Public charter high school on Oracle campus to open in January

There will be a new public high school campus opening in Silicon Valley, brought to you by Silicon Valley.

In January, Oracle will open Design Tech High School on its campus in Redwood City, where 550 students will move in from a temporary campus in Burlingame. The school, which opened in 2014, will have a two-story workshop space at the new campus, called the Design Realization Garage, and the voluntary services of Oracle employees next door as mentors, according to the New York Times.

While many Silicon Valley companies and CEOs, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, has shown keen interest in K-12 education, Design Tech High School is the first public high school that will sit next to a major tech company. Zuckerberg’s philanthropic foundation financially supports Design Tech High School, according to the school’s website.

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The school is a public charter school, meaning it operates independently but remains under the umbrella of the San Mateo Union High School District. Oracle will play no role in setting Design Tech’s curriculum or faculty hires, according to Ken Montgomery, executive director of the school.

“We are not just training kids to be Oracle employees or just using Oracle products,” said Montgomery to the Times.

But considering the school is on the Oracle campus, the school will be deeply intertwined with the software giant. Oracle, which announced the new campus project in 2015 and began construction last year, owns the land and the new campus, which cost $43 million. It will also cover maintenance costs such as landscaping and provide special shuttles to transport students to school, reports the New York Times.

Design Tech, or D.Tech for short, will pay Oracle $1 in rent annually and cover electricity, janitorial services and other operating costs.

As the name suggests, the school already provides courses in coding and digital design to its students — some of which are taught by volunteer Oracle employees. In addition, Oracle’s education foundation offers Design Tech students two-week courses and unpaid internships at Oracle.

In one case, Design Tech students invented a pickpocket-proof wallet, and Oracle employees sought to have the invention patented under the students’ names, according to the New York Times.

For interested parents, the enrollment process happens via lottery due to the high demand. Applicants must submit a complete application with three proofs of California residency by Feb. 28, 2018. Students who live in San Mateo or Sequoia Union High School District get priority.

The lottery for next school year will occur on March 2, 2018, according to Design Tech’s website.

Photo: An architect’s rendering of Design Tech High School, located at Oracle’s campus in Redwood City. (Courtesy Oracle)


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  • Sonja Luchini

    I wonder how many moderate/severely disabled, English language learners, foster or homeless youth will be included? None? A few brilliant autistics to appear “compliant” who don’t need 1:1 aides? Will there be any teachers with moderate/severe level II credentials to teach those disabled students? If enrollment percentages minuscule compared to nearby regular public schools, then the public funds are not being properly used and they are discriminating against these populations.