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West Side San Antonio Gets UTSA Boost

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In the next few years, the West Side of San Antonio near downtown is going to get a lot more upgrades thanks to the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The San Antonio City Council unanimously approved the sale of two city-owned lots located at 506 Dolorosa and 702 Dolorosa which will support UTSA’s School of Data Science, National Security Collaboration Center, as well as the construction of faculty and student housing.

“This is a catalytic investment which will spur economic growth, and help to erase the false boundary highways like I-10 can create,” Councilman Roberto Treviño said. “It will connect the campus and many West Side neighborhoods, such as Prospect Hill, to our urban core where the efforts of our students and professionals can be leveraged with new and emerging partnerships with the private sector.

In September, UTSA received a $70 million commitment from the University of Texas System Board of Regents for construction of two new facilities at its Downtown Campus for a National Security Collaboration Center and a proposed School of Data Science.

According to a study conducted by Frost & Sullivan for the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, two-thirds of global cybersecurity employers said they did not have enough employees to address current threats. By 2022, it is estimated there will be a demand for an additional 1.8 million information security and technology professionals in the United States to keep critical information and intellectual property safe.

The National Security Collaboration Center will comprise 80,000-square-feet of innovation space, laboratories and research facilities and will serve as a hub for government, university and industry partners in the cybersecurity field. It will focus on forensics, visualization and analytics, network security, cyber training/workforce development, big data analytics and privacy, post-quantum cryptography, cyber physical systems and embedded security, security of the cloud, attack and threat modeling and mitigation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, platform and software integrity, and hardware integrity.

UTSA has already established federal partnership agreements with the National Security Agency, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, the U.S. Secret Service, 24th Air Forces Cyber and 25th Air Force. To further strengthen the ecosystem, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories have all executed partnership agreements with UTSA to work within the NSCC.

The proposed School of Data Science will include UTSA’s existing departments of Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Statistics & Data Sciences, Information Systems and Cyber Security, and the UTSA Open Cloud Institute. These departments will be co-located in the new facility.

UTSA will continue to offer bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs to expand the pipeline of highly trained professionals who protect government and business networks. Enrollment in these programs is expected to grow significantly after the new building is opened.

The UTSA Downtown Campus is also home to the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, the UTSA College of Public Policy, and several programs in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development.


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Diversity and Inclusion at Alamo Colleges

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By: Jose Macias Jr., D2, ACCD,

When people say things like the “system is broken” or “everything is fixed” – what they are really saying is that they have little faith or trust in the system. Instances of corruption, oppression, and a lack of accountability over the decades, have done little to restore confidence in government. Government seems to benefit those “who have” verse those “who have not.”

I have been addressing this issue for over ten years as an elected official. I won my first election in 2010 due to the climate of distrust in Judson ISD over a bond package that was mismanaged. A stadium renovation project that voters approved for 4 million dollars ballooned to over 10 million dollars. The construction company said that operational cost had increased since the bid as justification for the increase. It is something I never believed.

Anger in the community was off the charts, and as I began my work in trying to understand the process, I began to understand how the “system” was built. I also understood how linked bond and construction projects were directly tied to the classroom and to student success. Poor facilities meant that our students were not getting the very best environment to learn, and taxpayers were not getting what they paid for. As a school board member, I had to be diligent about understanding our construction strategies just as much as I had to be about our curriculum, teacher retention, and support programs.

In my role serving District 2, I can apply that experience to helping Alamo Colleges grow even stronger. Since it is all about student success, it is imperative we build an efficient system. During my first 100 days in office, I met with many minority business owners in D2 and asked them about their experiences in doing work for Alamo Colleges. Many of the responses were not kind. There was an overwhelming sentiment that we were not being inclusive of small minority businesses.

I recognized immediately the significance of this disconnect, and I committed then to help my district. I reached out to the Alamo Black Chamber of Commerce, The Hispanic Contracting Coalition, and the Fair Contracting Coalition (FCC) and began significant dialogue about creating inroads to greater inclusion of small minority businesses at Alamo Colleges.

Many hours and countless conversations have taken place across District 2 in preparing to take next steps to increase diversity and inclusion practices at Alamo Colleges. It is critical that our business partners reflect our community, and just as important that our tax dollars benefit businesses operating in our community as well.

Our data does reflect a strong record of utilizing minority businesses at Alamo Colleges, but our current course has not bridged the disconnect felt by a large group of minority business owners. With some modifications in our strategies and policies, we can bridge that disconnect.

The issue of diversity and inclusion is something that I know is important to my constituency, and if it is important to those I represent, then it is important to me. After all, the core of representative governance strongly implies that you must “Represent” and “Fight” for the community you serve. That is what I call “Truth.”

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Sam Houston H.S. Has A New Principal

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Sam Houston High School in the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) has a new principal. Ms. Sharene Dixon has been named the new campus leader starting this 2020-2021 school year. Students, parents, teachers, community and stakeholders will have an opportunity to meet their new leader and participate in a virtual celebration this evening via Zoom. The Meeting ID: 964 2198 1219 Password: SHHS.

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School Re-opening Update

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SAN ANTONIO, TX (July 15, 2020) – Following today’s announcement from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that local public health officials that orderTexas schools closed for in-person instruction this fall will not risk state education funding, Metro Health with the support of the COVID-19 CommunityResponse Coalition will convene a task force to make local recommendations the public health authority for Bexar County.

“We’ve heard from many parents, teachers and administrators with concerns about starting the school year with in-person instruction while cases ofCOVID-19 are surging in Texas,” said Assistant City Manager and InterimMetro Health Director Dr. Colleen Bridger. “This task force will work together to help us make an informed decision about the best way to proceed with the health and safety of our children and all school staff as our highest priority.”

School districts typically fall under the authority of the State of Texas, not the City of San Antonio or Bexar County. However, the TEA has effectively given the authority to local communities to decide whether schools will open with in-person learning, rather than just remote learning.

The task force will include teachers, parents, students, teachers’ unions, school districts, universities, pediatricians and public health professionals. The task force will meet this week and will make recommendations about the safe reopening of schools in Bexar County. Updates will be shared at covid19.sanantonio.gov<http://covid19.sanantonio.gov/>.
FOUR WAYS TO SIGN UP FOR COVID-19 ALERTS
  1.  Download the Ready South Texas app, available in the iTunes<https://apps.apple.com/us/app/ready-south-texas/id1090438177> andGooglePlay<https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.quickseries.BexarTX&hl=en_US> stores  

2.  Text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates  

3.  Follow @COSAGOV on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram  

4.  Bookmark covid19.sanantonio.gov

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