Cultivating Community Partnership
Photo by Catie Viox
In true STEM spirit -
Question: What is the result when you take the talents and passion of an Engineer-trained business-owner and parent of a CCH student, then multiply it with the long-term vision and commitment to STEM of a prominent, all-male Catholic High School?
Answer: A deep, multi-dimensional partnership rooted in technology that helps deliver a top-tier Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program that prepares its young men to excel.
The partnership between Global Business Solutions, Inc. (GBS) and Covington Catholic High School (CCH) began accidentally four years ago at a Robotics Team practice. Serving as CCH’s Robotics Coach, Gaby Batshoun, GBS President/Founder noticed an IT network performance issue. Immediately he knew there was a problem. After further discovery, it led to a meeting with CCH Principal, Bob Rowe. During that first meeting, Principal Rowe and Gaby discussed the school’s technology infrastructure, but more importantly, Mr. Rowe shared his vision of creating a comprehensive STEM program – so began a partnership that has helped transform the school into a leader in STEM education.
STEM is the integration of math, science and technology skills applied to the process of problem solving, within an engineering framework. Under Bob’s leadership, CCH began to assemble its STEM-specific staff. Mr. Bob Lind was brought on as the Director of STEM Programs. Under his guidance, CCH adopted a revolutionary new engineering curriculum through Project Lead the Way (PLTW). PLTW is an industry-leading organization that provides not only STEM curriculum, but professional development and certification of teachers. Mr. Lind is a certified PLTW Master Teacher in the Principles of Engineering course and holds multiple PLTW certifications. Since his addition, CCH has added three PLTW-certified teachers to its STEM staff.
Earlier this year, Covington Catholic proudly earned designation as a PLTW Distinguished School, 1 of only 3 Kentucky high schools and 1 of 133 schools nationwide to receive this distinction. “The excitement for and growth of STEM has been phenomenal,” says
Principal Rowe. “The entire CCH community is rallying around the program and the highly sophisticated lessons we’re teaching.” As evidence of the growing excitement, over 200 students are enrolled in the STEM program. Additionally, 30 students currently attend a robotics class that starts more than an hour before school officially starts – now that’s dedication to learning!
CCH’s STEM program provides students the opportunity to work collaboratively, identify problems, apply what they know, persevere through challenges and find unique solutions. The program also has an entrepreneurial component. Students participate in product building projects and competitions. They develop business and marketing plans and work with real world mentors to test their ideas and experience the rigors of product development. The potential deployment of cutting-edge technologies, robotics, machine learning and advanced automation exposes students to some of today’s newest technologies and the ethical and moral implications of new innovations. Students not initially drawn to STEM disciplines often grow to see the value of problem solving from an engineering perspective. In fact, several art and architecture-oriented students have transitioned to the program and have achieved tremendous success academically and professionally.
The school’s commitment to STEM can be easily seen as you drive past its Park Hills campus. Later this fall, the school will open a state-of-the-art $3.5 million-dollar building dedicated to meeting the growing needs of the STEM program. The approximately 10,000 square-foot building will house two robotics labs, rooms for welding, prototype assembly and a 200-seat auditorium to be used for lectures, guest speakers and shared with the school’s arts department.
Gaby and his GBS team have been working with Bob Lind and Principal Rowe as their trusted technology adviser and external resource throughout the project, helping make the new adddition a shining example its commitment to STEM. Batshoun has been a strong supporter of the STEM initiative from the very beginning. He founded and coaches the Vex Robotics Team and sits on the school’s Advisory Board and Board of Directors. Additionally, GBS provides technology services for the school campus with an IT engineer embedded within the CCH IT Department.
The partnership between GBS and Covington Catholic High School is a stellar example of how one Northern Kentucky business has integrated itself into the community to the mutual benefit of both. “I could not have done anything to the level that we have done without Global Business Solutions and especially without Gaby Batshoun. He has been a tremendous blessing to us,” proclaimed Bob Lind. The partnership is one of the reasons GBS was selected as a finalist by the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for its Business IMPACT Awards. These awards recognize businesses impacting the community through innovation, creativity, strong business practices and leadership.