First all-STEAM high school opens in Northern Kentucky

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Posted at 12:57 PM, Aug 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 09:41:30-04

ERLANGER, Ky. — Jerry Gels might be the only one who considered the first day of school to be “like Christmas morning.”

The co-principal was excited to see Ignite Institute open to more than 900 students Wednesday; he had been working on getting the school up and running for the past five years.

The first-of-its-kind education center is unlike most high schools in the region. Think of it as an all day, full-time trade school that allows students from Boone County Schools, Kenton County Schools and Walton Verona Independent Schools to earn dual credit.

But you won't find traditional trade school classes here.

The institute, located in a former Toyota lab facility in Erlanger, focuses on STEAM-based programs (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) that give students the training tools required for today's in-demand jobs.

Co-principal Dr. Julie Whitis said she wants students to develop relationships with local businesses so the region can retain quality workers.

“We're really looking for a lot of business partners to mentor our scholars, talk to our classes and then also offer them the opportunity for them to solve problems for their business,” Whitis said.

IGNITE offers studies in engineering, computer science, biomedical and pre-nursing, design and education, according to a news release. Programs for logistics and construction technology may be available in the future.

Click here to learn more about the IGNITE Institute.

An official ribbon cutting for the school will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 13.