Education today is in a constant state of change.
Our historic education system, the same system that served as the foundation for America's global dominance since the middle of the 20th century, must adapt and adjust to a new era.
For many, this change is uncomfortable.
Parents want school to look -- and operate -- like it did when they were in school. There is comfort with the familiar. There is often an attitude of "it was good enough for me" regarding our public schools. Though the good old days served many adults well in preparation for today's workforce, the jobs of tomorrow demand different skills, a different mindset and a different approach to education.
In Ohio, the Governor's Office of Workforce Transformation works to create innovative workforce practices to close the skills gap, connect Ohioans to technological advancements and recognize the paradigm shift that is needed to educate a skilled and agile workforce.
Our education system also must shift to provide the skills required for future employment and success. We must diversify our educational opportunities, personalize secondary education to meet the needs of each student and work with all students to identify their academic strengths and their interests -- as well as the life skills and mindset -- required for individual success.
The Hilliard City School District will continue to prepare many of our students for success in college.
From our College Jumpstart partnership with Columbus State Community College to the Advanced Placement courses taught in all three high schools, from Kenyon College courses to preparation for the ACT, our district is committed to college preparation.
Hilliard also prepares students with exploration of potential majors and mentorship experiences to assist in the college-selection process. Tom Woodford and Trevor Maggied guide our students and their families through the college process, beginning with informational sessions as early as the eighth grade.
The district also offers career exploration and workforce development for students who might not need a two- or four-year degree for successful employment. Stackable certifications and "earn-to-learn" programs increasingly are desirable in the job market.
From Amazon to Nationwide, employers offer entry-level positions with opportunities for internal advancement -- all while earning an income.
Just this year, the district has partnered with Worthington Industries to offer a job pathway to seniors. This cohort of students was taught directly by Worthington Industries personnel -- including senior-level executives -- on our Innovation Campus. After classroom instruction from the employer, the students have spent weeks working at Worthington Industries.
Most of the students in this pilot cohort will have the opportunity to be "Worthington Industries Bound" upon graduation from high school. We are proud of this "earn-to-learn" model and look to expand this program to other students in the Hilliard community in the 2019-20 school year.
Hilliard leaders are exploring new corporate partnerships to prepare our students for the workforce of tomorrow. Our mentorship program continues to grow each year. Students from all backgrounds and academic levels join mentors in the real job market for either one or two semesters. Students are placed in medical laboratories and manufacturing facilities, in ballistic labs and engineering offices, all while taking high school courses. In some cases, students learn that their passion runs deep; it only solidifies their desire to continue down a specific career path.
For others, the mentorship experience is eye-opening and provides a new opportunity for reflection. In any event, exploring interests in a real-world setting is important in the development process.
The district continues to partner with Tolles Career & Technical Center in Plain City for career technical education. Tolles' programs, taught by licensed teachers, provide students with specific job skills that prepare them for the workforce when they graduate.
In addition, our partnership with all branches of the military links dozens of graduates with opportunities to serve our country. Hundreds of students will attend community and technical schools as they continue their education at the next level.
The preparation is based on the foundational skills demanded of all high school graduates. Our local requirements, in alignment with the requirements from the Ohio General Assembly and Ohio Department of Education, ensure that Hilliard high school graduates have a certain competency in core subjects. These minimum requirements aren't the goal, but rather a safety net to give security and meaning with a Hilliard diploma.
"Ready for tomorrow" means something in Hilliard. It might be different for every student, but it means that when our students walk across the stage as Hilliard graduates, they have the skills, experiences and mindsets to take the next steps on life's journey.
Hilliard City Schools Superintendent John Marschhausen writes the Hilliard Schools Connection guest column for the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News.