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Monday, March 8, 2021

National education technology group honors Fort Thomas Independent Schools Leadership Team

Highlands High School has a student-led broadcast studio. 

CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking), a premier association of K-12 education technology leaders,  honored Fort Thomas Independent Schools with its District Team Leadership Award in recognition of the group’s exceptional commitment to leveraging technology to improve teaching and learning.

CoSN’s District Team Leadership Award, sponsored by ENA/CatchOn, emphasizes how crucial the full district leadership team is to the digital transformation. Seven years ago, the academic and IT professionals at Fort Thomas Independent Schools teamed up to equip every K-12 student with an iPad or MacBook. When in-person learning stopped abruptly last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this infrastructure served as the foundation for a successful transition to remote learning.

“The decision by our leadership and Board of Education set years ago to invest in our district's technology proved to be crucial to continue our pathways of educational excellence for our students from the outset of the pandemic,” said Dr. Karen Cheser, Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools. “By expanding the integration of 1-1 technology devices with all students and teachers in the district, we were able to promote digital learning and communication. Our staff and students proved their resiliency and our investment in technology was a big reason for that.”
“Fort Thomas Independent Schools exemplifies what is possible when all members of the district leadership team are involved in the technological learning transformation, rather than silo-ing each school district department,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “We are thrilled to recognize their accomplishments and highlight how this type of teamwork helps produce educational success.”

The district’s leadership team includes Digital Learning Coaches, the Director of Technology, Jody Johnson, the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Bill Bradford, and Cheser — all of whom work together as a collaborative team without a hierarchy in digital learning decision-making processes.

To prepare students for a future in today’s online world, the Fort Thomas Independent Schools team, alongside industry leaders, established the “Portrait of a Graduate” program to measure student competency. Each student is working towards demonstrating competencies to share how they have exemplified key skills for the workplace of the future including global communication, creative problem solving, curious critical thinking, empathetic collaboration and courageous leadership.

“Fort Thomas Independent Schools is a shining example of how to use technology to create life-changing opportunities for learners. Witnessing a district embrace change and think outside of the box to provide students with multiple opportunities and experiences is refreshing, encouraging and a reminder that when we work together, we lead by example and show hope,” said Rod Houpe, Director of Business Development at ENA/CatchOn.

Fort Thomas Independent Schools received the award virtually and was recognized during CoSN2021. 

Watch their acceptance speech here and a related video highlighting the district’s accomplishments here.

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