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The Origins of Hybrid Learning in Oxford

The year was 2009; Mike Flanagan was the State Superintendent. He had challenged all districts in the state of Michigan to re-imagine education. I had just completed my Executive MBA via a hybrid model in which I spent time online (reading, calculating problems, analyzing companies, submitting papers) as well as meeting in person at various locations throughout the U.S. every few months. During these face-to-face cohort sessions, we put into action what we had learned at warp speed and high intensity. It was a hybrid model of education that I had never experienced before, and I learned more effectively and efficiently than any other time in my life.

Thus began Oxford’s pursuit of a new model of education, whereby students not only learn new material but put into action their passions by impacting the world around them. It’s amazing how our world can change in just a short few weeks. Not unlike a decade ago of societal unrest and economic decline, Oxford and the State of Michigan must decide how we are going to respond. I want to set the record straight: Oxford is pursuing a competency-based personalized learning system through which we increase the effectiveness and efficiency of how we teach and learn. Please don’t insinuate that Oxford has broken any laws or is trying to skirt the system. We are providing the educational experience that our customers (ALL our students, parents, and our community members) desire and if they want something different, I am sure they will tell us.

The year is now 2020. Not unlike ten years ago, the best questions are, are we going to listen, and what are we going to do about it? I implore my fellow superintendents, state legislators, and the MDE: lead, follow, or at a minimum, get out of the way. Oxford not only wants Michigan to be a top ten in ten, Oxford wants Michigan to be number one. As my dad often told me growing up, it’s better to shoot for the moon and miss than aim for the ditch and hit. Come on Michigan, we can do this!


Tim Throne


Oxford Community Schools


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