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 (Texas Administrative Code [TAC] Section 74.27). The State Board of Education (SBOE) may approve any course that does not fall within any of the subject areas listed in the foundation and enrichment curricula. The commissioner of education may approve a course within the foundation or enrichment curriculum if the proposed course is academically rigorous and addresses documented student needs.

Approved Innovative Courses

With the approval of the local board of trustees, school districts and charter schools may offer any state-approved innovative course for state elective credit only. A district does not need to apply to the agency to offer an approved innovative course.Innovative courses are approved to meet certain endorsement requirements on the Foundation High School Program. 

List of Approved Innovative Courses 2019-2020 (PDF)

Complete course descriptions are available for download 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 of July 1, 2019.

Career and Technical Education

Foundation (Bilingual/ESL, English Language Arts and Reading, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies)

Enrichment (Fine Arts, Health, Physical Education, Technology Applications)

Other Electives

Organizations Other Than School Districts

2020-2021 Course Approval Process

TEA is currently accepting innovative course applications for the 2020–2021 school year.

The content of a proposed innovative course cannot duplicate the content of a Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)-based course. Applications for proposed innovative courses that are substantially similar to a TEKS-based course or can reasonably be taught within an existing TEKS-based course will not be approved. Before submitting an application for a new innovative course, please review the TEKS-based courses and the List of Approved Innovative Courses 2019–2020. You may discover that an existing TEKS-based course adopted by the SBOE or a currently approved innovative course will meet the needs of students in your district.

To submit innovative course applications for the 2020–2021 school year, please download the instructions and course application below.

Innovative Course Application Instructions

Innovative Course Application

Applicants should submit innovative course applications as soon as possible and no later than the due dates below. The application final due dates for innovative courses will be as follows:

  • Phase One: Applications to renew existing courses are due by December 13, 2019.
  • Phase Two: Applications for proposed new courses are due by January 17, 2020.

TEA will review applications in the order in which they are received. All applicants will receive a final determination no later than May 1, 2020.

INNOVATIVE COURSES TIMELINE
December 13, 2019 Phase One: renewal and early applications due

Applications requiring SBOE approval may be scheduled to go before the SBOE at the January 2020 meeting.  

January 17, 2020 Phase Two:
new course applications due

Applications requiring SBOE approval will be scheduled to go before the SBOE at the April 2020 meeting.

May 1, 2020 Course approval issued

Applicants will receive notice of approval no later than May 1, 2020.

July 15, 2020 Approved list published

The updated approved innovative courses list, including PEIMS codes, will publish to the Innovative Courses webpage.

Expiring Innovative Courses

The following list of courses will expire at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The applicants who previously applied for the courses will be given the first opportunity to renew the courses. If a district chooses not to renew its application, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will open the application process to other interested districts. 

List of Expiring Innovative Courses 20192020 (PDF)

Questions related to innovative courses or the approval process, may be directed to Kelsey Kling, Curriculum Standards and Student Support Division, by phone at (512) 463-9581 or by email at innovative.courses@tea.texas.gov