Richmond, Columbia schools lead the way in cyber security education statewide

Local superintendents talk cyber security in statewide curriculum.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – State and local leaders began early talks to implement a cyber security education in K-12 schools across the Peach State.

Cell phones are something that many people did not have until they were adults.  Now, the expensive and sometimes hard to use devices are placed in the hands of children.  And now lawmakers want to make sure the tech skills they learn using those devices and other ones get them good paying jobs in the future.

Georgia State Senator Bruce Thompson, who represents the Cobb County area, chaired the Senate Cyber Security Education Study Committee Meeting at Augusta University.  He told NewsChannel 6 young people are indeed on the cusp of cyber security.

“You can take young people and introduce them to the technology that they’re already playing with.  They’re already dealing with apps and be able to in a short period of time and make them employable,” Sen. Thompson said.  Senators Harold Jones, of Augusta, and Lee Anderson, of Grovetown, sat alongside Sen. Thompson on the committee.

Kids can text, Snap Chat, download apps and some can even code. It’s part of what students in the CSRA are already doing not just at home, but at school.

Richmond County School System Superintendent Angela Pringle affirmed that work is being done.

“To engage in learning beyond the school day, every child should go home with that access; Internet access, those laptops, those computer challenges must be addressed,” she said.

Pringle joined Columbia County Schools Superintendent Sandra Carraway in giving testimony at the meeting.  The two districts joined forces to launch a cyber security curriculum.  And both leaders said they have found success.

Pringle said, “Right now working on Fort Gordon doing some of the work.  The partnerships in the community, the experiential components of the pathway have been important and we’re proud of it.  We have robotics teams and cyber patriot teams where students compete against one another.”

Carraway added, “I think the introduction of the Cyber Patriots team and cyber curriculum.  Those two things are the biggest improvements.”

Carraway said during the meeting that Grovetown High School is one of the district’s strongest schools due to a math and science grant.  It is community partnerships, such as connections to the Chamber of Commerce that helps drive students into new century learning.  But state leaders can help expand cyber security learning too by finding creative ways to get people to teach related subjects.

“Unfortunately, that national talk isn’t always supportive of what teachers do.  With their support, it encourages people to come into our profession and to be proud of that,” Carraway said.

Sen. Thompson added, “Enlightening to me to know that the collaboration with not only Ft. Gordon, but the Chamber’s involvement and so on, it’s nice to see that various sectors are coming together or working together.”

The Senate committee plans to hold its next meeting at Kennesaw State University and then a third meeting after that.  All of the information will be wrapped up December first.  If all goes well, it can hit the Senate Floor at the beginning of the year.

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