A School Unlike Any Other – How One Workplace partnered with DES, Oracle, and d.Tech High School to create a one-of-a-kind school on the Oracle Campus.

d.tech students on campus.  photo courtesy of Laura Morton, New York Times

Design Tech High School has moved campus every year since their inception, never truly settling into a forever home – until now. Oracle and their Education Foundation have worked together with d.tech since 2014, ultimately manifesting a physical home for their program right on Oracle’s campus.

D.tech is a public charter school that uses innovation, design thinking, and Next Gen Learning to fuel their reputation as one of the leading schools in the Bay Area and beyond. In addition to working alongside Oracle, d.tech partners with influential organizations such as the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (d.school), Silicon Schools Fund, and Next Generation Learning Challenges (supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). D.tech’s mission not only pushes for cross-disciplinary thinking and open collaboration, but also encourages exploration of solving for local and global challenges.

The d.tech vision was to create a space that didn’t look or feel like another school. The students wanted to drive flexibility and room for growth and change. They wanted their school experience to be like a startup or cool tech company – not that far fetched an idea. The first cohort of d.tech students will soon be graduating and ideally work in these environments around the world, so one project goal was to prepare them to work comfortably in similar settings while they were still in school.

d.tech student design charrette at One Workplace Oakland.

One Workplace has collaborated with d.tech for several years, facilitating design charrettes with students during their field trip to our Oakland office and makerspace, inviting them into our Santa Clara headquarter warehouse to test and prototype their dream classroom, and finally helping them to create the interior environment to help support the NextGEN and design thinking curriculum in their new building. When we understood the school’s vision, we were even more eager to be involved as it aligns directly with our One Workplace  mission.

 

The school campus was designed with plenty of flexibility in mind – especially when it came to the furniture. D.tech intentionally kept the future in mind when making furniture decisions, while also designing for the needs of now. Classrooms have stackable chairs and tables on castors for maximum flexibility – to support many layouts and functions for the ever-changing needs of students and teachers. The campus also includes a professional development area for teachers, café, outdoor areas and balconies, as well as intentional use of the in-between spaces outside of classrooms.

The most notable space in the new two-story building is d.tech’s Design Realization Garage for building, making, prototyping, and creating. This makerspace inhabits major square footage on both floors, connected by a large elevator, and is a nod to both the garage startup of many silicon valley companies and to the industrial spaces d.tech has inhabited in previous locations. This space includes 3D printers, electronics, and a variety of hand tools for the students to use freely on projects.

Since the ribbon cutting and opening day of the campus, the school has made a huge splash in the media. It’s been referred to as an “Incubator” by Wired, a “tactic” for Oracle by NYTimes, and “state-of-the-art” by Forbes. While this is the first corporate funded public charter school built on a corporate campus, Oracle is certainly not the only corporation investing in education. While some may consider this a controversial topic, we applaud the recognition of donations, investments and efforts into the always worthy cause of education.

Students celebrate at Ribbon Cutting day for d.tech.