What is AC?
Academic Council, commonly abbreviated as AC, is not air conditioning like you may think. As a matter of fact, AC is Oceana’s leading policy-making body.
As Oceana’s website puts it, AC started through the restructuring of Oceana, which began in 1991, by having the campus “…governance structure changed to include an Academic Council comprised of five elected teachers, the principal, a clerical representative, students, and a parent representative”.
The bylaws of Academic Council, which is a document that outlines its responsibilities, structure, and procedures, require that AC has 10 members: the principal, a classified staff member, 5 teaching staff, a parent member, and two student representatives. The current members making up AC are Ms.Holland (Principal), Ms.Agra (Administrative Assistant) , Mr.Weiss (Librarian), Ms.Peters (Humanities), Ms.Hughes (Humanities), Mr.Yuen (Math), Mr.Lukens (Humanities), Susanna Jones (Parent), and Karina Gamez (ASB, 12th Grader) along with Sebastian Strawser (ASB, 11th Grader), respectively. Aside from the principal, all members serve two year terms.
Aside from policy specifics that vary meeting-to-meeting, Academic Council meetings run on a standard routine: going over the previous meeting’s notes for clarifying questions and corrections for accuracy, introductions for any guests present, a student report, 3 minutes of mindfulness, discussing agenda items, miscellaneous concerns AC members have, going over future agenda items, and a student-led reflection on the meeting. Academic Council meetings stay on course through the direction of the facilitator, Mr.Weiss, who is in charge of keeping meetings close to their agenda times and keeping track of who wishes to contribute to the AC conversation. Important information, proposals and suggestions are recorded by Mr.Yuen, AC’s recorder, who is in charge of typing up meeting notes, which, among members, are commonly referred to at the minutes of a meeting.
The importance of Academic Council to the students
Mr.Lukens, who has been teaching special education and upperclassmen humanities for 4 years at Oceana, is completing his second year on AC this year. Reflecting on his time at Oceana, during an interview, Mr.Lukens described Academic Council as an environment for members of the Oceana community to advocate and voice issues that they feel pertain to campus policy, “it has always served that purpose,” he described.
Ms.Holland, who was previously Oceana’s Vice Principal (2007-2013) and worked in the administrations of Westmoor High School and Westborough Middle School (2013-2018), is Oceana’s principal and on AC for the first time. When questioned on the importance of Academic Council to the student body at large, Ms.Holland noted that student guests at meetings can carry real weight on how members vote. Having student guests is really “…an opportunity to get a different perspective.”
Florence Chang, the senior class president and self-proclaimed AC enthusiast, had a lot to say regarding the part students play in AC. Despite the likelihood that ideas brought up to AC will often be set to a later date, Florence stated that student awareness of AC is vital because students wanting policy change starts with them having themselves heard. On top of that, Florence noted that the delay of policy gives “…people the chance to think about the decision longer and possibly pass it in the future.”
Have something to say?
Academic Council is a very important part of Oceana and is a part of the reason our school is different. It helps give the community of Oceana a voice. If you would like to learn more or have any questions, you can contact any of the people that are in Academic Council. If you are specifically a student looking to voice a specific concern to AC, contact your student representatives to help assist you in that process. Both student representatives are in the ASB advisory (Rm 212). who would Hearing from people is an important part of Academic Council because it adds to the democracy that we are able to have.
Academic Council meets every Thursday, from 3-5pm, in Room 207.