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CAST Tech Unveils Innovative Design Plans

NEWS RELEASE 

CAST Tech Unveils Innovative Design Plans for

City’s First High-Tech High School 

Note: Access digital press pack with renderings and 3D video at http://bit.ly/2l8ObKm

(SAN ANTONIO) –CAST Tech, San Antonio’s first high-tech high school, unveiled design plans Tuesday for an innovative environment designed to encourage a radically different high school experience. School officials also announced $150,000 in donations from AT&T and Frost Bank to help build the school, a first-of-its-kind model that will work hand-in-hand with the local tech industry to train students in coding, gaming, cyber security, business entrepreneurship and more.

An in-district charter of the San Antonio Independent School District, CAST Tech will be housed in two former vocational buildings located on the downtown campus of Fox Tech High School.

“Once renovated, this space will be transformed into a collaborative learning environment where students will rotate among different settings based on the task at hand. We wanted to make the school inviting and comfortable because we envision students working on projects, driven by their own interests, excitement and passion,” said Kate Rogers, Executive Vice President of the Holdsworth Center. Rogers spearheaded the creation of CAST Tech on behalf of H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt.

Some environments will be set up for teacher instruction, others for group collaboration and independent study. Since the curriculum will be project-driven, all students will have a laptop or tablet with 24/7 access to online content and furniture will be equipped with power for devices. Soft seating will create spaces for students to cross the traditional boundaries of classes and grade levels as they work together.

Interior spaces will feature dynamic glass that darkens in response to the intensity of the sun, embedded interactive screens and advanced lighting controls. Exposed infrastructure will make every component a learning opportunity. Servers will be on display behind glass walls and colored cabling will be visible through the open ceiling grid. The school will also employ the Mouse Squad, a student-led IT support and device repair service that will offer hands-on opportunities to learn and serve fellow classmates.

Robust mentoring and work-based learning programs will offer students direct access to industry leaders and practitioners. At the heart of it all, the Learning Amphitheater will serve as a dynamic

gathering and presentation space where students can hear coffee talks from industry partners such as H-E-B, USAA, Rackspace, Geekdom, Tech Bloc, AT&T, Frost Bank, University Hospital System, SA Works and Jungle Disk.

“When parents and students see what this school is going to look like, I think they are going to be blown away and excited about the possibilities,” said Kelly Flieger, CAST Tech’s principal. “It’s going to look more like a tech startup than a high school.”

CAST Tech is the first in a network of industry-led, career-themed high schools known collectively as CAST (Centers for Applied Science and Technology), which H-E-B plans to establish across San Antonio in partnership with other industry partners and local school districts. CAST Tech was made possible by a lead gift from Charles Butt of $2.6 million and an additional $1 million from H-E-B. Recently, Graham Weston’s 80/20 Foundation put up a $600,000 challenge grant to spur contributions from the tech and business sector.

In response to that challenge, school leaders announced Tuesday that Frost Bank would donate $100,000 and AT&T would give $50,000 to support the school.

“Charles Butt has been a visionary in Texas education and both he and H-E-B have been incredibly generous. We are happy to see other industry leaders raising their hands to invest in this incredible school, which will be a national model for others to follow,” said Pedro Martinez, San Antonio ISD superintendent.

CAST Tech is open to students across Bexar County and applications are currently being accepted through March 10 for the first class of 150 students who will begin classes this fall. CAST Tech will strive to admit a diverse class of students from various academic backgrounds, income levels and geography. There will be no academic requirements for entry and students will be chosen by lottery. Students interested in receiving a hands-on learning experience with an emphasis on entrepreneurship and technology focused curriculum are encouraged to apply.

College coursework is embedded in the program, and students can graduate with a minimum of 30 hours of college credit, industry-recognized certifications and portfolios that feature rigorous, multi-disciplinary projects and other examples of their work. CAST Tech students will have the opportunity to learn from industry professionals and gain real-world experience through job shadowing, mentorships, internships and job interviews upon graduation.

Applications are available online at: CASTschools.com. Parents and students may also attend an information session to learn more about the innovative new school.

Information session dates:

- Wednesday, Feb. 22

- Monday, Feb. 27

All sessions begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at the Fox Tech campus, located at 637 N. Main Avenue.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @CASTTechSchool.