"MetWest High School in Oakland is a rebel in the world of public education that thrives on
breaking the rules - and succeeds." (San Francisco Chronicle, June 15th, 2006)

MetWest High School is a small Oakland public high school currently serving one hundred thirty students. In conjunction with their advisors, each student designs an individualized learning plan focused on their interests and passions. The core of each learning plan is an internship that will give students a deep sense of how their interests play out in the adult world, and provides an authentic environment and audience for their work. MetWest is a member of the Big Picture Schools network based in Providence, RI. For more information on Big Picture Schools, check out: www.bigpicture.org.

College-Prep through ‘Real World’ Learning: While MetWest is focused on students pursuing their passions in the workplace, it is not a vocational school. Rather than training students to follow a particular career path, the internship structure is designed to foster students’ intellectual development through first-hand experience, and to develop habits of initiative-taking in their education. MetWest students take courses at Laney College, and spend their days developing rigorous academic projects related to the work they do at their internship site, and our school-wide anti-oppression theme. We expect all of our students to continue their education after high school, and internships are an important opportunities for students to envision possible paths for their lives after MetWest.

Internship Schedule: Students spend 4 – 6 of their school-day hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at their internship sites.
Finding the Right Match: Students interested in an organization typically initiate the relationship by arranging an informational interview in which they come to your location and speak with someone about the work you do. If the informational interview goes well for both the student and their host, students follow up with a “Shadow Day” when they return to your organization and spend a day observing the work of a staff member that could serve as their mentor. Following the Shadow Day, if all is still going well, the student’s advisor arranges a meeting between student, advisor, and the potential mentor from your organization. No commitment is required of the internship site until that meeting.

Internship Length: Internship length varies according to the fit between the needs of the host site and the student’s needs. Typically, internships last between 3 and 9 months.
Benefits for the Internship Site: MetWest interns work two days per week without pay, contributing their time and their excitement about the field to the workplace. In addition, interns are held accountable for developing and completing projects that will be useful to their host site. Projects are diverse, ranging from writing multilingual brochures for clients to creating informational videos for a site. Projects can also feed directly into the mentor’s work, such as conducting background research or community outreach.
Mentor Responsibilities: Every internship site designates one person who serves as the official Mentor for the student. Mentors are responsible for outlining and assessing the daily work of the intern, as well as participating in meetings with the student’s advisor (at least once every 4-6 weeks) and attending students’ exhibitions of learning, at the end of each semester

Support for Mentors: Every student has an Advisor who serves as a support to Mentors by maintaining a flow of important information about the students’ academic, personal, and internship situations. Advisors spend Monday, Wednesday, and Friday supporting the school-based work of their 17 students, with Tuesdays and Thursdays dedicated to visiting internship sites to work with mentors and students. Advisors are available to discuss interns’ work habits and skills, help design appropriate internship-based projects, and to ensure that the relationship between intern and host site is mutually beneficial.

NOTE* For more information or to request an interview with a potential MetWest intern, please contact Learning Through Internship Coordinator, Greg Cluster, at (510) 435-6115 or email internships@metwest.org
Last Modified on March 20, 2012