Poudre School District Global Academy: Merging Online & Classroom Instruction to Create Winning Hybrid Learning Model
In 2009, Poudre School District created Poudre School District Global Academy to serve students who, for a variety of reasons, needed a smaller environment and more individualized attention than could be provided in traditional schools.
Initially, the district’s focus was on dropout prevention and recovery. Starting as an online school with several secondary students, the academy partnered with personalized learning solutions provider Aventa Learning (now Fuel Education). Poudre Global Academy became a hybrid learning environment when the district realized students were not returning to the exclusively online school model.
The academy now serves 150 K12 students. The students whose needs are diverse – from credit recovery to accelerated courses. Students range from high-achieving former homeschoolers to those who were in danger of dropping out.
Poudre Global Academy provides a week of orientation and training activities for both students and parents. Students attend classes on campus two to three days per week to do hands-on, collaborative projects, explore science in lab settings, and participate in art, music and physical education classes. The remainder of the week, students are at home working on individualized or self-paced online instruction with parents serving as learning coaches.
The academy partners with Fuel Education for its online middle and high school courses, and uses Fuel Education’s partner, K-12, for its elementary student curriculum. The academy’s instructors teach the core online courses. Secondary students are also offered an online electives library, primarily taught by Fuel Education instructors.
On the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress, academy students tested in grades 2 through 8 scored at or above the proficient level for reading and mathematics.
“Poudre Global Academy provides students with an opportunity to take control of their learning, work in an environment that supports their educational and personal goals, and challenges them to reach success beyond their expectations,” says Todd Lambert, the assistant superintendent of elementary schools.
In recognition of the innovation and success of this initiative, Poudre School District Global Academy has been named a District of Distinction by District Administration. The academy was among 62 districts that were honored in the March 2015 round of Districts of Distinction, the magazine’s national recognition program for K12 school districts.
“We are pleased to honor Poudre School District Global Academy as a District of Distinction,” says JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine. “Like all our honorees, the academy serves as a model for school leaders across the country.”