|(a) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. (1) School district--For the purposes of this section, the definition of school district includes an open-enrollment charter school. (2) T-STEM--Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. (3) T-STEM Academy--A secondary school established under the Texas Education Code, §39.407, to focus on improving instruction and academic performance in STEM-related subjects and on increasing the number of students who study and enter STEM-related fields. T-STEM Academies are demonstration schools and learning labs that develop innovative methods to improve STEM-related instruction. (4) T-STEM Design Blueprint--A framework to establish and maintain T-STEM Academies that sets forth benchmarks as standards of excellence in the following key areas: (A) mission driven leadership; (B) school culture and design; (C) student outreach, recruitment, and retention; (D) teacher selection, development, and retention; (E) curriculum, instruction, and assessment; (F) strategic alliances; and (G) academy advancement and sustainability. (b) Purpose. The T-STEM Academy designation process ensures that school districts operating T-STEM Academies maintain the integrity of the model, which is researched and designed to increase the number of students who study and enter STEM fields and to target and serve students who may not otherwise consider attending college. (c) Application for approval of a T-STEM Academy. (1) Applicant eligibility. A school district may submit a separate application on behalf of each campus it requests to designate as a T-STEM Academy. (2) Application process. A school district must submit each application in accordance with the procedures determined by the commissioner of education. (d) Notification. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will notify each applicant of its selection or non-selection for designation. (e) Conditions of T-STEM Academy operation. (1) A school district operating a T-STEM Academy must comply with all assurances in the designation application and T-STEM Design Blueprint. (2) A campus must be designated prior to the beginning of the school year in order to operate as a T-STEM Academy for that year. (3) T-STEM Academy approval is valid for a maximum of one year. (f) Programs available to an approved T-STEM Academy. Approval as a T-STEM Academy will allow a campus to access the T-STEM Network, which is designed for designated T-STEM Academies in Texas to network and share best practices through conferences and technical assistance sessions. (g) Evaluation of a T-STEM Academy. (1) The commissioner will establish specific evaluation procedures prior to the beginning of each school year. (2) Beginning in the 2011-2012 school year, each designated T-STEM Academy will be required to submit information and required data to the TEA each year in a manner and by a deadline specified by the commissioner. This information must comply with the measures and performance standards set forth by the commissioner. (h) Renewal or revocation of authority. (1) In order to renew approval to operate a T-STEM Academy, a school district must submit a separate renewal application on behalf of each of its designated campuses each year. (2) The commissioner may deny renewal or revoke designation of a T-STEM Academy based on the following factors: (A) noncompliance with application assurance and/or the provisions of this section; (B) lack of program success as evidenced by reports and program data; (C) failure to meet performance standards specified in the application; or (D) failure to provide accurate, timely, and complete information as required by the TEA to evaluate the effectiveness of the T-STEM Academy. (3) A decision by the commissioner to deny renewal or revoke authorization of a T-STEM Academy is final and may not be appealed. (4) The commissioner may impose sanctions on a school district as authorized by the TEC, Chapter 39, Subchapter E, for failure to comply with the requirements of this section.