Two high schools offering a pilot program in cybersecurity are growing their computer science programs by making them responsive to needs of students and the community.
In El Dorado, Arkansas, the high school is one of two public high schools in Arkansas to implement a cybersecurity component through a pilot program. Melissa Virden, an El Dorado teacher, says that she and teachers at Crittendon County’s West Memphis High School are working out the framework for a statewide program.
“We’re going to grow the computer science program from here,” she said. “You have your basic introduction to computer science, then you have [cyber] literacy and then cyberscience and cybersociety.”
Arkansas has required that public high schools and public charter high schools offer at leas one computer science course since the 2015-2016 school year. An approved course for the upcoming school year is “Computer Science with Information Security Emphasis,” among others.
Virden will teach computer business applications and computer science principles as well as cybersecurity.
“For the community, you’re going to have business leaders looking to hire from our local pool of people, and it could possibly bring people back to El Dorado and grow the community,” Virden said. “If we can get them started here, get them educated here, then they’ll stay here instead of moving off.”