Young Scholars Academy

KCSD wants you to be a full-time college student next year!

What is YSA?

Ready to be a full-time college student in high school? Come learn about the Young Scholars Academy!


The Young Scholars Academy is a highly selective partnership between the KCSD and Northern Kentucky University. A limited number of scholars are selected to take a full-time college course load on NKU’s campus for their final two years of high school at an extremely discounted rate! Scholars have the opportunity to earn 60 hours of college credit and/or an associate’s degree while working with a small cohort of motivated, like-minded scholars working toward degrees with a focus in STEM, integrated studies, supply chain, and computer science!

How are high school scholars supported in YSA?

Scholars are provided on-campus support with their own KCSD college supervisor, Dr. Dempsey, and their NKU program coordinator, Dr. Landis, who are both full-time employees working only with YSA scholars! Additionally, scholars have access to NKU’s campus, including the campus rec and designated YSA space in Steely Library.

What is required to apply?

- Applications are open to current 10th graders at Dixie, Scott, and Simon Kenton

- Scholars must have a 3.0 cumulative unweighted GPA

- Scholars must meet CERT benchmarks

- Scholars must be college ready in math via the KYOTE exam or the ACT

YSA Recruitment Events

YSA Virtual Parent Night

Tuesday, Jan. 12th, 7pm

This is an online event.

This virtual presentation will include the information provided at each high school for scholars who may be unable to attend or learning online. You can RSVP for this session here.

YSA Application Opens!

Wednesday, Jan. 13th, 8am

This is an online event.

YSA visits your school!

  • YSA visits Simon Kenton High School - January 19 and 20

  • YSA visits Dixie Heights High School - January 21 and 25

  • YSA visits Scott High School - January 26 and 27

YSA Parent Camp at NKU

Saturday, Jan. 23rd, 9am

Louie B Nunn Drive

Highland Heights, KY

Sign up for your session here!


Due to social distancing, each scholar should only bring one parent. Sign ups are required. Scholars and parents only need to attend one total session (attendance is not required both weekends).

YSA Parent Camp at NKU

Saturday, Jan. 30th, 9am

Louie B Nunn Drive

Highland Heights, KY

Sign up for your session here!


Due to social distancing, each scholar should only bring one parent. Sign ups are required. Scholars and parents only need to attend one total session (attendance is not required both weekends).

Parent Camp Agenda

Each parent camp session is 90-minutes.


  • Topics for parents: course load, financial commitments, transferability, and program curriculum. Parents will meet with the program directors as well as KCSD's Director of Districtwide Programs.
  • Scholars will take the required KYOTE math placement exam. Technology will be provided.
  • Parents and scholars will have the opportunity to tour the campus in small, socially distanced groups and complete a Q&A with current YSA scholars.

Meet the YSA Family!

Dr. Amanda Dempsey, Early College Supervisor, Kenton County Schools

Call or Text: 859-363-6244

Email: amanda.dempsey@kenton.kyschools.us


Dr. Dempsey is the primary contact for prospective and current YSA scholars and parents. She is the self-proclaimed "mom" of YSA. Dr. Dempsey has an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership where her research focused on the development of student agency through teacher/student relationships and dual credit initiatives. She has worked in education for 12 years and served in a variety of district wide dual credit initiatives across Kenton County.

Dr. Winona Landis, YSA Program Coordinator, Northern Kentucky University

Dr. Landis works directly with scholars once they are admitted to the program, and she is the primary contact for NKU faculty and staff about YSA. She has a Ph.D. in English, with a focus in Multicultural Literature (ask her about her dissertation on comic books!). She has taught at the college level for many years and is ready to be a resource for you as you begin your college coursework!