January 10th was a
special night at Oostburg High School as we celebrated the 100th
anniversary of the WIAA State Boy’s Basketball Tournament.  Oostburg has been fortunate to have eight teams
qualifying for the state tournament during that time. We honored those teams
by inviting them back to their alma mater and introducing them at half time of
our game against Sheboygan Christian. 
Tradition is a key part of what makes the Oostburg School District
unique, and I am thankful for those who have invested heavily in shaping our
District as a leader in educational excellence. 
Reflecting on our special evening, I find myself thankful for our ability
to honor tradition while also focusing forward on our improvement and growth.  I believe that the combination of tradition and
growth are often in conflict, yet we find ways to bring those opposites
together in a way that helps define who we are as a school and community.
American philosopher and
educational reformer John Dewey discussed something similar in 1938:
Traditional vs
Progressive Education

However, Dewey (1938) believes neither progressive nor traditional education is
the solution to the opposition that exists in educational theory. He proposes
that the problems they present require a resolution based on a new philosophy
of experience. As long as the assumption exists that it suffices to reject the
ideas of traditional education and to go to the opposite extreme to progressive
education, the problem at hand will not even be recognized, let alone being
The Dewey paragraph captures
the balance that we believe is important when it states that “neither progressive nor traditional” is
the solution.  We live in a time where
most arguments seem to quickly degrade to a staunch defense of this or that.  Respected author Jim Collins describes
this phenomenon as the “tyranny of or” where we must choose between two seemingly
contradictory positions.  Collins
dismissed “this or that” and promotes
the “genius of and” where he describes the ability to hold two opposed ideas in
the mind at the same time while still retaining the ability to function.  We want to be a “genius of and” school where the “tyranny
of or”
is pushed aside.  We want to
embrace our strong traditions while also driving forward to improve and grow.
Oostburg is steeped in
tradition yet has a progressive nature, unlike many other small towns.  Our active Chamber of Commerce and incredible
number of small and medium-sized businesses provide an example of balancing
tradition and progress. They model how to grow and stay ahead of the curve yet still hold true to the values that matter most.  I hope our School District reflects those
qualities as we serve children.
Daniel Pink, one of my
favorite authors / researchers has a quote which I include in my email signature line: “We need to prepare children for their
future, not our past.”
This quote is a necessary reminder as I get a bit older and risk
being less open to what our students need most to succeed. Saturday’s events also served as a reminder as we brought together a celebrated past and a promising future which should excite us.
Have a great week!