2016-2017 Innovative Course Application

Word Version

 November 2, 2015


Subject: 2016-2017 Innovative Course Application

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is now accepting applications for innovative courses for the 2016-2017 school year.

Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Section 74.27, allows school districts to offer innovative courses to enable students to master knowledge, skills, and competencies not included in the 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. State-approved innovative courses may satisfy state elective credit toward graduation. With the approval of the local board of trustees, school districts and charter schools may offer state-approved innovative courses without modifications.

Before applying for approval of an innovation course, please review the TEKS-based courses and the currently approved innovative courses. You may find that an existing TEKS-based course adopted by the SBOE or a currently-approved innovative course will meet your needs. Please note that proposed innovative courses cannot duplicate existing TEKS-based or approved innovative courses. Applications for courses that are significantly similar to a TEKS-based course or an approved innovative course will be denied. 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 TEA Innovative Courses webpage.

Innovative Course Approval Process

The TEA will conduct a rolling review of innovative course applications for the 2016-2017 school year according to the following timeline. The TEA will review the applications in the order in which received. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible.

Phase One: Applications received by December 18, 2015

  •  Entities wishing to submit innovative course applications that are required to be approved by the SBOE (i.e., courses whose content does not fall under either the foundation or enrichment subject areas) are strongly encouraged to submit applications during this phase. Applications for innovative courses requiring SBOE approval will be presented to the SBOE for consideration at the January 2016 meeting.
  •  Entities wishing to submit innovative course applications required to be approved by the commissioner of education (i.e., courses whose content falls under the foundation or enrichment subject areas including career and technical education) may also submit applications during Phase One. Applications received by December 18 will receive a final determination no later than February 15, 2016.

Phase Two: Applications received between December 19, 2015 and January 29, 2016

Entities wishing to submit innovative course applications required to be approved by the commissioner of education are strongly encouraged to submit applications during Phase Two. Applications received by January 29 will receive a final determination no later than March 31, 2016.

Phase Three: Applications received between January 30, 2016 and March 1, 2016

  • This is the final deadline for submission of innovative course applications. Applications not received by this date or considered incomplete on March 1 will not be considered for approval for the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Applications for innovative courses that are received by March 1 will receive a final determination no later than May 2, 2016.

Please note that all applications will be reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis. Applications received earlier in each review period and/or with fewer necessary adjustments can be approved more expeditiously than those received later or those that require more significant changes.

The 2016-2017 innovative course application and procedures may be accessed via the Innovative Courses webpage.

Expiring Innovative Courses

Approval for use of the innovative courses listed on the attached document will expire at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. The Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) codes associated with expiring innovative courses will be deleted from the system in July 2016 if the courses are not renewed. The original applicant of each expiring course will be notified and provided an opportunity to submit an application for renewal of the course. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, courses and associated codes for any expired courses will no longer be available for use.

Should you believe that your district has current approval for any of the listed expiring courses, you may submit your documentation verifying TEA approval to Kelsey Kling, Enrichment Program Coordinator, by fax at (512) 463-8057 or by email at kelsey.kling@tea.texas.gov.  Questions related to innovative courses or the approval process, may be also be directed to Ms. Kling by email or by phone at (512) 463-9581.



Monica Martinez
Associate Commissioner
Standards and Programs



Attachment:  2015-2016Expiring Innovative Courses