Oasis High School

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Updated May 15, 2019

Oasis High School (Oasis) is an alternative education (Alt Ed) program run by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education (SCCOE) located on the campus of Cabrillo College overlooking Monterey Bay. The 180 students mirror the county-wide demographics, with approximately 57% White or Caucasian, 33% Hispanic or Latino, 4% Asian, 1% African-American, 4% multi-race, and 1% other. According to the Santa Cruz County Economy Snapshot (CAP Report), 14% are living below the poverty line. Oasis students reported choosing the program because of health issues, falling behind in their previous school, feeling academically unchallenged in their previous school, and feeling that they did not fit in well for non-academic reasons. Typically, students are affected by one or more significant life challenges. In addition to previously mentioned issues, this could include drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, criminal activity, truancy, expulsion, poverty, lack of fluency in English, and various other traumas. Oasis serves transitional students who move between schools, districts, and programs due to fluctuating housing and employment needs.

To serve this high-needs, at-risk student population, Oasis offers a hybrid approach to learning, providing students with flexibility in scheduling so that they can focus on experiential internships, work apprenticeships, and community service. Online courses require students to complete licensed coursework and get help from their teacher during weekly appointments. In addition to their weekly appointment, students may work on their courses at the Oasis campus for as much or as little time as they choose, although teachers may encourage students who need extra help to spend more time on campus and utilize tutoring support by subject-specific teachers. All students come to the campus for state- and district-required assessments. There is also an opportunity for dual enrollment credit through Cabrillo College.

Oasis employs five full-time teachers, three part-time teachers, four instructional aides, and one office manager. Each teacher serves a roster of students in whichever courses they need and reviews, corrects, proctors, and instructs students in person or online. Aides tutor students to provide additional support. Rotating staff include special education, college and career counseling, and a socio-emotional counselor. Oasis students work with their parent or guardian, teacher, and counselor to design an educational plan. In addition to ensuring that all students have access to courses required for graduation, Alt Ed provides a variety of programs to meet student needs including counseling, special education services, reduced adult-student ratio, work-based learning, and employment counseling.

On campus, Oasis students meet with their instructor in one of five open office rooms, which includes a small kitchen/meeting space. Each room houses two to three teachers, an instructional aide, and central workspaces that students can utilize during tutoring or for working independently. Students flow between rooms through interior doors, which remain open unless a meeting is scheduled. Students report that among the key elements of Oasis that they find most valuable, along with the connection they feel with their teachers, are the school’s physical location, amenities, and feel of being on a college campus.

This profile was developed through correspondence with Kelly Schwirzke of Oasis High School.

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