DENVER (KDVR) — Remote learning was an unavoidable thing during the pandemic, but with declining enrollment in traditional schools, hybrid learning is becoming more desirable for some families.

An online school in Colorado is getting global recognition for integrating Microsoft programs into its curriculum.

GOAL’s take on hybrid learning

GOAL High School was using the hybrid model of education before the pandemic.

They teach students primarily online but also have 37 drop-in centers throughout the state for students to come to in person to get extra help or other resources.

GOAL High School has been a Microsoft Showcase School for five years, which means they use technology to engage students in creative ways. There are only 30 in the U.S. and more than 500 worldwide.

GOAL said they are disrupting traditional education through the use of technology, while also preparing students for the workforce or to continue their education.

Right now, 5,700 students are enrolled across the state. GOAL currently has about 700 students on the waitlist for a spot to open up for the hybrid learning academy.

As a Microsoft Showcase School, they teach students to author a document, build a spreadsheet, compose and correct email, work with a social media feed, and be good digital citizens. These skills are increasing in importance.

“Life centered around technology, right? Everything we do is centered around technology. If we as a school are not preparing our students for that life, and really making them more productive members of society through the technology that we’re using in their lives, then what are we doing? Are we doing it right?” Jamie Trujillo, GOAL High School’s Chief Information Officer said. “Being a showcase school validates that the work that we do is direct, appropriate and targeted to what the students are going to need later down their journeys.”

Laptops and hot spots are lent to students during their time at goal high school. So cost, technology, or Wi-Fi access are not a barrier to education.

Microsoft’s Biggest Impact School Award

This year during a virtual Microsoft Showcase School Summit they announced the winners for the Biggest Impact award for Americas for the year 2021-2022.

GOAL High School won that top spot for the Americas, honored with only two other schools in the world.

GOAL High School CEO, Constance Jones, said the award was a little bit of a surprise.

“It’s just absolutely amazing and it’s such an honor. I’m just so happy for all of our staff who’ve put so much work into developing high-quality curriculum to deliver online. It’s just such a wonderful validation. We work hard each and every day and we feel that we’re really making an impact with our students,” said Constance Jones, GOAL High School CEO. “For Microsoft, though, to recognize us as an outside entity was just a wonderful validation of the programs that we’re offering.”

Microsoft Director, Industry Sales Strategy, Worldwide Education Microsoft Corporation, Christina Thoresen, congratulated the school during the summit.

“Congratulations to GOAL High School in Colorado, which is not only the largest high school in the state of Colorado, it is also the premier model of blended online learning. GOAL’s mission to develop productive members of society is more important now than ever before. Doing so aligned with their vision to ensure an environment which is personalized, caring and supportive, is what every parent and student desires. [Students drop-in centers statewide] provide excellent safe social distancing environments, so students can get the face to face support they need both academically and in the social emotional realm as well. Congratulations to the team at GOAL High School.”

Christina Thoresen

There are three regions worldwide, and one school from each region is recognized.