Take Flight with the Twenty Grand Initiative


Nick Caldwell

With the launch of the Twenty Grand facilities, the portrait of a graduate becomes evermore so achievable with the plethora of opportunities now given to students.

With the launch of the awaited 20 Grand Facility on January 14th, students from all over the district will be able to utilize these new facilities to further expand their education and skills.

The facility consists of two floors that host a plethora of opportunities for students. On the first floor, the MakerStudio and the Student Business Pop-Up Shop will introduce students to a cutting-edge learning environment not typically found in the traditional classroom. The MakerStudio will be home to many STEAM opportunities for Elementary to High School levels, such as the LEGO League robotics, Girls 3-D printer club, STEM Bike Club and Odyssey of the Mind.

The second floor contains the dedicated High School Professional Studies Center for the students to pursue “Flight Paths”, which are multiple class courses that aim to prepare students for career-oriented pathways after high school. The Flight Paths offered thus far are, App Development, Entrepreneurship/Business, and Health Innovations that strongly focus on industry partnerships, authentic career-oriented experiences and problems.

Matthew Bertasso, Highlands High School principal says, “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.” These career-oriented paths will be set up in half-day segments where students will have to transition from the high school to the 20 Grand Facility either before school or sometime between fourth and third period classes.

Transportation, however, will not be an issue as the school has devised several ways for students to transition from both school and the 20 Grand building, “There will be buses, that will be provided as an option for students. I actually think this is going to be the selling point as they also going to have the Baptist church to have set up spaces for students at the twenty grand so they would not have to fight to park.” stated Chad Neidert, a teacher who will be teaching at the Twenty Grand facilities.

One thing we must keep in mind, however, is that this is all very new, not just for the students, but for staff as well, so problems will arise as this is the first year of this program. Neidert continued by saying, ”This first group of students that are interested in taking course work there next year is going to have to keep in mind that this first time through may not be the perfect way.” These problems, however, are only temporary as they will be resolved and improved upon as the program progresses.

With these new courses being added to the roster, many new opportunities have become available to students that previously have not been available to this extent. This is very important for students to utilize this opportunity as statistics show that seventy-two percent of students would like to become entrepreneurs, but only two percent actually receive training and guidance in this field.

So with scheduling due dates fast approaching, get a head start with the new 20 Grand Facilities and courses.