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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Community Invited: Get a First Look into Fort Thomas Independent Schools “Launch” Space

Space in the 20 Grand Building in Fort Thomas will give Fort Thomas Independent Schools students a unique experience that will give them insight to a world beyond the classroom.

"Launch" is the innovative space the district has created to allow students opportunities to explore entrepreneurial career paths and there is an opportunity for the community to see the space firsthand on Monday, January 14 starting at 5:00 p.m. until the board meeting at 6:00 p.m., which will also be held in the space going forward.

RELATED: Student Professional Studies Center, Maker Space of Fort Thomas Independent Schools to Open at 20 Grand 

There are two floors with dedicated space at Launch. On the first floor, areas branded as “Convening Center”, “MakerStudio”, and “Student Business Pop-Up Shop” will introduce students to cutting-edge learning methods not found in typical classrooms.

See Rob Beimesche's listings here.

Elementary and MS STEAM experiences held both during and after school, as well as in the summer will take place in the space including FIRST LEGO League robotics, Girls 3-D printer club, STEM Bike Club and Odyssey of the Mind.

On the second floor will be a dedicated High School Professional Studies Center which will have the following Flight Path programs next year: App Development, Entrepreneurship/Business, and Health Innovations with a focus on industry partnerships, authentic projects, and career-focused experiences.

Innovation and entrepreneurial mindset will be emphasized in all Flight Paths. Additional high school programs and courses, such as Cinematography, will use the space on a more flexible schedule.

At a recent board meeting, Superintendent, Dr. Karen Cheser, quoted a statistic about the gap in knowledge for what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

"Seventy-two percent of high school students would like to be entrepreneurs, but only about two percent get any training in this area," she said.

She noted that as the world changes, it is increasingly imperative that school districts provide in-depth career exploration experiences so that students can make informed post-secondary plans based on passions and goals.

“Our goal is to provide a variety of opportunities for our students, both within our schools and beyond, so that they gain in-depth knowledge of careers for their future, both learning what they would like to pursue and what would not be a good fit.”  said Dr. Cheser.

Through a year-long process involving staff, community and the business and education community, Fort Thomas Independent Schools crafted their "Portrait of a Graduate" to help come up with clear goals on what they wanted their graduates to embody.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Schools Select Key Graduate Qualities 

“While developing our district Portrait of a Graduate, industry leaders emphasized the need for an entrepreneurial mindset-a critical attribute for the future.  Launch will be a catalyst for developing this mindset from preschool through 12th grade,” she said.

The space will provide avenues for students to dive deeper into a few key content areas, connect that learning opportunity and give them a more authentic experience as they work with businesses and industry professionals.

"Students will immerse themselves in a process that provides relevance to their learning, builds relationships with others and meets the rigorous expectations cap of Fort Thomas Schools,” said Matthew Bertasso, Highlands High School Principal.

“Teachers will be provided with the space and opportunity to integrate subjects and work more collaboratively with others.”

Support from business leaders throughout the region is growing.

“We’re hoping that once they get involved and they work with our students, they will see how exciting this is for the future of our community and region,” said Dr. Cheser.

Businesses that are interested in getting involved can contact Dr. Cheser at

PHOTO: Dr. Karen Cheser with business leaders on the NKY Entrepreneurship Council. This group recently met in one of the Launch conference rooms in Fort Thomas.

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