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Great Bend High School, Kan., to Offer Cybersecurity Class

A new elective course this fall at Great Bend High School in Kansas, created by the nonprofit Enterprise KC, will include cybersecurity basics, skill building and a simulation at the Heartland Cyber Range.

(TNS) — The Great Bend USD 428 school board on Monday approved the addition of a new cybersecurity course this fall at Great Bend High School.

Assistant GBHS Principal Kip Wilson said the course will start small, with six students, but he hopes that number can double in a year. It will be offered to juniors and seniors.

Students will enroll in the course as an elective and they will work independently through asynchronous modules. Classroom teacher Hugo Gonzalez will receive training to help the students as they take the online course. Upon completion they can earn a Google Cybersecurity Certificate. Superintendent Khris Thexton said this is a plus because all Great Bend High School students are required to have two "post-secondary assets" to graduate. Wilson said it also satisfies a state requirement to have a course in computer science, and students have the potential to earn Google scholarships.

This course was created by Enterprise KC, a nonprofit grant-funded organization whose goal is to create a cybersecurity workforce to meet labor market needs. The Kansas Department of Commerce awarded $10 million in grants so this course is offered at no charge to students.

USD 428's technology director Ryan Axman has been vetting the software to make sure there are no issues with the district's systems. Wilson said Barton Community College has also been in discussions with Enterprise KC. There is a possibility a course will be offered at the college and that in turn could lead to the possibility of a dual credit course for GBHS students.

Enterprise KC may even offer jobs to course completers, Wilson said.

The first semester will focus on cybersecurity basics and skill building. The second semester will have a simulation component at the Heartland Cyber Range, guest speakers and potential field trips (possibly virtual trips). "The curriculum is being built as we speak," he said.

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