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Principal's Message


Matthew Bertasso

Rich in tradition and focused on the future, the Fort Thomas Independent School District provides engaging and challenging learning experiences which foster creativity, curiosity and innovation, while inspiring all students to pursue lifelong learning and become productive members of the global community.

Highlands High School is a home to high achievers in both academics and extra-curricular activities. With approximately 1000 students in grades 9-12, our school has been recognized by the U. S. Department of Education as a No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School—one of only two public high schools in Kentucky to accomplish this distinction. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills recognizes HHS as an Exemplar School of innovation.  In 2016 Highlands was ranked in the top 275 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and Newsweek.  In 2016, the College Board recognized HHS as one of only 444 schools in the country to be included in the AP Honor Roll for providing equity and opportunity for students accessing Advanced Placement success.  Finally, in 2016 the Washington Post recognized HHS as the “most rigorous school in Kentucky” and in the top 125 in the United States.   

At Highlands we are committed to ensuring each individual student has the opportunity to be successful in a variety of post-secondary endeavors.  We continue to rank well above state and national averages on the ACT test with the class of 2016 posting a 24.7 composite average, the highest in our long history.  Since more than 90% of our students attend four-year colleges, a primary goal is to prepare our students for a successful college experience. To that end, we offer twenty-two AP classes. In May of 2016, our students completed over 1300 AP exams with one of the highest pass rates in the Commonwealth. Sixty-two percent of the graduating class of 2016 earned a passing score on one or more Advanced Placement tests earning them the potential of college credit.  The Highlands We the People team recently earned its 12th state Championship (11th consecutive) and the Envirothon and National History Day teams both competed at the state level.  The Drama program at HHS received 18 Cappie nominations in 2016 and in 2013 received the award for “Best Musical” in the greater Cincinnati area. The music program regularly qualifies students for All-State and scores at the distinguished level at contest.

In the athletic arena our football team is proud of all 23 State Championships since 1960.  The 2015 Girls’ Cross-Country team won their third consecutive state championship.  The Girl’s Track team earned four consecutive state championships between 2008-2011. In 2008 the boys’ soccer team joined the girls’ team in the state finals marking the first time in Kentucky history that teams from both the boys’ and girls’ division from the same school competed in the state finals. In addition, HHS is home of numerous regional champions and individual state level competitors and champions.

Students succeed at Highlands High School because the community and its schools value hard work, individual responsibility, and high expectations. A tradition of excellence drives everything we do.  

To get an even deeper glimpse of the incredible things going on at Highlands, please visit the Highlands Film program link found below.  Our completely student run program does a fantastic job telling our story and sharing the daily announcements with our learning community.


We invite you to contact the school directly if we can answer any questions you may have about our learning community and the programs available to our students.  It is a great day to be a Bluebird at Highlands High School and we welcome your feedback and support!


Matthew Bertasso



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