SPC's P-Tech Degree Program

November 15, 2018

Public Information Officer


In 14 days (Nov. 29) students can apply to earn the St. Philip's College Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist degree in San Antonio's historic first Pathways in Technology Early College High School, known as P-TECH at Sam Houston High School.

St. Philip's College is the college education partner with industry and San Antonio Independent School District in the opportunity that connects SAISD students at the Cyber P-TECH at Sam Houston High School with degreed education, National Security Agency credentials and practical industry experience that leads to employment, responsibility and status within San Antonio which is the hub of the Western Hemisphere's second largest cybersecurity sector. 

To give parents and students a look into the significance of the opportunity during the present season when 2019 education, recruitment and intake decisions are made, P-TECH students at SPC are joining a corporate family that includes exceptional colleagues in the wildly successful St. Philip's College business unit with a US News & World Report National Bronze Medal Ranking. That St. Philip's College business unit is the St. Philip’s College Early College High School with San Antonio Independent School District, and its first 17 cybersecurity students graduated with degrees and alumni status in May of 2018. 

That early college high school is an emerging business unit within-a-mature-global-business unit at the 120-year-old college that also offers online and in-the-classroom cybersecurity degrees. Students at Sam Houston now have the choice of applying to enter either pathway, and both are connected with a bevy of opportunities in a multitrillion dollar global industry.

Edith Orozco is not only the chair of the college's Business Information Solutions program that includes all cybersecurity business units at the college, she personally taught the first college’s early college high school cybersecurity graduating class and is building the knowledge and experience of 30 students in the next graduating class that is the class of 2020.

"P-Tech for San Antonio is a great opportunity for the students in a growing and high demand field, with opportunities for professional development including four-year continuation, graduate school and alumni support," said Orozco.

P-Tech students will want to experience life in the nation’s second-largest cybersecurity sector from the perspective of 2018 college and SPC ECHS with SAISD alumnus Mark Pantoja. By accepting admission to a summer academy at one of the three oldest engineering schools in America, the Davis Middle School alumnus went far from San Antonio to attend the Engineering Summer Academy at Penn in Computer Science on the campus of The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 2017. And Pantoja was the valedictorian of the first class to graduate from St. Philip’s College Early College High School with San Antonio Independent School District, and according to an SAISD web page, "Mark will already have his associate’s degree before heading off to Texas A&M in the fall to pursue a degree in computer engineering." 

Similar success will be owned by the college's P-Tech alumni.

The P-Tech program at Sam Houston High School launches as a school within a school model and begins accepting applications Nov. 26 from incoming 9th grade students throughout Bexar County for the 2019-2020 school year. It will ultimately become a full grade 9-12 grade high school, with a new grade being phased in each year, just as the wildly successful St. Philip’s College Early College High School with San Antonio Independent School District did when it started.

In the P-TECH model, schools partner with Texas institutions of higher education and regional businesses and industries, giving students post-secondary education and workforce training opportunities. Cyber P-TECH at Sam Houston will partner with St. Philip’s College, within the Alamo Colleges District, which has been designated for many years as a nationally-noted National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

"San Antonio is one of the largest cybersecurity hubs in the U.S. — second only to our nation’s capital. Cyber P-TECH is another example of how focused San Antonio ISD is on securing our economic future and preparing our students to take up those critical leadership positions,” said St. Philip’s College President Dr. Adena Williams Loston. "It will be our pleasure to welcome additional high school students to the cybersecurity education and leadership family," said Loston.

ABOUT THE P-TECH PROGRAMThrough St. Philip’s College, Cyber P-TECH students will have the opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist degree. The degree will prepare students to design, implement and secure computer networks. Students with this degree will be able to install security software, monitor networks for security breaches, respond to cyber-attacks and gather data and evidence to be used in prosecuting cybercrime. As early as students’ second year in the program, they will be able to earn an Information Technology industry certification. As high school juniors, they will have the opportunity to earn CompTIA Linux and CompTIA Security certifications. By the fall of their senior year, they will be able to earn an Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist Level 1 certificate. As early as the spring of their senior year, students can earn associate degrees specifically tied to the cybersecurity industry. Students also will have the opportunity to learn from industry partners and gain real-world experience through mentorships, job shadowing, internships, professional skills development and field experiences. Students who complete the program will have priority in interviewing with these employers.

The anchor industry partner is Accenture Federal Services, which has more than 30 years of cybersecurity experience serving clients who are at the heart of the nation’s priorities in defense, intelligence, public safety, health and civilian issues – including every cabinet-level department within the federal government. Additional industry partners are expected to sign on in the coming weeks and months. The program will be led by Ashlyn Barrientes, P-TECH coordinator at Sam Houston High School. Cyber P-TECH will be open to students across Bexar County through a lottery system. The application period for the first cohort of 9th grade students will begin Nov. 26, and open house dates will be announced this fall. For more information, visit www.saisd.net/cyberptech.