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CIA's School District Becomes CyberPatriot Center of Excellence

A school district in Virginia has become the fourth educational entity to join a special program promoting cyber education among young people. Fairfax County Public Schools has been designated a "CyberPatriot Center of Excellence" by the Air Force Association. The affinity between Fairfax County and the program should be little surprise. The county is home to the headquarters of multiple agencies in the security business, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Counterterrorism Center.

The district joins Los Angeles Unified School District, Spokane Public Schools, and Oklahoma's Rose State College in the program. The City of San Antonio is also a participant.

The designation is a way to recognize organizations that emphasize cybersecurity, and particularly an annual competition in which teams of students fix network vulnerabilities, keep critical services running and defend a virtual network against attack. Fairfax has promoted the competition through Web site coverage, social media pages and community newspapers. The district has also developed a network of mentors and business sponsors, and this summer it is hosting a cybersecurity summer camp to help students prepare to compete in the current contest, CyberPatriot VII.

"Fairfax County Public Schools have engaged many individuals in their community, and their unyielding support has not gone unnoticed as they have spurred great interest in their communities on tackling the challenges ahead in cyber," said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot commissioner. "Both Fairfax County Public Schools and the Air Force Association understand the answer to the challenges our nation faces in cyberspace lies in people — training today's youth to be the next generation of cyber experts."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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