November 8, 2013
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
Subject: 2014-2015 Innovative Course Applications
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is now accepting applications for innovative courses for the 2014-2015 school year. The Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Section 74.27, allows school districts to offer approved innovative courses to enable students to master knowledge, skills, and competencies in courses for which there are no Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Each innovative course must be academically rigorous and address documented student needs. Innovative courses must be approved by either the State Board of Education (SBOE) or the commissioner of education before a district may award state credit toward graduation. With the approval of the local board of trustees, school districts and charter schools may offer, without modification, state-approved innovative courses.
Please note that innovative courses cannot significantly duplicate existing approved TEKS-based or innovative courses. Applications for courses that are significantly similar to an already approved course will be denied. Before you decide to apply for innovative course approval, please review the TEKS and the currently approved innovative courses to be sure that such a course is needed. You may find that an existing TEKS-based course adopted by the SBOE or a currently-approved innovative course will meet your needs. TEKS-based courses can be found in 19 TAC, Chapters 110-128 and Chapter 130 at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/index.html. A list of currently approved innovative courses is available on the innovative courses webpage at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=6079.
Innovative Course Approval Process
The State Board of Education is considering proposed rules that would allow approved innovative courses to count towards endorsement requirements under the new foundation high school graduation requirements. To facilitate the transition to and implementation of the new high school graduation requirements required by House Bill 5, the TEA will implement a revised innovative course approval process for this year only. The TEA will accept applications for innovative courses for the 2014-2015 school year on a rolling basis until April 30, 2014. Applications will be reviewed based on the order in which they were received. Applicants should expect notification of the final status of the application approximately 30 calendar days following receipt of the application. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible.
The 2014-2015 innovative course application and procedures may be accessed via the innovative courses webpage at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769808139. Questions related to innovative courses or the approval process, may be directed to Debbie Gonzales, Program Coordinator, by phone at (512) 463-9581 or by email at email@example.com.
Expiring Innovative Courses
Approval for use of the innovative courses listed on the attached document will expire at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. The Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) codes associated with these expiring innovative courses will be deleted from the system as of July 2014 if the course is not renewed. Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, the courses and associated codes may no longer be available for use. The original applicant of each expiring course will be notified and provided an opportunity to submit an application for renewal of the course.
Should you believe that your district has active approval for any of the courses our records show as expiring, please provide evidence of that approval to the Curriculum Division via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax at (512) 463-8057. You may submit this evidence by emailing a scanned copy of the letter from TEA indicating continued approval or by faxing a copy of that letter.
Interim Associate Commissioner
Standards and Programs