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As many as 46% of foster teens do not have a high school diploma and close to 50% will experience homelessness after their 18th birthdays. Some foster children have lived in 10 or more homes and attended as many as 15 different schools. Each school change creates another setback for a child who is rarely equipped to do work at their grade level. The lack of stability and consistency has a negative impact for years to come.

Orangewood Children’s Foundation has responded to this critical need in Orange County by funding and opening a high-performing, college-preparatory public charter high school called Samueli Academy.

Samueli Academy opened in Santa Ana and welcomed its first class of 120 freshmen in August, 2013. In August of 2014, another freshmen class joined its ranks. Each subsequent year we will add another freshmen class to Samueli Academy until the total student body is approximately 480. As the Samueli Academy campus is built out, it will eventually include residential living for up to 80 foster teens.

Samueli Academy’s mission is to provide a transformational learning environment to foster, underserved and community teens, offering consistency, stability, support, and a community in which to belong, thrive, and grow into responsible, independent adults. The outcomes from the first year of operation show the Academy is well on its way to achieving this mission.  The attendance rate in the first year was 97% – one of the highest rates of any school in Orange County. Additionally, 50% of students finished the first year with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

» Click here to visit the school’s website. 

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