About the team

Louisa County Public Schools serves more than 1,400 high school students, both in-person and virtually. Due to economic and infrastructure factors, many of Louisa’s students don’t have the exposure to the experiences and information that could inspire them to pursue high-tech careers. More than 40% of Louisa County High School students are economically disadvantaged and 35% of students do not have access to reliable internet. This program will therefore identify and offer the strategies and resources needed to grow the rate of student enrollment.

To grow student interest in technology careers, LCPS is establishing a new cybersecurity pathway for its high school students. This pathway will include at least three different hands-on cybersecurity courses. Students will also participate in work-based learning opportunities to gain in-demand, career-ready skills. By completing the cybersecurity pathway sequence, students will be able to earn at least one industry credential and satisfy the state’s career and technical education (CTE) requirements. Louisa intends for this pathway to help students gain employment in an entry-level position or attend a postsecondary institution to further their education.

With Phase 2 underway, Louisa has begun implementing its distance learning cybersecurity program, which enables students to work at their own pace and develop mastery of competencies through skill-based assignments and assessments. This pathway offers both a two-year and four-year option for students, including opportunities for work-based learning and attaining the CompTIA Security+ industry certification. Students are also receiving access to hands-on projects in the field of cybersecurity, including those offered by workforce development programs, such as the Cyber Byte Foundation (CBF). This partnership with CBF is giving students access to more than 1,000 cybersecurity companies that comprise the American Cyber League. Louisa’s program is also creating opportunities for cohorts to get together digitally and in-person to complete hands-on activities.

How to get in touch:

  • Community Engagement Manager: Brain DeMuth
  • Team Lead: Amanda Hester

Learn about Louisa:

Louisa in the news: Louisa County High School prepares for cybersecurity course after it receives $100,000 award

Keep up with the team's progress

Winter 2022 semester update

This semester, there were more than 30 students in Cybersecurity Foundations. Students remarked that “gaining skills I can use now,” “figuring out what I may want to do after high school,” and “technology certifications” were the key goals for taking the class. The students continue to exemplify a deep understanding of the material — and why they are learning what they are learning. One student remarked that they understood why even the “tedious” work was “necessary.”

As planned last semester, the team is currently transitioning to CompTIA and TestOut credentials. CompTIA exams assess students on the theoretical knowledge of cybersecurity, whereas TestOut exams assess a student’s ability to apply the theory using specific skills to solve a simulated problem. These assessments better align with the end goal of providing students with the opportunity to earn three nationally recognized certifications to make them highly employable in the field of cybersecurity upon graduation.

According to reviews on the TestOut exams, students who have earned an 85% or higher on the TestOut exams pass the CompTIA exams. Therefore, to ensure that the assessments are aligned with the competencies, students will take the TestOut exams to assess the skills portion of their learning and then be offered the CompTIA exams to address and measure the theory portion of the competencies.

Upcoming

This year’s TestOut exams were paid through a grant of $6,000. The team is securing additional funding to ensure that students who pass the TestOut exam with 85% or higher can go to Richmond, Virginia, to take the CompTIA ITF credentialing test.

Students’ next class would be Cybersecurity Operations. Students in the regular class who score an 85% or higher on the TestOut exam will have the opportunity to take the CompTIA Network+ credentialing test, a certification that is nationally recognized in the field. And students in Advanced Cybersecurity Operations who score 85% or higher on the TestOut exam will have the opportunity to take the CompTIA Security+ credentialing test.

Fall 2021 semester update

In December, Louisa County Public Schools administered a survey asking students to provide feedback on its cybersecurity course offering. One student recommended, “[There are] some aspects that could be really beneficial, such as videos of others showing what can happen if this happened, or hands-on learning that is interesting and engaging.” Another student stated, “I really hope that I can do this class again in 11th or 12th [grade]. I honestly really enjoyed this class.” Still another student added, “You have been a great teacher this semester (especially with keeping grades on time) and the only person besides my mom to have this much patience to manage our class well.” Student respondents also requested more projects, more hands-on activities, and a better study of the fundamentals, all within group learning settings.

From its surveys, Louisa determined that students enjoyed this course because they learned more about cybersecurity and were better informed. Overall, responses to the December survey indicated that students fulfilled goals they had mentioned from the previous October survey. In analyzing both sets of participants’ responses, students loved the hands-on activities. They enjoyed working in the lab, solving issues and problems with “real-life applications and scenarios.”

Students from both surveys remained “satisfied” to “very satisfied” with Louisa’s cybersecurity course, and not one student expressed dissatisfaction. Moreover, what appeared to be student concerns from the October survey were no longer concerns in the December survey. Students especially enjoyed the hands-on learning component of class.