Cybersecurity-Focused High School to Open in Texas in Fall 2019

By Lauraine Genota — November 14, 2018 2 min read
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A San Antonio, Texas, high school will operate a “school within a school” program focused on cybersecurity education.

Cyber P-TECH (or Pathways in Technology Early College High School) will be opening in the Fall of 2019 at Sam Houston High School, located in the 50,000-student San Antonio Independent School District, according to a news release.

P-TECH is a four- to six-year program where students can earn a high school diploma, an industry-recognized associate degree, and gain relevant work experience in a specific field. The education model was co-developed by information technology company IBM working together with educators, policymakers and elected officials. The model brings together a school district, a community college, and a local industry.

Cyber P-TECH at Sam Houston will be a 9th through 12th grade high school, with 150 freshmen starting in the 2019-2020 school year, and a new grade being phased in each year.

The school will focus on preparing students with the skills and credentials necessary for careers in cybersecurity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for cybersecurity professionals will increase 28 percent between 2016 and 2026.

The school will partner with St. Philip’s College, which is within four miles of Sam Houston. The college has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, according to the news release.

Through the partnership, students will be able to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist degree. With the degree, students will be able to install security software, respond to cyber-attacks and monitor for security breaches, among other things.

Cyber P-TECH at Sam Houston will also partner with companies including Accenture Federal Services, DC Industries, MIMS Institute Fellows Inc., and Tech Skills on Wheels ,to allow students to gain experience through mentorships, internships, job shadowing and more.

Students will also earn various onformation technology certifications, such as CompTIA Linux and CompTIA Security certification and an Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist Level 1 certificate.

The P-TECH model has been adapted at other schools nationwide. The first one launched in 2012 in Brooklyn, N.Y. IBM has helped open about 110 P-TECH schools in the U.S. and in other countries. There are P-TECH schools in at least 11 states including California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Texas.

IBM Foundation’s president Jennifer Ryan Crozier said in an interview with Education Week opinion writer Rick Hess that the revision and reauthorization of the Perkins Career and Technical Education bill last July enabled the implementation of P-TECH schools across the country.

The federal law allows states to set their own goals for career and technical education programs without the education secretary’s approval and requires them to make progress toward those goals.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.