Covington Latin School

Covington Latin School

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Covington Latin School is a co-educational, Catholic, accelerated, college preparatory high school offering a classical education. Since its inception in 1923, Latin School has operated under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Covington, Kentucky. CLS is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (S.A.C.S.) and has been certified by the US Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School since 2003. Latin School has been profiled in US News and World Report, featured as a "Cool School" by Fox 19 Cincinnati and ranked the #1 private school in Northern Kentucky by Cincinnati Magazine.

Covington Latin School offers a unique program for academically talented students in the tri-state area. As its central purpose, CLS aims to form Christian leaders by challenging its students to attain their academic, intellectual, social and moral potential. The School's commitment to acceleration, allows advanced fifth, sixth and seventh grade students the opportunity to begin their high school career. For many of these students, acceleration offers a more challenging and rewarding educational experience than a regular grade process.[1]

Student Body

Incoming Latin School students accelerate one to two years as a condition of admission, and thereby graduate one to two years earlier than their peers in traditional 9-12 schools. Admission to Latin School is highly competitive and consideration for admissibility is reserved for students testing above the 85th national percentile of Scholastic Testing Service’s Educational Development Series, which serves as the School's entrance examination. CLS students come from a wide variety of educational, ethnic and economic backgrounds and while a day school, CLS draws extensively throughout Northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati and Southern Indiana. Though a Catholic institution, Latin School welcomes students of all faiths.


Covington Latin School has 26 carefully selected faculty members, 22 of which have advanced or terminal degrees. The average CLS faculty member has over 18 years teaching experience and over 11 years teaching at Latin School. The student to faculty ratio is 9:1. The average class size is approximately 16.



Covington Latin School was founded in 1923 by Bishop Francis Howard. Bishop Howard was a national leader in establishing Catholic education, particularly elementary and secondary education, as a major priority of the American Church. He was one of the key developmental figures in what is now the National Catholic Education Association. On being named Bishop of Covington in 1923, he made establishing a strong system of Catholic grade schools and high schools a priority for his diocese. Covington Latin, as well as its sister school, Lexington Latin School, were first fruits of that effort. The schools were designed to take bright and able young men and to train them to be leaders in both their religious and secular communities. Working from the German gymnasium model, in which students were directed after sixth grade into college preparatory instruction, the schools prospered. While Lexington Latin would eventually merge with a local all girls Catholic school to form the current Lexington Catholic High School, and in so doing drop the accelerated nature of its program, Covington Latin has maintained that innovative approach to this day, taking students from fifth, sixth and seventh grades and preparing them academically, spiritually and emotionally for the direct transition into college upon completion of a four year, high school curriculum.

With the continued success of the program over the following decades, Bishop Howard determined that the School, which had operated to this point out of a series of old homes and churches, needed a permanent home of its own. The result was that in 1941, the current facility was constructed, with the dedication taking place, coincidentally, on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. While the School initially shared the building with diocesan administrative offices, eventual growth of the School, as well as growth of diocesan services, led to movement of those offices elsewhere in the 1960s.

The decade of the sixties also saw other innovations for the School. It was during this era that the School admitted its first African American student and graduate, Thomas Mallory Bedford, whose two brothers, Phillip Maurice Bedford and Darrell Franklin Bedford, would also later attend the school. Additionally during this period, under Father Edwin Heile (then Dean and later Headmaster), the School began to more actively participate in the realm of high school athletics. Also during this era, the School, whose faculty to this point had consisted almost entirely of priests, began to hire lay men and women as teachers. In the succeeding years, the School’s curriculum would be constantly updated and refined to provide students with the tools necessary in the ever more technologically advanced world.

By the 1990s, Covington Latin School would be poised for its next great period of innovation and development. It was during this period that the School initiated the Preparatory Year, dubbed the “Prep” year. The Prep year allowed students to attend eighth grade at Covington Latin, while still protecting the accelerated nature of the program. Students began to enter the Prep year from fifth or sixth grades, allowing them to receive the benefits of acceleration and of the challenges of a Covington Latin education that much earlier.

The nineties also witnessed the other great innovation in Covington Latin’s recent history, the transition to coed education. In 1992, forty-one young women joined with the School’s young men for the first time in facing the opportunities and challenges of a Latin School education. Since then the young men and women of our region have benefited equally from the tremendous opportunities that the Latin School program offers. The school prides itself that leaders start here.

Covington Latin has existed now for over 85 years. That long and successful history has in part been the outcome of willingness on the part of the School to change, grow and adapt, while always maintaining the essence of its nature as an accelerated, academically oriented, Catholic institution of learning. The result is a school which stands today, as it did on the day of its founding, ready and eager to accept the challenge of the Motto its founder, Bishop Howard, chose for it:

Bonitatem et disciplinam et scientiam, doce me. - Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge.[2]


Coursework is entirely college preparatory and should be considered the equivalent of honors-level coursework in traditional 9-12 schools. Course descriptions are available through on the academics page. Latin School’s academic program is based upon the premise that students are capable of studying independently, responsibly and with self-direction.

