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 2020-2021 (PDF)

Complete course descriptions and requirements 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 15, 2020.

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

2021-2022 Innovative Course Approval Process

TEA is currently accepting innovative course applications for the 2021–2022 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 2020–2021. 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. TEKS-based courses can be found in 19 TAC, Chapters 110–128 and Chapter 130.

Innovative course application instructions

Innovative course application

Innovative course application checklist

Coming soon: An annotated innovative course application providing examples and comments for each section of the 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 18, 2020.
  • Phase Two: Applications for proposed new courses are due by January 19, 2021.

TEA will review applications in the order in which they are received. All applicants will receive a final determination no later than May 1, 2021.


October 9, 2020

Application window opens


December 1, 2020

Optional application feedback deadline

TEA staff will provide preliminary feedback on applications submitted by this optional deadline.

December 18, 2020

Phase One:
renewal and early
applications due

Applications requiring SBOE approval may be scheduled to go before the SBOE at the January 2021 meeting. 

January 19, 2021

Phase Two:
new course
applications due

Applications requiring SBOE approval will be scheduled to go before the SBOE at the April 2021 meeting.

May 1, 2021

Course approval

Applicants will receive notice of approval no later than May 1, 2021.

July 15, 2021

Approved list

The updated approved innovative courses list, (including PEIMS codes) and course descriptions will publish to the Innovative Courses webpage.

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

Expiring Innovative Courses

The following list of courses will expire at the end of the 2020-2021 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 2020–2021 (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