FHS and FMS Cyber Patriots competed, this month, in the State Round of the Cyber Patriot Competition. Cyber Patriot competitions put teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Through a series of online competition rounds, teams are given a set of virtual operating systems and are tasked with finding and fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities while maintaining critical services. So, while these students are competing, they are also learning highly sought after job skills.
Lt. Col. Kristy Leasman, Texas Air National Guard and FISD parent, mentors the FISD teams. She says the skills our students are learning can translate to more than just a career in Cyber Security.
“Basic and advanced cyber security detection and mitigation processes are relevant to any profession that uses computers,” she explained.
That leaves the door open for many, many jobs.
As a matter of fact, Debra Peri, the FHS CyberPatriots coach, says there are more jobs in the Cyber Security field than there are people to fill them. That is one of the reasons Peri was excited to grow the team at FHS.
“This year, we partnered with the AFJROTC program to recruit members to the CyberPatriot program and our numbers doubled,” she said.
Students compete in FISD’s computer labs, working in teams. The work is not just answering questions or learning facts, it is challenging students to understand the facts and concepts and putting them together to come up with the right solutions. They are collaborating, using critical thinking skills and engaging in their work. They are controlling their learning and problem-solving.
John Hineman, the FMS CyberPatriot coach, loves watching his teamwork. “I’m so excited to see what these kids can learn on their own! It’s inspiring to see them working together in a spirit of competition,” he said.
FISD Superintendent, Dr. Sherri Bays, says this is a perfect example of the kind of student-centered learning that FISD wants to see in every classroom, where teachers are guides, but students are in charge of their learning.
“As our Strategic Plan outlines, we are moving to a student-centered instruction model where students are given agency, a voice and choice in their learning,” Bays said.
Bays sees that FISD educators are finding innovative ways to meet the needs of all students.
“I am proud to be the superintendent of a district that continues to improve the way we teach and reach students,” she said.
Whether our teams come out in the winning spots or not (the results are not available yet), this kind of opportunity teaches skills that will help our students live prosperous lives.
Congratulations to the following CyberPatriots on making it to the State Round of the CyberPatriot Competition:
FHS: Easton Aldrich, Gage Bowling, Michael Campos, Connor Carroll, Morgan Collis, Joshua Engleton, Christa Escamilla, Alexandra Gagnon, Faith Gaudlitz, Gavin Grant, Logan Hilgenfeld, Ian Lara, Robert Parkhurst, David Rios, Makayla Roberson, Jesse Rodriguez, Joshua Sanchez, Joseph Sotelo, Ethyn Striegel, Madisyn Terrell, Lettie Woods
FMS: Nathan Gonzales, D’Markus Kind, Daniel Schaefer, Luis Guzman, Timothy McKeen, Alejendaro Guzman, Luke Merten, Braydin Wigley