April 1st-5th is the school week just before Spring Break, but it is also a special week in the school year commonly referred to, by members of the Oceana community, as Interim Week. These five school days in particular stand out and are a unique part of our school. Oceana’s Interim program is a week made up of specialized courses that seek to push student learning beyond their normal classes.
The choices for Interim range from students getting deep into civic engagement to exploring the Bay Area, from World of Cooking to jewelry making, and so much more. With such a wide array of subjects taught on or off campus, with some even being overnight trips, substantial planning is crucial to ensure things run smoothly. Along with Oceana teachers, who coordinate curriculum and scheduling for their Interims, our administration certainly is quite active in this process.
In interviewing Mr.Knudson, one of Oceana’s vice principals, this article seeks to dive into how our administration works with the staff and the District in planning and carrying out this unique program.
Mr. Knudson’s Introduction to Interim
Mr. Knudson, having just joined Oceana in the 2018-19 school year, was quite unfamiliar with the terrain of the school. Ms. Holland, Oceana’s principal, mitigated the concerns that came with that unfamiliarity by giving him a tour of the school and explaining how the school year plays out. Regarding Interim, it was explained to him that in order to compensate for Oceana being such a small school, with a lack of diverse electives relative to what other schools offer, Interim Week is crafted to give students that choice of different elective programs.
Planning with the Oceana Staff
Mr. Knudson mentioned that he partook in frequent discussions with the counseling staff to discuss matters relating to student sign ups. Additionally, in his discussions with the Oceana staff at large, he noted that there was a “Wednesday staff meeting and a half,” which was essentially “90 minutes of training and information giving to make sure we’re all on the same page.” This was an important time for himself and the rest of the administration to discuss Interim matters with all who would be running one.
Planning with the District
Mr. Knudson mentioned that he rarely met with the District over Interim-related matters. One meeting that stood out in particular, which took place earlier in the school year, was to introduce “tighter regulations to ensure student safety.” Anyone supervising an Interim that was not already an Oceana staff member would need volunteer clearance as well as testing for tuberculosis, an airborne lung disease, and a clear background check, including finger prints. As Mr. Knudson put it, “These regulations are to make sure we didn’t have any known felons or criminals interacting with the students or transmit deadly diseases to our students.” Specifically with overnight Interims, such as the Pie Ranch Interim, adult volunteers needed Board clearance, and there was the need to have both a male and a female chaperone that are over 18 for the student trip.
Additionally, when it comes to approving old and new Interim courses, those that have already been taught generally do not need Board approval. However, any new Interim courses do need approval from the Board. Regardless of whether an Interim has been recycled or not, Mr. Knudson did note that all Interim courses that will be taught this year are still sent to the Board to keep them aware of what Oceana plans to do. A particular obstacle that Mr. Knudson pointed out was that any overnight Interims would need Board approval regardless of whether they had been done in the past or not.
From interviewing Mr. Knudson on Administrative planning and Interim, it is clear that there are plenty of hoops to jump through, with the main focus being to ensure the safety and well-being of all students. A lot of planning has been involved and it will all come to fruition right before Spring Break for Oceana’s Interim week.