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Hybrid School in Dallas May Be a Model for K-12 Statewide

Dallas Hybrid Preparatory's enrollment has increased since it became the state's first hybrid public school in 2021, and now several pieces of proposed legislation could mean more money for virtual and hybrid campuses.

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(TNS) — In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, one Dallas ISD school found that there was a demand for a different type of learning.

Dallas Hybrid Preparatory Principal Olga Romero said the school leadership team saw that there was a rise in requests for hybrid learning. They also wanted to get students prepared for college. In 2021, 76 percent of college students had at least one hybrid or virtual class.

Passage of Senate Bill 15 two years ago meant Texas schools could offer a hybrid model that allowed schools to provide a combination of virtual and in-person instruction.

Thus, the Dallas hybrid program was launched in fall 2021, becoming the first hybrid public school in Texas. Students grades 3 to 8 attend virtual learning at home three times a week, and learn from school twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While enrollment the first year was only about 75 students, Romero said, they’re up to 138 this year and expect to have 210 next school year.

“The plan is to have this type of model replicated across our state of Texas, because we want to make sure that everyone has access to this type of learning,” Romero said.

Many more Texas schools could soon be following Dallas’ example. Several bills making their way through the Texas legislature, if passed, will mean more money to pay for virtual and hybrid campuses.

To make the hybrid system work, the Dallas school had to make sure that all students had access to the technology they needed to learn, including MacBooks and WiFi connections. That planning process took about four months, and school construction took another six months.

“At the end, what we want to do is to be the best digital learning school in the nation,” Romero told the Star-Telegram. “By enhancing our learning with digital tools, we are preparing our kids for those 21st century skills that are needed now.”


In terms of student performance, the school’s hybrid system has been successful, scoring a 91 in both student achievement and school progress in Texas Education Agency accountability ratings. It also allows students to have flexible schedules in order to pursue passions like sports or the arts.

But hybrid learning doesn’t work for everyone, Romero says, because all kids learn differently. It works best for those who are engaged in technology, like to create using technology and need a balance between learning from home and on campus. Dallas Hybrid Prep students take STEM classes like coding, robotics and drone flying classes.

What’s the key to a successful hybrid school? Texas schools switching to a hybrid learning model have to engage parents from the very beginning stages, Romero advises, in order to make important decisions.


Since the ratio for in-person to virtual learning is not currently specified by law, school systems offer hybrid options with significant variation, the Texas Education Agency told the Star-Telegram. Some offer a schedule where all students attend on-campus instruction for a few days, and the rest of the week is a combination of synchronous and asynchronous virtual instruction. Other campuses offer virtual courses that some students can take as part of their schedule, or have specific courses that are hybrid.

Hybrid models offer more flexibility and customization of school, per the Texas Education Agency, making it more accessible for learners by:

  • Giving students and families some flexibility over the time and place of learning to accommodate student needs (taking advanced courses, medical needs, pro-athlete schedule).
  • Creating student schedules to offer more targeted learning options, such as small group sessions and tutoring on campus.
  • Leveraging different learning platforms to deliver instruction and engage students to practice concepts.


“We will continue to monitor the current legislative session to see if funding opportunities become available for a hybrid learning model and look forward to learning from and supporting our peers in Dallas,” Fort Worth ISD spokesperson Claudia Garibay told the Star-Telegram, though the district has no present plans to implement a hybrid learning model for the 2023-2024 school year.

While Everman ISD spokesperson Nikita Russell says the district is not currently considering hybrid learning, she said “we are always looking at data and research based approaches to identify ways to ensure our students are successful.”

White Settlement ISD currently operates a virtual school, the Virtual Academy of North Texas. While it was opened three years ago for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, district spokesperson Desiree Coyle says they plan to expand it to grades 9 and 10 next year if there’s enough interest in doing so.

The following Tarrant County school districts said they are not considering hybrid learning at this time:

  • Birdville ISD
  • Northwest ISD
  • Lake Worth ISD
  • Azle ISD
  • Arlington ISD
  • Aledo ISD

©2023 Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.