I have been thinking and learning a lot about what it means to be successful. At Bexley City Schools our mission is to engage, equip and empower each student for success today and tomorrow ... but what does that mean?

Success isn't just academic achievement; it's so much bigger.

Success in life is about making meaningful contributions, maintaining and enjoying relationships with friends, family and coworkers. It's about balance and finding what inspires us and pursuing it. Success is defined by each individual. Success is personal.

How do we do this at school? It may sound counter-intuitive, but we are going to encourage our students to say no to some opportunities. We hope this helps them find balance and encourages them to pursue the activities and studies that pique their curiosity.

When students focus their energy on what matters to them, they will experience deeper learning and still have time and energy for the other sides of success -- like friendships and contributions to our community.

As a staff, we are going to engage each student through experiences that help them to become more aware of themselves and others. We are going to equip each student through the intentional teaching of critical thinking skills. And we are going to empower students by helping them to be problem-solvers and giving them the ability to be self-directed learners.

All of this is possible because of the foundation and tradition of excellent education at Bexley City Schools. Our teachers and staff are providing individualized education to our students and facilitate exceptional extracurricular activities like clubs, music, drama and athletics. We are able to provide these opportunities because of our community's support for our schools.

In the midst of the excitement of endless possibilities for our students, we are also faced with the reality that providing these opportunities to our students and preparing them for real success requires the investment of time, energy and money.

This summer, the state budget revealed we will see stagnant funding for our district. Bexley City Schools will continue to receive about 19% of its funding from the state, leaving our local community with the lion's share of responsibility to continue to provide these opportunities to our students.

Our district does a great job of maintaining our funds, but now, we are being stretched too thin. We have avoided the ballot because our state funding remained steady. We have not made major upgrades to our educational programming or technology, and our teachers have received minimal raises for a number of years. We are in a position where the district will need additional funds to maintain what we have.

In order to provide the well-rounded and exceptional education that our community has come to expect, the Bexley City Schools Board of Education placed a levy on the November ballot. This levy will provide for the day-to-day funding of the district and the continuation of the individualized learning, extracurriculars, and staff we need to engage, equip and empower each student for success.

Bexley City Schools Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller submitted the "Bexley Bold" column.