Malcolm Forbes reminds us, "The art of conversation lies in listening."

As a district, we pride ourselves in open, honest communications.

We strive to share information, to tell our story, through a myriad of tools.

From monthly columns in the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News to newsletters mailed to all residents, from eNews in your email inbox to dozens of social media accounts across multiple platforms, we provide pages and pages of information about our schools, district and performance.

Although we are proficient in sharing our story, a new calendar year provides a renewed opportunity to commit to listening. As your superintendent, it is easy to talk about preparing our students to be ready for tomorrow. But in 2020, we look forward to practicing "the art of listening" with business, industry and parents.

Mark Abate, president of the Hilliard City Schools Board of Education, will join me as we rebrand our quarterly Coffee Connections. Later in January, we will hold Listening Leaders at various locations in Hilliard.

Abate and I are committed to listening to you, our community. As we gather information and listen to understand, we can better plan for future goals and programs.

Please make plans to join us for a casual conversation from 9 to 10 a.m. Jan. 29 at Coffee Connections of Hilliard, 4004 Main St., from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Jan. 30 at Panera Bread in Mill Run, 3625 Fishinger Blvd., or from 10 to 11 a.m. Jan. 31 at the Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 4500 Hickory Chase Way.

The most valuable resource in our school district is our teachers. These dedicated professionals are the heart of the learning process.

With this in mind, I will visit each school with the intended purpose of listening to our professional staff. I want to hear from our teachers what we are doing well and where we can improve.

Later this month, we are convening an athletics study group to enumerate the purpose of interscholastic athletics at the middle school and high school levels.

Sports play an essential role in our schools and community. Youth sports in Hilliard, the feeder programs for our middle schools and high schools, are part of a multimillion-dollar regional industry.

The goal of this study group is to clarify the purpose and role of sports in our district.

Finally, we know families are exceptionally busy. Not everyone has the time to attend a coffee meeting during the day or attend a school board meeting in the evening. Not everyone wants to be part of a six-week study group or join a district committee.

We will continue to find innovative, easy-to-use ways to share opinions with the district. Our partnership with Thoughtexchange provides digital opportunities to be part of an interactive conversation.

Communication requires two actions – sharing and listening. We will continue to share information and tell our story in 2020; we are hopeful that you will read and listen.

We also will take the time to listen and understand those in our community. The education of our children, the preparation of the next generation to be ready for tomorrow, is too important not to be invested in the process.

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