DALLAS — Dallas ISD is launching a first-of-its-kind public school option for families: a new hybrid school. Students will be learning remotely via a video game-like platform two days a week, and attend school on campus at the former Stephen J. Hay School the other two days. 

Dallas Hybrid Preparatory will be opening Fall 2021 and be available for students in fourth through sixth grade who are looking for an alternative way to attend school. The hybrid model reimagines what a typical school day looks like for students. 

"Our vision is to spark curiosity and to engage in ‘Always learning, loving how to learn,’” said Dallas Hybrid Prep Principal Dr. Olga Romero "And we want our kids to love how to learn. I want them to be able to say ‘You know what? I love going to school. This is the kind of school for me, it's a school that balances my time in my home and it balances my time at here my campus.’” 

Romero believes this will eventually become the model for schooling across the nation, with more parents working from home and wanting more of a balance for their children. 

“[Parents] want to have a little bit more say in what their kids learn,” Romero said. "So this is an inclusive school where the kids will be able to come here and the parents will have input into their learning and will have that balance between home and learning at our campus. So I do think this school is a pioneer, and it will become a trend that will continue and disrupt instruction across the nation.” 


Excited to share a sneak-peek of our engaging online learning platform. Dallas Hybrid is opening this fall with a...

Posted by Dallas Hybrid Prep at Dallas ISD on Tuesday, April 6, 2021


The company behind the video game-esque platform for the online school is STEMuli Technology. Dallas Education Foundation board member and STEMuli CEO Taylor Shead is just as excited as Dr. Romero to be bringing this kind of innovation to Dallas ISD.  

“The platform looks super cool because you're looking at students selecting their own avatar, walking around and exploring the world and literally sitting in a video game, but having access to their teacher,” Shead said. "But don't be fooled just to think that because it's ‘gamified,’ that's the extent that it goes to. Really what we're after is kind of game theory. And here's what I mean by that: in video games, students are incentivized by digital rewards. So whatever behavior the video game wants the student to do, as they do it well, they get points, and then they get to cash in on those rewards. So we're doing the same thing with education. 'Gamification' is not just about the way it looks and feels on the outside, it really is about building the freedom to try something new with these students and getting away from the idea of standards." 

Shead says during the pandemic, while other districts were still trying to figure out how to get technology like Wi-fi hotspots and other devices into the hands of all its students, Dallas ISD was thinking about the next steps. 

"The pandemic is what spurred all of this along. Dallas ISD and the Dallas Education Foundation really wanted to take the opportunity to say, ‘How can we reimagine education for the future and not just put a bandaid on what our students and teachers are facing right now?’ And so, the platform that looks like a video game is meant to do just that, in the sense of ‘How can we leverage all of the great technology that's out there that our students are spending hours and hours on every day and bring it into the school building?’”

The pandemic made it very apparent to Dallas ISD that some students took to virtual learning easily and so now was the time to jump on the opportunity to create this hybrid school.

“This school year has given us the opportunity to reimagine the school experience,” said deputy chief of the Office of Transformation and Innovation Angie Gaylord. “While we know many students and families prefer the traditional learning environment, we have seen how some students thrive in a blended learning model. This is part of the district’s larger mission to a provide best-fit school for every student.”  

Sophia the student is about to join her class in this virtual world designed by STEMuli Technology

Being able to interact with their fellow classmates through the video game, and then follow up with them in person during the regular school days is meant to give the students different ways to engage with each other and prepare for their future in the workforce. 

"The statistics prove the way school is right now is not working. And if you're wondering what those statistics are, you can go all the way to the end in mind where you have our employers saying that students are not ready when they're looking to hire them for the workforce. And if you almost talk to any adult, they have this kind of disjointed education experience where they thought they wanted to be one thing and then they got to that thing and they figured out this is absolutely not for me,” Shead said. "So for any of the naysayers, it's kind of like, we do have to be bold and courageous. We have to take risks, and there's a lot of stats out there that tell us that students enjoy engaging in this way, and our future is worth that shot. It’s worth it to try something different versus just doing the same thing that we've always done just because we've done it that way.” 

Two parents that have enrolled their children in Dallas Hybrid Prep agree with Shead and say they’re excited for their kids to be jumping in to this new opportunity. 

“This is making me want to go back to school. This is what my kids do when they're not in class, they game. So, this is huge because it's a combination of the two,” said Dallas ISD parent Kim Strange. "I kept my kids home the entire year [during COVID-19] and I saw a lot of growth with Kennedy being virtual because she felt more in control being behind the screen versus in a large group setting. Because sometimes it's that shyness, if I don't have the right answer and so forth. So being virtual it's like, ‘Okay I'm more in control if I don't get it right, nobody sees me.’ And so getting to have that virtual piece plus still getting that social interaction on those two days, it's a win-win for both sides. She'll get everything she needs but in a much more creative way.”

"I think that with the way that the world is going right now, everything's so technology based, and obviously our world has changed this past year, and this school right here, it fits their world,” said Dallas ISD parent Jennifer Winnon. “They are living and growing up in a completely different world than we did and I feel like this setup is like literally putting them into the world they're growing up in. You know, they still get that human interaction, but it's also very technology-based. And no matter what field they choose to go into, that's something that's very vital to them right now.” 

Kennedy is so excited to join the Dallas Hybrid Prep Explorers, she went to our building & claimed it for us! Be part...

Posted by Dallas Hybrid Prep at Dallas ISD on Saturday, April 3, 2021


Kim's daughter Kennedy Strange and Jennifer’s daughter Jenelle Winnon are also looking forward to the Fall when they get to start this unique type of schooling, which doesn’t involve just sitting in a classroom for hours on end. 

"Actually being able to move around in the screen would be better, that seems very exciting,” Jenelle Winnon said. "It just seems a little more interesting. Yes, I think I’d like it better. I sorta feel honored that I can be one of the first people to go to a school like this.” 

"I’d like it better because it can get very distracting from just sitting there, so I think it’ll just be more fun to actually be able to do a lot of stuff, even if you're at home or in person,” Kennedy Strange said. “This is an exciting experience.” 

If you’re a parent of a 4th-6th grader in Dallas ISD who is interested in the Dallas Hybrid Preparatory School, fill out this form to have staff contact you with more information. There are a limited number of spots available this year, and additional grade levels will be offered in the future. 

Sophia the student is about to join her class in this virtual world designed by STEMuli Technology.