The mission of Texas Tech University (TTU) K-12 is to “foster the spirit of complete honesty and a high standard of integrity. TTU K-12 boasts a rigorous curriculum that allows students to work ahead, make up failed credits, and achieve their goals from wherever they are. [They] utilize innovative online technologies, rigorous and reputable curriculum, excellent state-certified teachers, and quality customer service.”


TTU K-12 attracts a large global audience spanning 71 countries. The racial demographics of the student population are 72 percent white, 14 percent Asian, five percent Black, two percent American Indian/Alaskan Native, and one percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. The majority of the students are female, with 70 percent identifying as female and 27 percent identifying as male.

The school offers an asynchronous program, so students can start anytime during the year. Due to this rolling enrollment model, the number of registered students fluctuates throughout the year. In Fall 2021, TTU K-12 was serving:

  • 11,000 part-time students

  • 3,000 full-time students

  • 1,500 international students, representing Haiti, Brazil, Vietnam, Mexico, and South Korea

    Experience Overview

    Texas Tech University K-12 (TTU K-12) is an online public school offering full-time programs, individual courses, and Credit by Exams (CBEs) for U.S. students as well as global students through international partnerships. Many adults also have the opportunity to complete their high school diploma through the TTU K-12 full-time diploma program.

    Established by the State of Texas in 1993, TTU K-12 has served more than 500,000 students from 71 countries around the world. TTU K-12 began as a public, tuition-based school where a student or their district paid for enrollment. As of 2021, the school received enough funding to make the program tuition-free for all full-time students who reside in Texas. Part-time students, however, still pay for their enrollment on a per-course basis ($250 per course).

    The school primarily serves four different populations:

    1. Full-time students who want a fully virtual/remote program, beginning as early as kindergarten and extending through high school.

    2. International students who want to participate in the dual-diploma program, where they receive a diploma from TTU K-12 as well as their home country’s diploma.

    3. Credit-seeking part-time students who want to make up lost credits, such as students in their senior year who are aiming to graduate on time.

    4. Advanced part-time students who want to take advanced courses that are not offered in their local school district.

    The school develops their own curriculum in house to limit costs for students so they don’t need to purchase textbooks or materials, and to ensure teachers can simply focus on teaching instead of curriculum planning or design.

    Learning In Action

    TTU K-12 is a completely asynchronous program, so students have the opportunity to move at their own pace and determine their own schedule. Whether students are professional actors, receiving ongoing medical treatment, or are traveling with a military family, they have the option to log into Blackboard and engage with their asynchronous courses at times that work best for them. Courses can be started at any time with TTU K-12’s rolling admissions, and they are usually finished within a six-month period (with deadlines set along the way). Students are expected to complete specific coursework by each checkpoint – if they are unable to, the teacher will reach out to the student and their family to provide additional support.

    Full-time students are required to have a “learning coach” at home (e.g., parent, caregiver, grandparent, older sibling) to provide them with daily support. A close partnership between families and the school is essential to success, so families are required to be closely involved in their student’s learning journey.

    In addition to academics, students can join the student council and/or National Honor Society. Students are often involved in their local communities and connect with local peers in their region. Around 10 percent of graduates will attend the annual in-person graduation at Texas Tech University.

    Teaching In Action

    TTU K-12 has invested a significant amount of time and resources into their own curriculum design in order to create high-quality content for their teaching staff and students. Their curriculum is designed around the educational Community of Inquiry model, which aims to foster a collaborative and meaningful learning experience between the staff, students, and the online content itself. The curriculum has been organized into bite-size pieces so teachers can effectively “chunk the content” and deliver instruction in an engaging manner.

    With the curriculum already designed and planned out, teachers are freed up to solely focus on teaching and interacting with students. Teachers can build relationships with students and support them individually by providing virtual tutoring and ongoing office hours. In middle and high school, teachers usually offer open-ended and innovative assignments to encourage students to be creative. For example, they may offer multiple options for a history assignment where students can develop a newspaper advertisement, radio broadcast, or use another modality to demonstrate mastery.

    Teachers can either be full-time or part-time employees at TTU K-12. Part-time teachers are usually employed in a regular school district and teach online at TTU K-12 at night or on weekends, whereas full-time teachers work solely at TTU K-12 and are usually department chairs.

    Associated Resources

    The strategies and artifacts below explore some of the best practices used by TTU K-12, which can be replicated, adapted, and implemented across different school settings.

    Conditions for Success

    • Learning Materials & Tools - The school has developed their own online courses by hiring subject-matter experts and instructional designers, and has reviewed them on the OSCQR rubric. They provide cohesive, rigorous, and well-designed courses with instructional materials and resources specifically developed for online learning. (See below for more information on course creation and evaluation.)

    • Community & Culture - The school requires a parent, caregiver, or family member to be a “learning coach” for each student. Learning coaches support their students throughout their online journey and are accountable when the student does not complete their coursework.

    • Technology & Data Infrastructure - The school utilizes Blackboard as their learning management system and implements specific features such as Blackboard Collaborate to foster student-teacher relationships.

    • Finance & Resourcing - The school has a tuition-based model for their students, but as of 2021, they were able to receive state funding from Texas to offer a tuition-free program for all Texas residents who enroll as full-time students. This makes the program more accessible for students living in-state. Individual courses still cost $250 for part-time students.

    • Talent Systems - The school employs a large number of part-time teachers by offering educators the ability to teach on weekends and nights, which also expands their talent pool through flexible work scheduling. They are also piloting a program through a district partnership that allows district teachers to teach their online courses, which can serve as another innovative way to increase their staff capacity.

    • Time - All courses at the school are completely asynchronous, so students can move at their own pace. The school also offers flexibility to their teaching staff by allowing district teachers to teach online and part-time at TTU K-12 on weekends and nights.

    • Continuous Improvement - As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school began offering mental health services by partnering with a third party to provide virtual License School Psychology (LSP) services.

    Other Key Highlights

    TTU K-12 has invested a tremendous amount of time and resources into producing pedagogically sound online courses. They have hired subject-matter experts to develop their class content and instructional designers to build their classes. All classes are evaluated externally to ensure they meet the needs of the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills). They also review all of their classes on the OSCQR Rubric (Online Course Quality Review Rubric), developed through the State University of New York, which ensures online courses are learner-centered and well-designed.

    The school also partners with districts across the country and offers their online courses for students to enroll in. They are accredited by Cognia, a national certification and accreditation organization, which ensures that students receive their appropriate credits.

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