Apollo High School is one of only 30 schools in the nation – and the only school in Kentucky – selected to send a team to the CSforALL workshop in Alexandria, Va., Feb. 26-28.
Schools were invited based on their work in establishing quality computer science opportunities for students and strong ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) programs – both areas in which AHS has excelled.
The AHS CS vision/implementation team will include Principal Rick Lasley, Air Force JROTC instructor Chief Franklin Smith, engineering and computer science teacher Jonathan Leohr, mathematics and computer science teacher Michelle Pagan, and DCPS director of secondary education Charles Broughton. The team will learn how to take Apollo’s existing computer science and coding pathways to higher levels, while adding cybersecurity classes as part of their AFJROTC program, toward a goal of developing Advanced Placement computer science career pathways and cybersecurity pathways at Apollo High School.
Apollo High School was specifically selected to assist in creating a model for the Department of Defense to eventually fund schools in integrating computer science and cybersecurity pathways. The AHS team will receive intensive and specialized training in implementing these courses, which will then be available for student enrollment in March.
CSforALL is collaborating with the U.S. Air Force JROTC headquarters to launch the JROTC-CS Demonstration Project. According to CSforALL project director Tina Boyle Whyte, the project will “design and test implementation models for the long-term scale-up of computer science and cybersecurity education programs within the JROTC program and the schools that host JROTC programs.”
“We are very excited and honored to be a part of this opportunity,” Lasley said. “We made a decision two years ago to invest in more coding/programming opportunities for Apollo students based on the increasing demands of work available in this field. To be able to add cybersecurity to this list allows our students a more vast array of offerings to prepare them for future roles.”
Leohr said the benefits of this opportunity are far-reaching for AHS students.
“Like the universe, the world of CS is constantly expanding,” Leohr said. “We are thrilled, through our partnership with CSforALL, to keep Apollo High School on the cutting edge of technology and CS education by reinvigorating our CyberPatriots teams. We are excited about the many partnerships we created this weekend with Intel, Google, Lockheed Martin, NICE and many others. This is truly another exciting chapter for Apollo High School.”
Pagan said she is excited about returning to the classroom and being part of a team that challenges students to reach their highest levels of potential.
Smith said this opportunity takes Apollo’s AFJROTC programs to even higher levels of relevance for cadets.
“CSforALL and the Air Force JROTC partnership will enhance opportunities for Apollo students by providing career pathways to cybersecurity for both the civilian and military communities,” he said. “In the near future, the Air Force will provide a scholarship opportunity for our cadets who meet the requirements of being a member of the CyberPatriot Team, completing the AP Computer Science Principles and a successful score on the AP exam. As one of just 30 schools in the nation to be selected for this program, we are honored, and look forward to partnering with local, state and national agencies to equip our classrooms with the 21st-century technology required to train these future leaders in the CS/Cybersecurity field.”
Broughton provided an overview from the district level as he said, “As a district, we are excited about the partnership between CSforALL and Apollo High School. We believe that the opportunity to increase AHS students’ exposure to computer science will be of great benefit and may serve to introduce new career pathways to many students. Our district is supportive of this endeavor and we are looking forward to a successful partnership.”