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SAISD to launch Cyber P-TECH program

News Release 

SAISD to launch first P-TECH program in city

High school focused on cybersecurity to open August 2019


Nov. 12, 2018 – San Antonio ISD today announced it will debut the first Pathways in Technology Early College High School, known as P-TECH, in San Antonio. Cyber P-TECH at Sam Houston High School will have a focus on preparing students with the skills, credentials and industry-specific associate degrees necessary for high-wage, high-demand careers in cybersecurity.

The Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 22 in 2017, paving the way for school districts to work with the Texas Education Agency to launch P-TECH programs. Under the model, within four to six years, students will be able to earn a high school diploma, an associate degree, a two-year post-secondary certificate or industry certification, and complete work-based training through internships, apprenticeships or other job-training programs.

The program at Sam Houston High School, which will launch as a school within a school model, will begin accepting applications Nov. 26 from incoming 9th grade students throughout Bexar County for the 2019-2020 school year. It will ultimately become a full 9-12th grade high school, with a new grade being phased in each year.

“It is an exciting time to be a student ready to enter high school, especially when there are forward-thinking opportunities available,” said Superintendent Pedro Martinez. “P-TECH is the next generation of early college programs. In addition to students earning certificates and associate degrees, we are connecting students with employers. This is a non-traditional approach to instruction that directly prepares students to impact workforce needs, and I appreciate the partners that are joining this effort.”

In the P-TECH model, schools partner with Texas institutions of higher education and regional businesses and industries, giving students post-secondary education and workforce training opportunities.

Cyber P-TECH at Sam Houston will partner with St. Philip’s College, within the Alamo Colleges District, pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. St. Philip’s 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.

"San Antonio is one of the largest cybersecurity hubs in the U.S. – second only to our nation’s capital. Cyber P-TECH is another example of how focused San Antonio ISD is on securing our economic future and preparing our students to take up those critical leadership positions,” said St. Philip’s College President Dr. Adena Williams Loston.

Through St. Philip’s, Cyber P-TECH students will have the opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist degree. The degree will prepare students to design, implement and secure computer networks. Students with this degree will be able to install security software, monitor networks for security breaches, respond to cyber-attacks and gather data and evidence to be used in prosecuting cybercrime. 

As early as students’ second year in the program, they will be able to earn an Information Technology industry certification. As high school juniors, they will have the opportunity to earn CompTIA Linux and CompTIA Security certifications. By the fall of their senior year, they will be able to earn an Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist Level 1 certificate. As early as the spring of their senior year, students can earn associate degrees specifically tied to the cybersecurity industry.

Students also will have the opportunity to learn from industry partners and gain real-world experience through mentorships, job shadowing, internships, professional skills development and field experiences. Students who complete the program will have priority in interviewing with participating employers.

The anchor industry partner is Accenture Federal Services, which created an apprenticeship program in San Antonio to provide under-represented groups greater access to digital-economy jobs while building a pipeline of talent to help address the widening technology skills gap. The company has more than 30 years of cybersecurity experience serving clients who are at the heart of the nation’s priorities in defense, intelligence, public safety, health and civilian issues – including every cabinet-level department within the federal government.

“As an industry partner, we want to help build tangible programs that provide students internships and apprenticeships to advance their industry-relevant skills and provide on-the-job training,” said Benjamin Peavy, Accenture Office Managing Director in San Antonio. “We know from our apprenticeship experience, working in collaboration with the community, that we can help our students become better prepared to build their cyber and high-tech careers. We encourage other San Antonio businesses to partner with Cyber P-TECH USA High School to help build a workforce of the future.”

Additional industry partners include DC Industries, MIMS Institute Fellows Inc. and Tech Skills on Wheels. Other partners are expected to sign on in the coming weeks and months.

The program will be led by Ashlyn Barrientes, P-TECH coordinator at Sam Houston High School. Cyber P-TECH will be open to students across Bexar County through a lottery system. The application period for the first cohort of 9th grade students will begin Nov. 26. The first open house for interested families will be held Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. in the Sam Houston High School cafeteria.

For more information, please visit www.saisd.net/cyberptech.