In addition to Fort Meade, two Annapolis elementary schools are included in the grant.
In October, Anne Arundel County Public Schools received a grant from DoDEA that was stipulated for schools at Fort Meade and in Annapolis that have a high population of military-connected students. The purpose of the Cyber LAUNCH Grant is to promote careers in cyber science.
The Cyber “Learn and Understand (the) Nuances of Cyber (for) Hire/Higher” grant focuses on “creating a pipeline that extends opportunities through all grade levels and a culture [that] … guides students to a STEM career path,” according to the grant’s promotional materials.
Pershing Hill, Manor View and Meade Heights elementary schools, the West Meade Early Education Center, MacArthur Middle School and Meade High School will benefit from the monetary award.
DoDEA is responsible for ensuring the education of military children in public schools and has awarded several other grants to Anne Arundel County Public Schools specifically for STEM education.
The Cyber LAUNCH Grant “helps to make students aware of opportunities in cyber,” said Lise Foran, DoDEA grants project manager for AACPS. “There is a high demand for careers in this area.”
Garrison Commander Col. Tom Rickard provided the vision for the grant.
“Fort Meade is home to the U.S. Cyber Command, the National Security Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency and many special military units with extraordinary cyber skills,” he said. “Students attending the Anne Arundel schools on Fort Meade have an unmatched opportunity to benefit from the synergy created by strong cyber curricula, military partner units mentoring after school and generous donors from our Community Covenant Council.”
“This unique mixture of special military units, school proximity to regional cyber businesses and community partners exists only here at Fort Meade. The Cyber LAUNCH Grant is a tremendous opportunity for students willing to learn and hungry for employment beyond the classroom.”
The proposal for the grant was written last May by AACPS administrators with input from business and industry partners, the Fort Meade Alliance and other community members.
The Fort Meade Alliance is “a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to supporting the work and people of Fort Meade and helps the installation drive economic growth in the state,” according to its website.
The organization focuses its efforts on “education and workforce development initiatives, transportation solutions, business connections and DoD community support.”
The Cyber LAUNCH grant’s curriculum is being developed by the same AACPS, Fort Meade Alliance, and industry partnership that created the grant proposal.
The curriculum will focus on establishing cyber clubs in the elementary schools and the middle school, and creating a STEM summer camp this year. The camp will expose high school students to innovations in technology that are being developed in Maryland.
At Meade High School, the focus will be a cyber curriculum, a summer school program and the establishment of a 12th-grade internship in a cyber career field.
The goals of the grant are to ensure college and career readiness among students and promote the awareness of STEM careers, specifically the cyber sciences, so students can take advantage of 21st-century job opportunities within the state, according to promotional materials.
The grant also aims to provide students with access to cyber technologies and authentic learning experiences in the field by partnering with military intelligence agencies and businesses in STEM and cyber.
The Fort Meade Alliance has been instrumental in helping Fort Meade secure three other DoDEA grants that promote STEM education: They included the STEM@Meade Project, which awarded $1.5 million to AACPS in 2010; and the STEM College and Career Marathon Project, which awarded $2.2 million to AACPS in 2013.
AACPS and the Fort Meade Alliance also developed Project Scope several years ago. It is a website that provides high school and college students with information about the security clearance process and how to avoid the pitfalls that can prevent young people from acquiring a clearance when they apply for jobs in the STEM and cyber industries.
Foran said the cyber curriculum modules are expected to be implemented in the schools in the fall.
Compiled by staff of the Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs office. For more information about what is happening on Fort Meade, visit www.ftmeade.army.mil and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ftmeade.