey together.
On March 9, 2019, we will hold a Parent U event with Dublin that will be focused on student wellness. We will hold community book studies in advance of welcoming Dr. Michele Borba, author of "UnSelfie," and ESPN's Kate Fagan, author of "What Made Maddy Run," to our communities. These books, like "Angst," are conversation starters.
This event, titled "Be Well," will include student panels, collaborative sessions and experts in the field.
This work is required of us: We must prepare students both academically and socially for future success. The world isn't going to get more supportive and understanding. Our society must become more compassionate and empathetic -- and it starts with our young people. This next generation is our future: They are the leaders of tomorrow.
We ask community members to join in the conversation and talk with the young people in their lives, share challenges and be open about what creates anxiety in their lives.
We truly prepare our students to be ready for tomorrow when they are open, honest and healthy.
Hilliard City Schools Superintendent John Marschhausen writes the Hilliard Schools Connection guest column for the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News.