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 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

  • Spring 2024  Innovative Course Sunset Report Update: The Spring 2024 innovative course sunset report has been updated to reflect courses that meet at least three of the adopted criteria. At their June 2024 meeting, the Committee on Instruction for the State Board of Education (SBOE) will consider courses on this list for potential sunset. Stakeholders may find the agenda for the June 2024 meeting on the SBOE website.

  • 2025-2026 Innovative Course Application Cycle Now Open: The 2025-2026 application cycle for innovative courses is now open for new and renewal submissions. Courses that are approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE) will be available for implementation beginning with the 2025-2026 school year. As part of this cycle, innovative courses with an expiration year of 2024-2025 will be invited to renew. The application deadline for both new courses and renewals is on September 13, 2024. Application materials for the 2025-2026 innovative course application cycle have been published on this webpage under the Application Materials and Supporting Documents section.

  • 2025-2026 Application Webinar Registration: 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. 

    Registration is available on this webpage under the Application Webinars section.

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 TEA to offer an approved innovative course. Innovative courses are approved to meet certain endorsement requirements 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 of August 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. Courses approved by SBOE.
All new courses require a pilot.

All new courses, except for courses designated for a TEA-approved CTE program of study, require a pilot.

Please note that the refreshed programs of study have been finalized and that no new innovative courses will be accepted into a statewide or regional program of study. Therefore, all new courses will require a pilot for the 2025-2026 cycle.

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 TEA for SBOE review.

Application Materials and Supporting Documents

The 2025-2026 application cycle for innovative courses will open on February 26, 2024. Courses that are approved by the State Board of Education (SBOE) will be available for implementation beginning with the 2025-2026 school year. As part of this cycle, innovative courses with an expiration year of 2024-2025 will be invited to renew. The application deadline for both new courses and renewals is on September 13, 2024.

Completed application material should be emailed to innovative.courses@tea.texas.gov.

The following application materials are for new courses:

The following application materials are for renewals:

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 Application window is open for the 2025-2026 cycle. This is the first day that applications may be submitted. 
September 13, 2024 Application deadline—New innovative course and renewal application are due. This is the last day that applications may be submitted.
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

Innovative Course Sunset Review Process

At its November 2023 meeting, the State Board of Education (SBOE) amended the 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §74.27 the innovative courses rules to establish a sunset review of innovative courses that meet certain criteria. TEA’s Curriculum Standards and Student Support Division has generated a sunset list of all innovative courses that meet the criteria.

Stakeholders may view a copy of the Spring 2024 innovative course sunset report:

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

Date Action
March 2024

TEA 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 potential sunset of existing innovative courses in the report.
June 25-28, 2024 SBOE takes final action to sunset innovative courses.
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:

Texas Education Agency 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 may be directed to the Curriculum Standards and Student Support Division by submitting a TEA help desk ticket or contacting the innovative course inbox at innovative.courses@tea.texas.gov

Additional Innovative Courses Resources

Contact Information

Texas Education 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 TEA Help Desk.

   Help Desk  

(512) 463-9581