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Newport has become the only high school in the Northwest that is a Palo Alto Networks Cybersecurity Academy.  The curriculum will be integrated into the school’s already established Advanced Cisco Cybersecurity course.

“Our goal as a cyber academy is to graduate students who excel at a broad range of technical and troubleshooting skills, while having a broad range of soft-skills,” said Jeff Mason, Newport’s Cisco Network program instructor.

Mason, along with co-instructor Stuart Hoffman led the way for Newport to recently earn Palo Alto Network’s Cybersecurity Academy designation.

Mason and Hoffman initially sought to integrate Palo Alto’s firewalls into Newport’s Cisco Academy’s cybersecurity curriculum to enhance the program.  After researching, the two decided it would be best to get certified despite the fact that the coursework is generally taught at the college level.

The certification is important to students, as it gives the Cisco Academy access to an extensive range of Cisco networking and security hardware, as well as curriculum and educator training resources.  Additionally, because Cisco and Palo Alto approach security from slightly different perspectives, students will be well-rounded cyber professionals with multiple perspectives.

“Becoming a Palo Alto Cyber Academy adds an even greater depth to what we can teach our students,” said Mason.  “Every one of our students sit for actual industry certification exams and our students earn industry certifications at nine times the industry standard rate.”

The Cisco Network program is part of the district’s Career and Technical Education program and is open to students attending any high school in the district.  It is also offered to students in neighboring districts.  Courses offered in the program include: Cisco Networking Academy, Advanced Cisco – CCNP, and Advanced Cisco –Cybersecurity.  Students enrolled in Cisco Academy can take up to 44 college credits over two to three years.

Mason said, “This training, the certifications, and the experience they get taking these courses opens doors in ways no other courses can.”