“C. I. A.” at Rome Catholic School

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boysCyber Security Program has common thread throughout Rome Catholic School

When teaching the basics of computers at Rome Catholic School, teachers Sandra Engle and Edward Nickerson rely on three key principles:
• Confidentiality
• Integrity
• Authentication

The Cyber Security and Technology classes taught at Rome Catholic use
the principles of “C.I.A.” as the foundation for the coursework. The success of the entire technology program is due to reinforcing with students the basic fundamental elements of keeping information confidential, respecting equipment and the work of others and keeping accurate logs for tracking student work and tests.

In 2005, Rome Catholic School partnered with Rome Air Force Research
Laboratory, Syracuse University and ITT Industries to form the first high-school Cyber Security course in the nation. In the three years since its launch, the Cyber Security program has grown to now include several new facets. The formation of “Cyber Kiddies,” a program for kindergarten through sixth grade students as a way to introduce these students to computers. At higher levels, the school’s “Cyber Forensics Team,” was developed to investigate Internet agreements and student handbook violations concerning damaged computers and cyber bullying.

More recently, a Robotics program was introduced through a grant from SUNY-IT. With the use of wireless NeoAlphaSmarts, third grade students transmit or “beam” their class work directly to the teacher’s computer.

On March 18, Principal Christopher Mominey was invited to present an overview of the school’s “Cyber Initiatives” to Air Force officers, secondary educators and college presidents at a conference in Shreveport, La. Mominey and his cyber security faculty members continue to work with a consortium of colleges in Central New York to ensure that higher education and career pathways exist for students interested in these high-tech fields. According to Mominey, partnerships like these benefit all those involved. “Students have new opportunities, colleges and universities have a steady stream of interested, well-prepared students and employers have a pool of qualified job candidates,” he said.

Perhaps most importantly, he added, “Our global community is a better
place for the more responsible and ethical use of new technologies.” Much of Rome Catholic’s high school Cyber Security course is wrapped around these deeper ethical considerations, he said.

On March 26, Rome Catholic School will be presented with the 2007-2008 Catholic Schools for Tomorrow Award for Innovations in Education by Today’s Catholic Teacher Magazine at the National Catholic Education Association Conference in Indianapolis, Ind. RCS is one of only 12 Catholic schools in the country, and the only school in Upstate New York, to receive this distinction.

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