Graduation Requirements

Twenty-six and one-half (26.5) credits in the following areas of study:

  • 4 Foreign Language credits
  • 4 Mathematics credits
  • 4 English credits
  • 4 Religion credits
  • 3 Science credits
  • 3 History credits
  • 1 Physical Education and Health credit
  • 1 Fine Arts credit
  • 1 Speech credit
  • 1 Senior Elective credit
  • ½ Study Skills credit
    • Humanitarian service requirements, which escalate each year
    • Passing Senior Language Oral Examination or, upon failure, pass written makeup examination
    • Presentation of Senior Thesis, deemed acceptable by English faculty and faculty of the course for which the thesis was written


Entrance Examination

Covington Latin School determines admission based upon an entrance examination. Specifically, CLS administers the Scholastic Testing Services (STS) Educational Development Measurement Evaluation. The examination assesses progress in three foundational areas: mathematics, reading and language arts. Scores are compiled in national percentiles and reported in comparison to all other fifth, sixth and seventh graders who take the test nationally. This score is the strongest single indicator of a student's suitability for the Latin School curriculum.[3]


For 5th graders taking the exam, an overall score of 90% or better will be considered for admission. For 6th and 7th graders taking the exam, an overall score of 85% or better will be considered for admission. Each individual applicant is reviewed extensively, however, to ensure that the admissions committee arrives at an accurate conclusion. Underperforming students may be encouraged to retake the examination in the event they feel the score is not an accurate reflection of their academic ability.[3]

Preparatory Year or Freshman Year?

For some parents intrigued by the Covington Latin program, the choice of introducing their child into the CLS experience through the Prep year or through Form I (Freshman) year is a challenging one. Parents often ask which is best, because academic performance data and graduation rates are very similar between both routes of entry. The truth is that what is best depends on the individual child. Certain parameters do already exist as matters of policy. All students entering CLS from the seventh grade must enter Form I to protect the integrity of the accelerated nature of the program. Likewise, all students entering directly from fifth grade must enter as Preps. It is for those students entering from sixth grade that this question becomes an issue.[4]


Extracurricular commitments reflect student leadership and commitment to academic, social, spiritual, and personal aspects of their total education and contribute to the transformative experience Covington Latin School offers on the whole.

Clubs and Organizations

Covington Latin School students operate over 25 different clubs and organizations ranging from arts to culture, academics to philanthropy, and social activism to humanitarian service. Junior Classical League, The Leader (newspaper), Academic Team, Literary Guild, Drama, The Dardanian (yearbook), Peer Counseling, Strings, Student Council, Interact and Pro-Life Club serve as examples. More recreationally-oriented groups include fencing, art, gardening, ski and book clubs, among many more.[5]


Covington Latin School is a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and offers athletic teams in baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross-country, golf, soccer,softball, swimming, tennis, track and volleyball. Varsity, Junior Varsity and Freshman teams are offered but vary annually, coeducationally and between sports.[6]

Humanitarian Service

A commitment of 90 hours, at minimum, of humanitarian service is required of all students. Implementing positive change through active volunteerism assists in developing an innate compassion and broader understanding of the human condition. Humanitarian service is a fundamental facet of the CLS experience, dating back to the School’s founding in 1923.[7]


On September 24, 2010, Covington Latin School broke ground on an over 41,000 sq. ft. addition, with an estimated cost of $9.2 million which will more than double the educational space at the school. The current building will be completely renovated and will be connected to the new addition by an atrium/commons area. Architectural renderings and a bird's eye live camera serve to illustrate the process and can be found on the school website. Highlights of the new facility include: Three college-level science classrooms/labs, a technology center, a multi-purpose space which can also be utilized as a theatre, new cafeteria, a dedicated space for physical education and an elevator which will provide accessibility to both the existing and new facility.[8]

The "Lyceum," the original St. Mary's School building that most recently housed the Cathedral Child Development Center across Madison Avenue from Latin School, is owned by the Diocese of Covington and serves as temporary additional classrooms and some administrative offices for Latin School. The school also boasts a smartboard in almost every classroom

Notable alumni

Robert J. Kohlhepp '59 is Chairman of the Board of Cintas Corporation. He has been employed by Cintas since 1967 serving in various executive capacities including Vice President of Finance, Executive Vice President, President, Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of the Board. He was elected Chairman of the Board in 2009. Mr. Kohlhepp also serves as the Chairman of Xavier University's Board of Trustees and is a Director of Parker Hannifin Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio.[9]

Nicholas Hellmann '74, M.D., Executive Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Prior to that role, Dr. Hellman served as interim director of the HIV, TB, and Reproductive Health initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Chief Medical Officer at Roche Molecular Systems, Vice President of Clinical Research at ViroLogic, Inc. Dr. Hellmann also held positions at biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, including Gilead Sciences, Genentech, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he directed clinical research activities related to the development of novel antiviral and antimicrobial drugs. Dr. Hellmann was also an Assistant Professor in the Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases Division at the University of California, San Francisco and was an infectious diseases consultant in a private medical practice.[10][11] Click here to view Dr. Hellmann's interview on The Charlie Rose Show.

Paul G. Bens, Jr. '80, former Hollywood casting director/producer and author of the Black Quill Award-wining novel "Kelland."

David Justice '83, former right fielder in Major League Baseball who played for the Atlanta Braves (1989–96), Cleveland Indians (1997–2000), New York Yankees (2000–01), and Oakland Athletics (2002). He was married to Halle Berry.


External links

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