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Course Management and Access

The course code catalog for 2020-2021 school year will be published on Jan. 15 so that districts can begin student scheduling for the 2020-21 school year. The nomenclature document has been updated to reflect additional course content areas (e.g., Law, Public Safety, Corrections, Security).


The application window for special courses and special programs of study will open on December 15, 2020 and close on March 1, 2021. If your LEA is considering requesting a special course or special program of study approval for 2021-2022, we highly recommend that you submit your district’s application complete with the assurance signature pages before the March 1st deadline. Applications received after March 1, 2021 will not be reviewed. Please note that there is only one application for both special courses and special programs of study. You can access the 2021-22 special course and special programs of study application here. Applications must be submitted using a district single sign on account. If you need assistance with accessing your SSO account, please contact the help desk at

Special course applications are required for all high school elective courses intended to meet the unique needs of a school or district that cannot be met using the courses and standards included in the Approved High School Courses Policy and listed in the online course catalog

A planning document has been created to aide in preparing needed information and documents prior to submitting the application form. Districts will need to complete and upload the Local Approval and Assurances form as part of the application.

For more information about special courses or special programs of study, please contact Lacey Noel at


Course Access Program

The course access program is a catalog of courses approved by the state board offered by a provider other than a student’s home LEA. This program was established by the “The Course Access Program Act” in 2016 and will be implemented based on the parameters set forth in state board rule 0520-01-14. All providers and courses will be reviewed by the department and the state board of education based on a specific set of criteria prior to being included in the catalog. 

Any public school student in grades 7–12 is eligible to participate at least two course access courses. Student enrollment will be facilitated by, and at the discretion of, a student’s home LEA. Courses can be offered online, in person, or as a combination of both. Upon approval, course access courses will be added to the TDOE Online Course Catalog.

Approved Course Access Providers for 2020–21:

  • Memphis Virtual School
  • Polk Innovative Learning Academy
  • Florida Virtual School

Students will be able to participate in course access courses beginning in January 2021. This first round of courses will be recommended to the State Board of Education in November 2020. Following state board approval the courses will be listed on the course access page and made available in the course catalog. Districts interested in hosting a course from an approved provider for the semester beginning January 2021 must conduct a local review of the course and submit the course to the department’s Standards and Materials division for review; the department will then submit courses to the State Board of Education for final review. Districts interested should contact to submit courses.

Virtual schools are public schools that “use technology to deliver a significant portion of instruction to students via the Internet in a virtual or remote setting” (T.C.A. 49-16-203). Virtual schools must comply with the same law, rules, and regulations as traditional public schools on curriculum standards, class size, length of the school day and school year, regular student assessments, and teacher qualifications.

Any student who is eligible for enrollment in a Tennessee public school may enroll in a virtual school, with districts having the option to charge tuition if the student does not live within three district borders. Students have the option of enrolling full-time or part-time. Student enrollment will be facilitated by, and at the discretion of, a student’s home LEA.

School District Grades Served
Bradley County Virtual School Bradley County 3–12
Hamilton County Virtual School Hamilton County K–12
Memphis Virtual School Shelby County 6–12
Metro Nashville Virtual School Davidson County 5–12
Robertson County Virtual School Robertson County 7-12
Tennessee Online Public School Bristol City 9-12
Tennessee Virtual Academy Union County K–8
Tennessee Virtual On-Line School Wilson County K–12
VITAL: Upper Cumberland eLearning Network Putnam County K–12
Tennessee Virtual Learning Academy Washington County 9–12
E. B. Wilson Sumner County 9-12