In 2008, Superintendent Dale A. McVey challenged the Hilliard City Schools to conduct a self-audit of current practices and determine the education experiences required for students to be prepared for the future opportunities that await them.

Under McVey's leadership, the district published the 2020 Plan -- a strategic vision to determine the knowledge, skills and experiences students would need to compete globally in the 21st century.

As 2019 draws to a close, as the dawn of 2020 nears, we can reflect with pride on the accomplishments, growth and evolution of Hilliard City Schools over the past decade. With the 2020 Plan as our North Star, our district has taken exceptional strides to transform educational practices to match student needs required for future success.

First and foremost, the past decade has demanded elite skills from the teachers and staff members.

The vision outlined in the 2020 Plan required more and more from the professional educators in our district. Teachers today are much more than academic instructors; our teachers are leaders in multiple facets of childhood development.

We've added many tasks and responsibility to our teachers' work requirements -- and the skilled, passionate and dedicated educators in Hilliard have risen to the task.

We opened the Innovative Learning Center in 2013 and almost immediately created additional space, including a medical training space in the annex to the facility, in 2014.

In 2018 we expanded to create the Innovation Campus with the Hub in the former Station sixth-grade building. As of this month, more than 3,000 middle school and high school students attend our Innovation Campus each day.

The Innovation Campus is the core of our business partnerships, College Credit Plus classes and career-mentorship opportunities. With our new Amazon Think Big Space, we engage middle school students in business, engineering, entrepreneurship, technology and art skills. Partnering with Columbus State Community College, Hilliard students earned more than 5,000 college credits while still in high school.

Innovation is at the core of how we prepare students to be ready for tomorrow.

In 2013, the the district's technology task force launched a deep dive into personal technology for students in the district. Involving hundreds of teachers, students, parents and community leaders, the task force reviewed dozens of devices and learning-management systems. The group planned for implementation, training and delivery, with a focus on technology as an instructional tool.

Over the next five years, the district launched a One2One program with Apple's iPads. With a phased implementation process, predicated on professional development first and student use second, Hilliard intentionally rolled out iPads and the Canvas learning-management system over four years. We did so with the firm belief that digital wellness and instructional skills are essential -- technology is only a tool.

In fall 2016, Hilliard voters supported the construction of a new Memorial Middle School to meet the growing demand for additional classroom space. With the new middle school, Hilliard also shifted Station sixth-graders to the historic Memorial building on Scioto Darby Road.

Hilliard's voters continued to provide essential support of the district's efforts during the 2010s. We are grateful for the public's confidence in our education efforts and mindful of the responsibility entrusted to us as stewards of your tax dollars.

In the late 2010s, Hilliard began a partnership with Panorama Education to measure students' social-emotional learning attributes and develop a specific instructional curriculum focused on these essential characteristics. In 2018, Hilliard partnered with the Grant Us Hope foundation to launch Hope Squads in our three middle and three high schools. Hope Squads are school-based, peer-to-peer, suicide-prevention programs.

Through this work, we are removing the stigmas of mental-health issues and teenage stress. We genuinely are educating the whole child.

The past five years also have included a groundbreaking partnership with Tim Kight and Focus 3. Our focus on cultural alignment has not only changed how we operate in Hilliard, but it has proven to be a launch point for work in hundreds of other districts across the country.

By identifying and aligning our values, behaviors and outcomes, Hilliard now has common expectations and vocabulary across our buildings and departments. Through the implementation of R Factor (E+R=O) response-outcome training with administrators, teachers and students, the district works to develop skills and to practice what is required of us when faced with events in our lives.

District leaders recently launched our Next X Initiative, a strategic vision for 2020 to 2030.

Just as the 2010s set the stage for students' future success, the next decade will be a time for change, innovation and growth. Public education must continue to embrace the productive discomfort of change to serve the students in our care.

District leaders are committed to cultivating trust within our community and achieving results with our students. Hilliard is a destination community; families buy homes in our district for the educational opportunities in our schools.

We are honored to serve you, proud of our accomplishment and relentless in our commitment to preparing every individual student to be ready for tomorrow.

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