Information Technology Institute

Through the Information Technology Institute at Mater Dei Prep, students interested in computer and technology careers receive an in-depth education in computer programming, computer languages, networks and hardware, cybersecurity and online safety, developing computing and technology skills that have real-world applications.
 
Students enrolled in the Information Technology Institute will:
  • Understand the fundamentals of computer programming and problem solving
  • Comprehend how digital networks and security are properly implemented
  • Gain hands on experience through labs
  • Network with professionals in the technology field
  • Have the opportunity to earn college credits through the AP and SUPA associated courses
  • Gain skills that distinguish them from other students when seeking college and professional placement
Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, all Mater Dei Prep freshmen will take Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles to learn the fundamentals of computing and problem solving. Students will then be able to progress to higher-level Institute classes.

Curriculum

Year 1: All Mater Dei Prep freshman students in the Class of 2022 and upperclassmen who elect to will take AP Comp Science Principles, which offers a multidisciplinary approach to learning the underlying principles of computation.   It introduces students to the creative aspects of programming, abstractions and algorithms, along with an introduction to cybersecurity concerns, online safety and computing impacts. Students use technology to address real-world problems and build relevant solutions. The programming languages for the class are Scratch and Python. (2018-19 school year)
 
Year 2: Students who have successfully completed AP Computer Science Principles may take two full-year courses, Honors Systems & Networking and/or Honors Computer Science 2. In these two courses, students learn programming basics and develop an understanding of the features and functions of computer systems and networking components. Coursework for Honors Systems & Networking is divided up into two parts. Students first master computer hardware concepts including basic electronics, system components, operating systems and implementing malware solutions. Networking then expands knowledge of how digital data moves by examining the networking technologies, systems, tools and skills necessary to configure and troubleshoot modern networks. The course includes hands-on labs which develop technical ability in the areas of media, topologies, addressing, protocols, network implementation and wireless standards. (anticipated 2019-20 school year)

The Honors Computer Science 2 course solidifies student knowledge of programming basics including basic input and output, conditions, loops, modularization via functions, classes, objects, and graphics programming. The course introduces students to Java programming using game creation as a project platform. Students learn the basic language structure, control flow, and class and object design. This course provides a foundation for AP Computer Science A. (anticipated 2019-20 school year)
 
Year 3: Two full-year courses will be offered to students in their third year of the Institute.
Students who have successfully completed Honors Systems & Networking may take Honors CyberSecurity a Syracuse University Project Advance (SUPA) class. Coursework in this class covers implementation and monitoring of security on network and computer systems. Students will learn how to identify and protect against security threats such as hackers, eavesdropping and network attacks, as well as basic cryptography and computer forensics. Hands-on labs provide practice in the configuration and mitigation of system vulnerabilities. Students may enroll in SUPA and will earn three college credits upon successful completion of the course. (anticipated 2020-21 school year)

Students who have successfully completed Honors Computer Science may take AP Computer Science A which emphasizes both object-oriented and imperative problem solving and design using Java language. Students will explore computer science topics that include problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data (algorithms), analysis of potential solutions and the ethical and social implications of computing. This course prepares students to take the AP Computer Science A test. (anticipated 2020-21 school year)
 
Year 4: Students in the Information Technology Institute who have successfully completed the preceding three years of coursework will spend their senior year developing and presenting a Capstone Project using their acquired cyber technology skills. Students will be encouraged to design projects that provide solutions for real-world problems.

Leadership

Mrs. Mandy Galante oversees the curriculum of the Information Technology Institute. Mrs. Galante is a graduate of Georgetown University and a national pioneer among high school cybersecurity educators; curricula she designed have been the focus of numerous television news reports. She recently completed a master’s degree in cybersecurity from the University of Maryland and is an adjunct instructor for Syracuse University. She holds multiple technical and security certifications. Mrs. Galante is a prior Monmouth County Teacher of the Year and CyberPatriot Coach of the Year. She created Galantech.org, LLC to share cybersecurity curricula and teacher training with other high schools so all students can benefit from a cyber education.

Extracurricular

Mater Dei Prep will participate in the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.  CyberPatriot is a competition created by the Air Force Association in response to the lack of qualified individuals to fill thousands of critical cybersecurity jobs in finance, government and health care. CyberPatriot is designed to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to the nation's future.

During competitions, teams of high school and middle school students act as newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services. Teams compete on the state and regional level; the top teams in the nation earn all-expenses paid trips to Baltimore, Maryland for the National Finals Competition where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money.

Mater Dei Prep

Mater Dei Prep

538 Church Street, Middletown, NJ 07748
Phone 732-671-9100  Fax 732-671-9214

Mater Dei Prep admits students of any race, color, religion, and national or ethnic origin.
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