The ECHS Designation Process

In order to operate as a Texas Education Agency (TEA) - approved Early College High School (ECHS), a district or charter and its partnering institution(s) of higher education (IHE) must seek and receive Early College High School designation from the TEA on behalf of the ECHS campus. In order to receive the ECHS designation, a school must be designed and implemented using the ECHS Blueprint included in this application. The intent of this designation is to ensure that districts or charters and their partnering IHEs operating ECHS campuses maintain the integrity of the model, which has been researched and designed to target, enroll, and serve students who may not otherwise consider attending college.

What are the benefits for schools that achieve ECHS Designation?

  • Recognition as an approved ECHS:

    Schools designated by TEA as state-approved ECHS campuses will receive various forms of media recognition including but not limited to: inclusion on a map of state-approved ECHS, a listing on TEA’s ECHS website, and recognition in press releases.

  • Eligibility for State Programs:

    Designated ECHS campuses may take advantage of activities and programs designed by the Texas Legislature, TEA, and THECB to target Early College High Schools. Examples include, but are not limited to:

    • Optional Flexible School Day: a program created by the Legislature to provide ECHS campuses (and other specified schools) with a flexible method of attendance accounting. This program is designed to enable school districts or charters to receive funding for serving students outside of the regular school day.

    • ECHS Convenings: special events hosted by TEA and THECB for ECHS administrators and principals to provide input on policies and procedures that impact ECHS.

  • Membership in the ECHS Network:

    TEA and the THECB periodically provide opportunities for principals, teachers, and students in designated ECHS campuses through the ECHS network and share best practices through conferences and technical assistance sessions.

  • Access to Professional Development and Technical Assistance:

    Designated ECHS will have access to high-quality professional development and technical assistance.

  • Recognition for Fidelity to the ECHS Model:

    Through the designation process, TEA and THECB formally approve and recognize those ECHS that are designed and operated according to the ECHS Blueprint.

How do I apply for ECHS Designation?

  • Proceed to the guidelines page to begin the application process.

  • Applications are due to TEA on or before Friday, December 16, 2016 in order to open a campus as a designated ECHS during the 2017-2018 school year. The TEA will notify each applicant of its approval status to operate a designated ECHS.

  • Districts must complete this application each year in order to renew ECHS Designation.

What if I require technical assistance?

Thursday, November 10 at 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m CDT

to register

Early college high School Designation Update

An opportunity to learn about designation requirements.


  • If I filled out this application during the previous school year do I need to complete this application?

    Yes. Annual renewal is required for each ECHS.

  • Whom can I contact for help filling out this application?

    Contact echs@tea.texas.gov with questions or for assistance with this application.

  • Is there technical assistance to explain this application?

    Yes, a webinar will be available to applicants on Thursday, November 10 at 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m CDT. Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8663148150973246980

  • If I am a new applicant, what factors are considered when my application is being reviewed?

    As detailed in Texas Education Code, 29.908, the purpose of ECHS is to target at-risk students and provide them with an opportunity to earn 60 college credit hours through a partnership between a school district or charter and an institution of higher education. In reviewing applications, TEA considers the quality of the proposed plan and evidence that the applicant is capable of implementing the ECHS design.

    The application includes a list of required benchmarks. Questions in the application are developed in order to allow applicants to provide full and detailed information about the ECHS design, which should closely reflect the required design elements. The application can only be evaluated based on information included in the application. Any omitted information or incomplete answers may be evaluated as insufficient evidence that the campus can or will implement the requirements of an ECHS, and therefore could disqualify an applicant for designation. Please include all necessary and relevant information.



Thursday, October 20, 2016

ECHS Designation Application Available

Thursday, November 10 at 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m CDT

Webinar - Technical Assistance

Register at:

Friday, December 16, 2016


Applications to serve as a designated Early College High School during the 2017-2018 school year must be received at TEA no later than Friday, December 16, 2016.

Review and Scoring

  • Each application will be reviewed by ECHS subject matter experts from across the state.

  • New applicants will be reviewed based on the quality of the proposed plan and evidence that the campus is capable of implementing the model as well as an interview and/or site visit if necessary.

  • Renewal applicants will be reviewed primarily based on performance during the previous year(s), including fidelity to the ECHS model, as well as the designation application. Selected renewal applicants may be required to participate in an interview and/or site visit.

  • Each applicant will receive a notification letter from TEA indicating which designation category it has been assigned. TEA will provide a separate letter for each campus an applicant proposes to operate as an ECHS.

  • Each application will be assigned to one of the following categories: Provisional, Provisional with Performance Improvement Plan, Full Designation.

  • TEA will notify the THECB of the applicants that are selected for ECHS designation.

Archived Technical Assistance Webinar

To view the recorded version of the 11/10/2016 ECHS Technical Assistance Webinar, please click the link below. Note, to view the recorded webinar, your name and email must be provided.


Click here for a copy of the 11/10/2016 technical assistance presentation.