- A partnership between the University of Texas at San Antonio, the San Antonio Independent School District and several companies based in the state will produce a new high school in the city this fall focused on coding, cybersecurity and business skills, Campus Technology reports.
- The school is part of the Centers for Applied Sciences and Technology (CAST) network, and students will be able to earn college credits while focusing on skills development, with the private companies involved helping to create a student population prepared to fill workforce gaps in the tech sector.
- Private partners include H-E-B, a San Antonio supermarket chain, as well as Tech Bloc, an organization encouraging San Antonio tech businesses to help develop more training for students, and the CAST network hopes to build more schools in the area soon.
One notable aspect of the network is the role private industry plays in assisting educators in preparing curriculum and school design. A representative for the H-E-B chain said that the “hi-tech community” needed to be involved for the school to be successful. There are several examples of universities sponsoring K-12 schools, but most are not designed for the express purpose of creating a pipeline of student talent into particular industries.
Private industry continuously supports STEM education and development via grant funding, and CAST stands to take those investments a step further. With CAST, the tech industry is directly involved in the creation and curriculum of the schools, as opposed to funding specific programs.
Higher education’s involvement is sensible, as colleges hope to make themselves more attractive to private industry and to students looking for pathways to employment in those industries. A recent SXSWedu panel focused on burgeoning relationships between K-12 and higher education institutions, with administrators from institutions at both levels hoping to make the journey through elementary and secondary education on through college and into the community and workplace as seamless as possible. For tech-oriented students, the CAST high schools could mark a natural start to their own pathway.