Fourteen-year-old Gabi Directo is technically in the middle of her freshman year. But in bursts of learning, hunched over her laptop in her Summit Shasta High School classroom, she has managed to zoom at her own rapid pace to the completion of all of her ninth-grade English, history, science, and math classes. By February, she was digging into her sophomore year Advanced Placement biology, physics, and Algebra II classes.

But in her school’s “blended learning” program, Gabi has had as much face-time with teachers and classmates as solitary face-to-screen time. The serious and soft-spoken teen is able to “blend” the best of online learning (progress at her own pace through subject content) with the best of classroom work (practicing new knowledge with peers and teachers). For example, her whole math class is working on projectile-motion models. But while some of her classmates’ models involve basic graphing to predict where an object will travel, Gabi’s factor in parametric equations and map time with distance.

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