Innovative Courses

Innovative courses allow districts to offer state-approved innovative courses to enable students to master knowledge, skills, and competencies not included in the essential knowledge and skills of the required curriculum (). The State Board of Education (SBOE) may approve discipline-based courses in the foundation or enrichment curriculum and courses that do not fall within any of the subject areas listed in the foundation and enrichment curricula when the applying school district or organization demonstrates that the proposed course is academically rigorous and addresses documented student needs.

School districts and open-enrollment charters that wish to offer an approved innovative high school course are encouraged to reference the Innovative Course Implementation section of this webpage.

Stakeholders who are interested in submitting an application for a new innovative high school course are encouraged to reference the Innovative Course Application and Approval section of this webpage.

Authors of expiring innovative courses who have been invited to renew are also encouraged to reference the Innovative Course Application and Approval section of this webpage.

Announcements

  • Updated Innovative Course Application Timeline: To benefit both innovative course applicants and LEAs who wish to implement innovative courses, the timeline for future innovative course application cycles has been updated. For more information regarding the updated innovative course application timeline, please refer to the Application Timeline section of this webpage.
  • Innovative Course Application Rule Changes: In November 2023, the SBOE approved amendments to their rules regarding innovative course applications. A summary of these changes may be found under the Innovative Course Application and Approval section of this webpage.
  • Innovative Course Sunset Review: In November 2023, the SBOE approved a new requirement to conduct a biennial sunset review of existing innovative courses. Existing innovative courses that meet the adopted criteria may be considered for retirement. For more information regarding the sunset review, please review the Innovative Course Sunset Review section of this webpage.

    Innovative Course Implementation

    This section is intended for school districts and open-enrollment charters that wish to offer an approved innovative course in their course catalog for students.

    List of Approved Innovative Courses

    With the approval of the local board of trustees, school districts and open-enrollment charters may offer any state-approved innovative course for state elective credit only. Innovative courses may not meet any other specific graduation requirement. LEAs do not need to apply to ջ to offer an approved innovative course. Innovative courses are approved to meet certain on the Foundation High School Program.

    Complete course descriptions and requirements are available for download in the list of approved innovative courses shown above or from one of the content-area pages listed below. Course descriptions include the knowledge and skills for the course, suggested activities, suggested resources and materials, and approved educator certifications. The lists have been updated as ofAugust 14, 2023.

    Expiring Innovative Courses

    The list of expiring innovative courses for the 2023-2024 school year is pending and has not yet been published. When available, updates regarding the list of expiring courses will be posted on this webpage under this section.

    Retired Innovative Courses

    Beginning with the 2023–2024 school year, the following innovative courses will no longer be available as an approved innovative course.

    Innovative Course Application and Approval Process

    This section is intended for stakeholders who are interested in submitting an application for a new innovative course. Authors of expiring innovative courses who have been invited to renew are also encouraged to reference this section.

    Rule Changes for Innovative Course Applications

    In November 2023, the SBOE approved amendments to the rules related to innovative courses. Major changes include the following:

    Previous Rules Amended Rules
    Courses are approved by either SBOE or Commissioner of Education. Course approved by SBOE.
    All new courses require a pilot. All new course, except for courses designated for a ջ-authorized CTE program of study, require a pilot.
    N/A New courses are approved for 3 years and renewals for 5 years.
    LEAs may offer innovative course without modifications with the approval of their local board of trustees. LEAs may offer innovative courses without deletions with the approval of their local board of trustees.
    N/A All recommended resources must be submitted to ջ for SBOE review.

    Application Materials and Supporting Documents

    The ջ is not accepting innovative course applications at this time.

    Application Timeline for the 2025-2026 Cycle

    To benefit both innovative course applicants and LEAs who wish to implement innovative courses, the timeline for future innovative course application cycles has been updated. The updated timeline is designed to provide additional time for the following:

    • Applicants to complete applications
    • Applicants to receive local board approval
    • Applicants to complete course pilots and analyze data
    • Districts and open-enrollment charters to plan for innovative course implementation

    Courses that are approved will be available for implementation beginning with the 2025-2026 school year.

    The table below contains the updated innovative course application timeline:

    Date Action
    January 17, 2024 Information regarding innovative courses and renewals is made available online.
    January-June 2024 Innovative courses with an expiration year of 2024-2025 are invited to renew.
    February 26, 2024 Applications are now accepted for the 2025-2026 cycle.
    September 13, 2024 Application deadlineNew innovative course and renewal application are due.
    January & April 2025

    State Board of Education (SBOE) approves or denies applications.

    Courses that are approved will be available for implementation beginning with the 2025-2026 school year.

    July 1, 2025 PEIMS codes for the 2025-2026 school year are updated for school districts and open-enrollment charters

    Extenuating circumstances: Applicants who completed an innovative course pilot prior to the 2023-2024 school year and were planning to apply for the innovative course approval process in 2023-2024 for implementation in 2024-2025 should contact innovative.courses@tea.texas.gov no later than Tuesday, December 5, 2023.

    Application Webinars

    To provide guidance on completing the upcoming innovative course application and materials for the 2025-2026 cycle, the innovative courses team will be presenting a series of instructional webinars. These webinars are intended to highlight best practices for completing the application and answer any questions that interested applicants may have concerning the 2025-2026 cycle.

    Interested applicants are asked to register in order to attend a webinar. The first webinar will be in February 2024.

    Registration links will be posted soon. Seats are limited.

    Questions related to innovative courses or the approval process may be directed to the Curriculum Standards and Student Support Division by submitting aor contacting the innovative course inbox atinnovative.courses@tea.texas.gov.

    Innovative Course Sunset Review Process

    In November 2023, the SBOE approved a new requirement to conduct a biennial sunset review of existing innovative courses. As part of the biennial sunset review, existing innovative courses that fall under SBOE-adopted criteria will be considered for possible retirement. The adopted guidelines can be found in .

    The timeline for the inovative course sunset review includes the following:

    Date Action
    March 2024

    ջ sends sunset report to State Board of Education (SBOE) Committee on Instruction for review.

    Authors of innovative courses are notified if their course will appear on the sunset report.
    April 9-12, 2024 SBOE discusses existing innovative courses.
    June 25-28, 2024 SBOE sunsets or continues each existing innovative course.
    August 31, 2025 Innovative courses that were sunset by the SBOE are retired and no longer count for state elective credit.

    Sunset Report Rules

    The following rules were adopted by the State Board of Education (SBOE) regarding the criteria of generating the biennial sunset review of existing innovative courses:

    ջ shall review all approved innovative courses once every two years and provide for consideration for sunset a list of innovative courses that have been approved as an innovative course for at least three years and meet one of the following criteria:

    • Zero enrollment for the previous two years
    • Average enrollment of less than 100 students statewide for the previous three years
    • Student enrollment at an average of fewer than 20 districts or charter schools statewide for the previous three years
    • Duplicative of another innovative or TEKS-based course
    • Approved for implementation as a TEKS-based course

    Questions related to innovative courses or the approval process may be directed to the Curriculum Standards and Student Support Division by submitting a or contacting the innovative course inbox atinnovative.courses@tea.texas.gov.

    Additional Innovative Courses Resources

    Contact Information

    TexasEducation Agency
    1701 North Congress Avenue
    Austin, TX 78701-1401

    Curriculum Standards and Student Support Division

    For questions or additional information, please submit a Curriculum Request Form through the ջ Help Desk.

    (512) 463-9581