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The Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) is a network of tuition-free, industry-led, career-themed high schools in San Antonio. CAST’s innovative school model allows students to learn by doing and gain real world experience through internship, job shadowing and mentorship opportunities, and is among the first of its kind in the state of Texas.
Each CAST school focuses on a set of high-demand, high-wage industries. Students choose a school based on career interest, setting personal goals and mastering learning concepts at their own pace. Students tackle real-world projects designed by local employers and work in teams alongside industry mentors.
CAST students graduate from high school with a diploma and up to two years of college credits, plus the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certificates and an associate’s degree in addition to work experience. The tuition-free schools offer a combination of blended learning, project-based learning, and work-based learning, freeing teachers to act as coaches and mentors, with class time structured around research, labs, and offsite experiences in the workplace.
The schools are overseen by the CAST Network, a nonprofit organization, and operate in partnership with local public school districts, higher education institutions and industry partners.
The schools are designed to be largely self-sufficient over time, but CAST relies on industry partners, foundations and other public funding sources to support the startup years.
CAST Tech is designed as a professional development school in partnership with the University of Texas at San Antonio. Master teachers act as mentors and teacher leaders in a teacher residency model to build a strong pipeline into career and technical education, STEM and computer science.
Similarly, CAST STEM is partnering with Texas A&M University-San Antonio to focus on the preparation of STEM teachers, with teachers embedded at the CAST STEM campus.
The Alamo Colleges are also crucial partners, with San Antonio College providing dual credit coursework and partnerships with CAST Tech, and Palo Alto College offering a similar partnership with CAST STEM.