Students who complete the Network Systems Pathway at IHS are on their way to being prepared to fill tech jobs, one of the most in-demand jobs in the country.

Desert Sands Unified School District CTE programs (Career and Technical Education) introduce students to careers in the fast-growing industry of computer science. Both Indio and La Quinta high schools have programs that prepare students for careers in technology by teaching them the science and the business of this ever growing industry. Students learn the basic computing skills such as coding, cybersecurity, tech development, computer fundamentals, and so much more.

This article concludes the series on the CTE programs at Desert Sands Unified School District. Not included in the series is the new Palm Desert High School Aztec Arts Academy as it was featured in this publication in May 2021. For more information on that program reach out to Questions regarding any of the programs mentioned in this summer series should be directed to each of the high schools or to Remember, we continue to seek community support and assistance. Internships, job shadowing, field trips, participation in our support teams and committees — all help make for stronger programs.


IHS Network Systems

By Mark Brenner, teacher

Welcome to an introduction of the Network Systems Pathway at Indio High School. This pathway prepares students for the vast possibilities of careers in technology.

Network Systems Ready for DSUSD StudentsStudents can become network administrators and design and implement their own networks. There has been a major surge in job openings in cybersecurity to protect against outside network hackers. We teach students how to code if they want to pursue a career as a front end, back end, or full stack programmer.

Tech jobs are one of the most in demand jobs in the country. There are over 500,000 open computing positions just waiting to be filled, but the fact is there are more openings than qualified applicants. Students who complete the Network Systems Pathway at IHS are on their way to being prepared to fill these positions.

What’s awesome about the Network Systems Pathway is that it is dual enrollment. That means that students earn college credits and high school credits at the same time. This is a three year pathway and at the end they will earn 16 college credits, which is the equivalent to a semester in college.

Here are just a few examples of how we learn in our classes. We use a simulation program to learn how to install computer hardware, like a video card to improve graphics on a PC system. We create 3D models to gain experience with hardware design and print them on our 3D printers. We also learn how to code using Python.

In the first year, you will take a year long class, year two students take two classes, one for each semester. During the final year, there are two more classes, one for each semester as well. All classes include honors credit for high school.

Students have the opportunity to take four industry recognized certifications. Normally these certifications cost $300 or more per test. Through the program they are offered at no cost. The certifications validate the technology skills learned and are required by most employers.

Our students have had great success, as they come out of the pathway. Many have obtained tech jobs on their college campuses. Two of the biggest highlights include a student who interned at Google for three summers while attending UCR and a young man who recently graduated from UC Davis and is currently working at Intel.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me at


LQHS Technology – Path to the Future

By Kevin Bibo, DSUSD director of college and career readiness, with assistance from Frank Ceja, teacher

The Information Technology Academy (ITA) at La Quinta High School has a clear goal: to be the best CTE Program in the Coachella Valley. Now more than ever, there is a need for a highly qualified technical workforce. The ITA at La Quinta High School prepares students to enter industry equipped with certifications in various disciplines.

Network Systems Ready for DSUSD Students

La Quinta High Schools students working in their classroom in May 2021.

Parents and students can expect a rigorous and fun learning environment, exploration of technology careers, inclusion of current tech news and developments, and industry accepted technology certifications. In addition, students participate in technology organizations and clubs, travel on field trips to various tech oriented destinations, participate in work-based learning opportunities with local employers, take courses provided by College of the Desert, and become members of an elite technology program in the Coachella Valley.

Leading the way for this technological program is instructor Frank Ceja, or “Mr. C” as the students call him. He is a Coachella Valley native with ties to education, business, and a college degree in telecommunications management. He brings over 20 years experience in the industry as a network manager, network administrator, IT manager, and director of technology. Coming from the industry, Mr. C is able to provide a unique and relevant perspective to instruct this academy on computer literacy, information and communications, networking essentials, and cybersecurity.

Mr. Ceja stated, “My purpose has been revealed: I am to share my love and appreciation of technology, technological education, and real-world experiences with my students. Technology changes daily and my job is to prepare them for jobs that have not been created yet.”

Graduate Matthew Callahan explained, “The ITA program has given me the opportunity to polish up my technology-related skills and develop the confidence necessary to consider pursuing a career in Information Technology. I would highly promote the program for anyone with even a slight passion for tech, as it is becoming an ever increasingly important part of our day to day lives.”

Graduate Jonathan Gomez shared, “The IT Academy at La Quinta led by Mr. Ceja gives students who are interested in technology the opportunity to learn and test for computer fundamentals, networking, and systems. For someone who has been interested in technology their whole life, this academy was perfect for me. I have met others with the same passion and have created many memories with them because of the class. I have also had the opportunity to prepare for certifications that will help me land futures jobs in the industry. You learn about the IT industry for free and have the option to earn college credit. It is perfect if you are considering a career in technology.”

Industry partner Richard G. D’Souza, chief information security officer for the Riverside County Office of Education remarked, “Frank Ceja has a group of interested and motivated students who can put their minds to address the vacuum in jobs in the information technology/information security arenas. Inquisitive minds and attention to detail that these students will bring to the workforce is a plus.

Industry partner Jeanne Thorton, account manager of education, state/local government for Tanium explained, “There is a great industry need for information technology professionals. Last year, there were over 60,000 job opportunities in California alone. Frank’s Information Technology Academy serves a critical role in engaging students early, fostering their interest in IT, and helping them grow in their after high school endeavors. In my interaction with Frank’s class, the students were very engaged, asked thoughtful questions and listened to the information shared.”

For more information on the La Quinta High School IT Career and Technical Education program, please contact Ashley Schantz, Ed.D. at 760-772-4150 or


Image Sources

  • Network Systems: DSUSD
  • The Network Systems classroom: DSUSD