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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Designation Information

To establish and run a T-STEM, ECHS, or P-TECH campus, public school districts must apply to obtain Provisional designation from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Once designated, each ECHS, P-TECH, and T-STEM campus must reapply each year to maintain its designation.

Visit https://texasccrsmdesignation.org/ to learn how to apply for designation for these models.

No. The state’s grant process and the Texas College and Career Readiness School Model (CCRSM) designation process are entirely separate. Should grant funds become available which are specific to the CCRSM initiative, designated CCRSMs will be encouraged to apply. TEA’s Grant Opportunity page will post the grant application.
No. The state’s grant process and CCRSM application process for launching a Provisional program are entirely separate. Should grant funds become available which are specific to the CCRSM model, TEA’s Grant Opportunity page will post the grant application.
No. ECHS, P-TECH, and T-STEM are not magnet programs. ECHS, P-TECH, and T-STEM campuses are open enrollment programs which should serve all students with a special emphasis on underrepresented populations (at-risk, economically disadvantaged, English learners, and first-generation college goers) in higher education.

ECHS

Benefits of designation include recognition as an approved ECHS; membership in the ECHS and CCRSM Network; invitations to CCRSM Network convenings (special events hosted by TEA and Educate Texas); and access to professional development, technical assistance, and research-based best practices.
ECHSs are innovative high schools that provide students least likely to attend college with an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and up to 60 college credit hours. ECHSs provide the opportunity to gain college credit at no cost to students; offer rigorous instruction and accelerated courses; provide academic and social support services to help students succeed; increase college readiness; and reduce barriers to college access.
The ECHS Blueprint is intended to serve as a road map for implementation that provides benchmarks, design elements, and outcomes-based measures to facilitate ECHS program improvement.

Texas Education Code (TEC) §29.908 requires that Texas ECHS programs “include articulation agreements with colleges, universities, and technical schools in this state to provide a participating student access to postsecondary education and training opportunities.” The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) serves as this articulation agreement. MOUs help ensure that students’ needs are addressed by formalizing the school district-IHE partnership in the following areas:

  • General operating procedures: Defines the roles, responsibilities, and financial obligations of each partner. 
  • Programmatic procedures: The MOU outlines student enrollment and attendance policies, grading periods and other academic policies, instructional materials and the instructional calendar, and the administration of statewide assessment instruments.
  • Use of facilities: In Texas, an ECHS campus can be in a new or existing building, by itself, or as a campus within a campus. ECHS students also need permission to access partner IHE campuses. The MOU outlines how space is allocated and shared.
  • Course articulation: The MOU codifies the courses of study which lead to a postsecondary credential, and establishes policies for matching and transferring coursework between the partners, as well as ongoing procedures for reviewing courses that may be counted for dual credit.

P-TECH

Benefits of designation include recognition as an approved P-TECH campus; membership in the P-TECH and CCRSM networks; invitations to CCRSM convenings (special events hosted by TEA and Educate Texas); and access to professional development, technical assistance, and research-based best practices.
Schools that are designated P-TECH provide students a seamless path from high school to postsecondary education to employment. In the P-TECH program, students earn a high school diploma and work credentials, including industry-based certificates and licenses, as well as education credentials, including Level 1 and Level 2 postsecondary certificates, and associate degrees. Students at every grade level engage in work-based experiential learning, including career-based practicum courses, internships, apprenticeships, and other innovative job-training programs.
P-TECH campuses choose their pathways in collaboration with their industry and higher education partners. These pathways must align with regional and state workforce and economic development needs, and be informed by local and regional labor market data. P-TECH campuses can establish one or more pathways. It is recommended to start with a targeted approach in the planning year and to expand pathway offerings over time. The P-TECH Blueprint gives more information on this topic.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an agreement between your campus and a business or an institute of higher education (IHE). It is a contract that describes the terms and services provided and/or exchanged by both parties for a specific period of time. All P-TECHs must have an MOU with an IHE partner. See required MOU elements for the ECHS for the elements to be included to support the dual credit program, and which provide additional student supports and experiences. In addition, T-STEM must have an MOU with a business partner that provides student internships or other work-based learning experiences. In order to be valid, all MOUs must be signed by both parties and cover the school year for which the applicant wishes to be designated.
A school can make the request to TEA to transition from one CCRSM model to another. A planning year is required before serving students in the new program, to enable the stakeholders of the school to understand the differences of the models as well as the OBMs of each blueprint, and to ensure implementation of the new model with fidelity. Once TEA approves the formal designation as a Provisional P-TECH or T-STEM model, the new cohort of students will follow the new model’s curriculum while the current ECHS students continue being served by the ECHS program as they advance through grade levels, until they graduate. 

T-STEM

Benefits of designation include recognition as an approved T-STEM; membership in the T-STEM and CCRSM Network; invitations to CCRSM convenings (special events hosted by TEA and Educate Texas); and access to professional development, technical assistance, and research-based best practices.
Between 2017 and 2027, STEM jobs in Texas are expected to increase by 20%, with careers in computing, engineering, and advanced manufacturing leading the way (Emsi, 2017). However, only about 26% of Texans were awarded certificates and degrees in STEM fields (US Department of Education). In order to meet the current and growing statewide demand for STEM knowledge and skills, as well as addressing widening gaps in equity and access to STEM education, the state is approaching STEM education as an integrated approach to instruction. Our goal is to teach all students STEM fluency skills to better equip them as problem solvers. We have defined STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education as a method of hands-on teaching and learning where students learn to apply academic content by creatively solving real-world problems with innovative, design-based thinking.
The T-STEM Blueprint is intended to serve as a road map for implementation that provides benchmarks, design elements, and outcomes-based measures to facilitate T-STEM programmatic improvement.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an agreement between your campus and a business or an institute of higher education (IHE). It is a contract that describes the terms and services provided and/or exchanged by both parties for a specific period of time. All T-STEMs must have an MOU with an IHE partner. See required MOU elements for the ECHS for the elements to be included to support the dual credit program and which provide additional student supports and experiences. In addition, T-STEM must have an MOU with a business partner that provides student internships or other work-based learning experiences. In order to be valid, all MOUs must be signed by both parties and cover the school year for which the applicant wishes to be designated.