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Does educational nostalgia hold us back?

April 24, 2019
Liberty School in the 1970's
Liberty School in the 1970’s

Earlier this week, we received the picture (above) of Liberty School. It was pleasing to see the building in the background with the students (and pony!) in the foreground.  This is Liberty School, constructed in 1959, in its infancy! Ann Arbor-Saline Road certainly looks very different! I reflected on that era and thought about the many positive aspects specific to the social and emotional health of young people during that time. A simpler time, no doubt. However, I also began to reflect on the limitations to educational options and technological access in that same era.

The 1970s in Saline pre-dated the concept of inclusion for students with special needs. The curriculum was narrow, there were limited extra-curricular options, and most students followed the one-size fits all path toward high school graduation. Society has changed dramatically over the past forty years. What society asks – even demands –  of public education has changed as well. Primarily, the curricular changes must reflect the needs of the students as they prepare for the adult world. That adult world is changing at exponential speed, however. Some of the careers that today’s high school students will enter do not even exist today. Building upon the strong foundation that has historically been the Saline Area Schools is a calculated approach, tradition-bound, yet future-focused.

I am proud of the foundation that Saline Area Schools was built upon, including the 1970s era. I also look thoughtfully at present and to the future.  We must continue to focus on curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular improvements that benefit the student experience. Ultimately, preparing an informed, involved citizenry is our most essential task.

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