Students at Sandalwood High will get an academic and professional leg up on cyber security and other technology careers with a just announced partnership between Duval County Public Schools, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Deutsche Bank and JEA.
The way it works is some of today’s freshman will compress four years of high school into two years. Then in their junior year they’ll take college courses in science, math and technology, with a concentration in cyber security.
They will earn an associate’s degree in science and industry certification by high school graduation.
Throughout the four years, the students also will take regular trips to JEA and Deutsche Bank, where they will shadow employees in technology fields, receive “industry mentoring” and get access to summer internships.
After high school, they will receive priority interviewing for jobs at the two companies.
So far, eight students are in the program but the goal is to have 25 at a time, said Vicki Schultz, Sandalwood’s principal.
The program is part of the Duval’s overall goal to expand early college and STEM opportunities for students, connecting them with employers while they’re learning, said Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, and it helps the district compete with private schools and others for high performing students.
“We are ensuring that our schools serve as a true springboard to successful entries into college and the workforce,” he said.