Tech companies all around the world have been concerned for years about making STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) more palatable for junior high school and high school students. While there are a number of national programs and initiatives hard at work on this, Oracle is now doing something very brick-and-mortar about it.
The huge database and cloud services company revealed Oct. 27 at Oracle OpenWorld that it will build a public high school on its Redwood City bayside campus to be completed in the fall of 2017.
Design Tech High School (d.tech) will be a tuition-free charter school that incorporates technology, design thinking and problem solving skills to help students prepare for successful careers, Oracle CEO Safra Catz told conference attendees.
Will Be Constructed on San Francisco Bay Campus
The company plans to construct the 64,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a certification by the U.S. Green Building Council) school that will be used by 550 students and 30 faculty members, as well as the local community. (See photo for artist's conception.)
While the tuition will be free, students will face a highly selective acceptance process.
"Seventeen years ago, Larry Ellison told me that he'd love to have a school where students learn to think," Catz said. "Our support of d.tech reflects Larry's vision for a unique high school founded on principles we believe in: innovation, creativity, problem-solving and design-thinking. We couldn't be more excited to build this school on our campus and to see the positive impact it will undoubtedly have on the students, teachers, Oracle employees and the Bay Area community."
Started as a Local Public Charter School in 2014
d.tech first launched in August 2014 as a California public charter high school in the San Mateo Union High School District. Oracle recognized the potential of the high school's unique academic model and, through a partnership with the school, is providing the land and building the new facility.
"d.tech will be the world's first educational institution located on a high-tech campus which will give students immeasurable opportunities," said Dr. Ken Montgomery, Design Tech's executive director and founder. "We are incredibly grateful to Oracle for giving d.tech a home—a place to inspire and nurture students who will transform our community and world for the better."
Could building such an educational center become a trend in the IT world? Will other companies follow suit? This becomes a distinct possibility. Another added long-term benefit of such a school is the prospect of it becoming a "farm team" for future Oracle employees—which could very well become a reality.
For decades, IT companies have decried the lack of high numbers of highly qualified students of science and math to fill large numbers of tech jobs in the United States. Thus, recruitment of employees from countries such as Taiwan, India, China, Japan and Eastern European nations has been on the rise to fill the gaps.
Through the Oracle Education Foundation, one of Oracle's educational philanthropic arms, Oracle volunteers will continue to work closely with Design Tech High School students on projects at the intersection of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) disciplines.
Oracle Already Gives $2.5 Billion Annually to Education
Oracle's longtime commitment to education includes donating $2.5 billion annually in software, curriculum and faculty training to educational institutions through Oracle Academy. The company also donates millions in cash annually to nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations around the world through Oracle Giving.