The San Diego County Office of Education, in partnership with multiple high schools, has developed a robust and powerful curriculum for students interested in pursuing a career in one of the most prevailing industries in the world.
Principles of the IT Academy
The development of the IT Academy is guided by the two overarching principles of flexibility and alignment to industry
Flexibility is a founding principle because of the diverse nature of our partner schools and districts. Some schools may desire to implement the IT Academy using specific restricted program funds. Other schools may want to use grant monies, CTE funds, or simply implement each course as a University of California A-G approved elective course.
In the next 6 years, the number of jobs requiring IT skills will jump by 25%.
The scope of the IT Academy is flexible as well, accommodating districts that want to implement only one or two of the available pathways. Many districts are challenged by instructor availability, so we built the IT Academy as an online class, opening up telecommuting possibilities for either the students or the instructor.
Alignment to Industry Standard Certifications
Our goal is for the IT Academy to accommodate whatever extent or method of implementation a district desires.
Our second principle, alignment to industry standard certifications, ensures that we never veer from the goal of preparing IT Academy students for a job and career in the IT industry. Therefore, we have made efforts to align as many classes as possible to respected certifications such as the CCENT from Cisco and the A+ certification from CompTIA.
We've also included practice questions and activities to prepare students for their eventual exams, and assessments in each course are cumulative, reflecting the design of the certification tests to which the course is aligned.
55% of hiring managers consider employee certification as a criterion for hiring
The four certifications students can earn across each pathway in the IT Academy are:
Intro to IT Fundamentals
Before selecting a specialized pathway, all students must successfully complete the Intro to IT Fundamentals course. This introductory course aligns to the CompTIA Strata certification and covers topics such as:
- Technology and computer hardware basics
- Writing arguments focused on technology-specific content
- Compatibility issues and common computing errors
- Software installation and functions
- Security risks and prevention
- Environmental impact of IT services
- Preventative maintenance of computers
By 2020, 50% of IT jobs will be unfilled due to lack of qualified professionals.
As they progress through the introductory course, learners are exposed to various fields in the IT industry with a goal of determining the path they would like to pursue in subsequent years. Currently, the three pathways available to learners include:
- Hardware Engineering
- Network Engineering
- Software Engineering
Common Core Integration
IT Academy curriculum is infused with well-developed literacy education based on the California Common Core Standards in both reading and writing.
Learners are exposed to a number of lessons throughout the academy geared toward strengthening their reading skills such as:
- Citing textual evidence to support analysis
- Determine central ideas or conclusions of texts
- Follow complex, multistage procedures
- Analyze the structure of relationships among concepts
- Translate technical information expressed in texts into a visual form
46% of managers consider employee certification as a criterion for promotion
Learners are also exposed to a number of lessons geared toward enhancing their writing skills such as:
- Writing informative & explanatory texts including scientific procedures and technical processes
- Publishing and distributing academic texts
- Conducting research in technical fields of study