Samueli Academy

Samueli Academy
Santa Ana, CA

The Samueli Academy is a 480-student charter high school that was brought to fruition through the Orangewood Foundation. The Academy offers local foster and community youth a new choice for their high school education. Susan Samueli and Sandi Jackson felt that Orange County needed a school that would give students the kind of care, attention and education they need to succeed in life. The ladies rallied like-minded individuals and different organizations to join their efforts. Joe Lozowski, CEO of Tangram was one of those individuals who shared their ideals and was highly passionate about their cause. Lozowski has volunteered countless hours over the past ten years with the charity and when he heard that they were beginning to fundraise for The Samueli Academy School, he joined the Champions Committee as a Co-Chair to lead fundraising efforts. After the funds for the school had been raised and construction had been completed, it was only natural that Tangram would be the one to provide furniture for the new campus.

The three-story, 30,000-square-foot building features innovative learning spaces that support their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focused, project-based curriculum. Each floor of the new building features a STEM lab and four learning studios that share a collaborative learning commons. Designed as a vibrant “live and learn” urban village, the campus is intended to be an inspirational sustainable environment where learning can happen everywhere.

The school colors of yellow, orange, gray and white were selected for the finishes throughout. Steelcase manufactures an integrated collection of classroom furniture including chairs, tables, whiteboards, and instructor stations designed to support a full range of teaching and learning styles. Educators are often faced with a tough choice: promote active learning or organize a classroom to fit as many students as possible. The combination of the Steelcase Node chair and Verb table lessens this challenge. Both are designed for quick, easy transitions between room configurations making passive spaces quickly active. Additionally, Turnstone Campfire was specified for the Learning Commons to better promote collaboration amongst the students. Reminiscent of a family-style dining table, Campfire brings unique collaborative spaces and personal study havens into the classroom that are both durable and easily reconfigurable.

One of the most interesting and innovative spaces on the campus is the Virtual Enterprise Classroom. The VE program that uses work-based learning, teaches students about business through task-oriented and hands-on coursework. The program enables students to learn about careers; running their own business while developing interpersonal and organizational skills, and using technology. To best support the curriculum, the VE learning environment was also set up like an office. Collaborative tables were fitted with Divisio Side Screens to give the pods a more “office workspace” feel and mobile pedestals with cushion tops provide file storage and additional seating.

“The Samueli Academy is an incredible school changing the trajectory of many young lives and it’s really amazing to have been a part of it both personally and professionally.” says Joe Lozowski.

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