New Huntsville cyber school still setting admission standards

Future school President Matt Massey told WAAY 31 there could be minimum requirements and preferred requirements.

Posted: Jul 4, 2019 11:17 PM
Updated: Jul 8, 2019 4:02 PM

The new Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering in Huntsville is still working to finalize admission standards for its opening in August 2020. 

Future school President Matt Massey told WAAY 31 he expects the school will set minimum requirements but hopes a large group of students outperform them. 

Meshanda Fitcheard Hagood has a five-year-old about to start kindergarten. The possibility of her child eventually going to this new cyber technology and engineering school excites her, "I think it's awesome," said Fitcheard-Hagood.

She does have concerns about the admission criteria. She would like to see them include, "Somewhat based on economic, where you are financially because its an opportunity you may not have," said Fitcheard-Hagood.

Right now, there are no defined standards. Massey told WAAY 31 they could create a system similar to how employers hire someone, "When you're interviewing for any job you basically have minimum qualifications and then preferred qualifications. I think it will be a little bit of the same thing here with students," said Massey.

The preferred qualifications would help them pick the best candidates from counties and districts that have a lot of students trying to get in. A big component of deciding who will get in will be making sure those students succeed and stay at the school. Massey said on-campus housing will focus on making that happen, "It's really important to have a residential life aspect to this school where students enjoy it, they love it, parents feel good about it, there's a communication between parents and students where they feel like the kids are safe and protected and learning," said Massey.

Meshanda told WAAY 31 the new cyber technology and engineering school will impact some things she introduces her daughter to in the hopes it fosters a love of technology and encourages her to try and get in.

In the meantime, she'll keep a close eye on the school to see if she would even want her child to go, "I am eager to see the retention rate. The first 400 students I wonder what are the plans to follow for them as they matriculate. I would love to see that," said Fitcheard-Hagood.

The City of Huntsville is still finalizing the deal to buy the land in Cummings Research Park where the school will be built. Massey told WAAY 31 he anticipates the school having similar funding to the other two state-funded magnet schools in the state. The Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham got $8.3 million last year and the Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile got $7.5 million.

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