Distance Learning

Colorado School Blends Courses with Online Curricula

The Poudre School District Global Academy (PGA) in Fort Collins, CO, has gone public with its use of online curricula for hybrid learning.

The school employs a mix of online courses that students take at home and blended classes on campus. PGA uses FuelEd's personalized learning software, curriculum and content that calls for most students to work at their own pace at home three days a week and attend teacher-led classes on campus two days each week.

PGA Principal Heather Hiebsch said her teachers "look at the data to see what the students are mastering and where they have gaps. It's not 'What do I plan to teach today?' but 'What do these individual students need to learn today?'"

All students' core courses are taught by local teachers who oversee instruction, both online and at school. PGA uses FuelEd's certified instructors for most elective courses. While the company's personalized learning platform allows teachers to customize courses with their own content, it also supplies its own courses, third-party content and open educational resources.

When PGA opened in 2009, it was intended to be a credit recovery and dropout prevention school. However, the hybrid model now attracts a mix of former homeschoolers and students who had attended more traditional schools as well.

"They're in charge, going it on their own," Hiebsch said of the school's students, "but they also have social connection and one-on-one help from teachers."

Along with more than 500 students who have attended PGA over the last six years, another 500 students at other Poudre School District schools take supplemental online courses, such as AP, world languages and electives.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.