When I came to Bexley City Schools, Bexley had just celebrated 100 years of excellence in the community. My goal as the superintendent has been to continue that tradition of excellence by ensuring students and teachers have access to 21st-century learning opportunities.

Education isn't the same as it was 10 years ago, let alone 100 years ago. Students today are challenged to forge their own path to success in the midst of an ever-changing global economy. Despite the challenges and competition, in many ways students today have more opportunities to succeed and more options available to them.

Our mission at Bexley City Schools is to engage, equip and empower each student for success today and tomorrow. That means we strive to prepare our students to succeed not only in the classroom but also in their careers, families and communities. Students need social and emotional skills like collaboration, communication, problem-solving and resilience, along with academic knowledge.

While students learn these skills in the classroom, these skills are put into action through extracurricular opportunities in athletics, arts and clubs. Through extracurriculars, students discover and develop passions that are often instrumental in guiding their path to success.

Bexley offers more extracurricular opportunities than most districts, and each activity provides unique experiences to our students. Each coach, director and adviser leaves lasting impressions and teaches valuable lessons that will last a lifetime.

Last year, 63% of our middle and high school students participated in at least one extracurricular activity and 50% participated in at least two. The middle and high school has 75 athletics teams that compete in 26 sports, hosts over 35 music and theater performances each year and has 41 interest-based clubs. We also offer theater, clubs, art, music and foreign language at the elementary level.

This is part of what makes our schools excellent. Learning outside the classroom through activities that engage students with their passions is critical to students' success and our success as a district. We are not required to provide extracurriculars to our students but we do because we know how much they matter and how critical they are.

Bexley's long history of excellence is due in large part to our engaged and supportive community. I encourage you to experience our students in their element at an athletic event or performance this year.

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