Even the most routine aspects of our daily lives are tied to the Internet and the cyber world, and with that comes constant threat of attack. It might be a national security issue or virus penetrating a home computer, and in an area as high-tech oriented as north Alabama, Huntsville City Schools believes it is important to prepare students for this most unique and challenging battle. Our cybersecurity program begins as an introductory course in the seventh grade and students may dive into a four-year continuum from ninth through 12 grades. The curriculum is developed through our partnership with CyberHuntsville and the U.S. Army Cyber Command, with an active advisory board to assure students have first-class training. Many students choose to expand their learning by participating in CyberPatriot, a competition sponsored by the Air Force Association. Students are put in the position of IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company and must find cybersecurity vulnerabilities while maintaining critical services. While Huntsville City Schools' goal is to prepare students to be college- and career-ready, the cybersecurity program offers an even greater head-start. A number of participants have assumed part-time after-school jobs with local high-tech companies, doing hands-on work in cybersecurity.
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