HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - In her State of the State address Tuesday evening, Gov. Kay Ivey announced a new statewide school destined for Huntsville.
"Tonight, I am announcing, the formation of the Alabama School of Cyber-Technology and Engineering, which will be based in Huntsville," she said. "This school will prepare some of our state's highest-achieving students to enter the growing fields of cyber technology and engineering. Just as Huntsville has always been on the leading edge of the rocket and aerospace industries, the Alabama School of Cyber-Technology and Engineering will ensure that Alabama students are at the forefront of today's emerging technologies."
Gov. Ivey did not go into further plans about this school.
However one of the vice presidents of the executive board spoke with us on what Cyber Huntsville is and what it will bring and do for the city of Huntsville.
"Cyber Huntsville is an initiative that Tommy Battle started. The state magnet school and Cyber Huntsville have worked together for several years to find out how they can get more local schools, and the state as whole, to bring more cyber education to our community," said Alicia Ryan, Vice President on Executive Board of Cyber Huntsville.
Ryan said this is a Senator Arthur Orr initiative and he was key in making it happen.
The timeline for the school to open will be in 2020 and the school plans to teach 10th and 11th graders. Ryan said the goal is to grow the school to have around 300 children from Alabama in the 7th - 12th grade with the ability to house 150 of those kids on site.
"It's all key to creating a mechanism where we can support schools in their cyber initiative and then feed into their colleges. We are trying to get them younger so they can understand and move through the ranks into secondary and college education," said Ryan.
Ryan said they are going to create a virtual cyber network that other schools can dial into and get the teaching as well.
She said cyber security is one of the biggest areas of requirements in their industry today and across our nation.
"But if you look at Huntsville, there is a great need just on the federal side when building missiles, rockets, airplanes or anything that requires a large system. Cyber is an issue from the design all the way to the manufacturing," said Ryan.
"The thing about this particular school is that it is for gifted children, and those interested in cyber and engineering. We aren't able to grab all those children and help them through the entire process. So the school has its own network with virtual capability to support other Alabama schools with some cyber and engineering education as well," said Ryan.
Ryan also said that dual-enrollment is a possibility.
"There are so many children in Alabama that are good at cyber and engineering and we may not know about them. They focus on Xbox an not being out and about, so they might not know about the opportunity. This is a chance for us to find these children and give them a chance."
She said really figuring out how to reach those children is an issue. We need to reach them because they're the ones who are going to solve some of our biggest problems today.
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center has a camp for this field, but this will be the first school in state dedicated to emerging cyber technologies.
Alabama already has two other statewide schools dedicated to specialties. The Alabama School of Fine Arts is in Birmingham. The Alabama School of Mathematics & Science is in Mobile. They are residential high schools.
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