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Superintendent's Message

K. Cheser

Karen Cheser

Dear FTIS Students, Families, and Staff,

We know that this is not the school year opening that any of us envisioned a few months ago, but we are so grateful that our students, staff and families have risen to the occasion, proactively supporting our district as we transition from NTI to in-person instruction, as well as offer a remote learning option. We are all on the same side, fighting against a virus that we are still learning about, making school the absolute best it can be while following all of the state requirements to mitigate risk. You have each demonstrated why Fort Thomas Independent Schools is the top district in Kentucky, in academics, the arts, and athletics – the total package. As we continue to focus on building our Portrait of a Graduate skills in every student, your creative problem-solving, empathetic collaboration, and courageous leadership has shone bright, especially over the last few months. 

We know this has been a very tough time for everyone, but we can assure you that we are working non-stop to create an engaging environment which is safe for our students and staff. This year you will see several changes that will be in place to ensure safety such as temperature scanners and temperature checks, cleaning protocols, mandatory masking, fewer transitions, smaller groups, socially-distanced classrooms, and specific procedures for hallways. We also have created a FTIS Healthy at School document (on the district website) which provides information about each school’s plan, health and safety procedures, an exposure decision-making flowchart, changes to facilities, NTI (non-traditional instruction), as well as a data dashboard which is updated daily. While we cannot predict how long these processes must be in place, we will continue to remain flexible and adaptable as conditions change in our community.

Even though mitigating risk against COVID-19 has been a priority, our ultimate focus is on ensuring students are learning at a high level while also caring for their social-emotional well-being. Our teachers and staff have risen to the occasion, providing optimum learning experiences whether students are at home or in school buildings. This year, we will continue to build our students’ Portrait of a Graduate competencies and will create a district-wide curriculum portal (with examples of Portrait of a Graduate teaching ideas and digital resources). We will also focus on coaching and feedback for our teachers, as well as gaining momentum in our Inclusive Excellence Coalition work addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, Highlands High School continues to add college and career pathway programs and classes; Highlands Middle, Moyer Elementary, and Woodfill Elementary schools are moving forward on their journeys with Leader in Me; and Johnson Elementary School is preparing for the big move to their new building! Our schools are the heart of our community, and the heartbeat remains strong, preparing our future leaders, innovators, caretakers, artists, and world citizens with the absolute best faculty and staff – and the strongest community support out there! We look forward to working with you this year and in the future to help all of our children fulfill their dreams.     


Karen Cheser, Ed.D.


Twitter: @FTISSuper


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