Call me a nerd, but it’s a good time when I get to write about drones and cybersecurity in the same week. Maybe I’ve just seen too many trailers for the “Snowden” movie.
Anyway, before the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department and Fire Rescue announced they’re using drones to find missing people and respond to disasters — no surveillance, they promised — I had made plans to find out more about Dwyer High School’s new cybersecurity program.
I went to Dwyer on Thursday and learned it’s the fourth school in the Palm Beach County School District to get a cybersecurity academy. It’s starting out small but has about 300 students completing the coursework to be eligible next year, should they choose to enroll. There are about 60 students in the program this year.
Dwyer was chosen for a cybersecurity academy because there’s a middle school easily feeding the program and it best serves the community, Palm Beach County School District specialist Tony Asci said.
Dwyer is well-positioned, being “literally around the corner from two major players,” Asci said, referring to Scripps Florida and the Max Planck Florida Institute. Florida Atlantic University’s Jupiter campus is also just up the street.
The school invested in 30 computers and a standalone server for the program. Students will learn how about maintaining a Wi-Fi network and server, running a network in the cloud and how to identify and stop hacking attempts. First, though, they master the basics.
Sophomore Kaine Roach said before an introductory class, he knew “absolutely nothing” about Microsoft Word. Everything’s in the computer world, and it seemed like fun to learn for later in life, he said.
Although the school offered a digital information technology class for years, it was previously a standalone course.
Dwyer choice program coordinator Salam Shuhaiber said she’s working with business partners in the community to create internships and other opportunities for students who graduate with industry certifications from Microsoft and CIW.
The cybersecurity program is only for Dwyer students for this year and the next, but Shuhaiber said they hope to expand it to a choice program for 2018-2019.