Things to consider when choosing courses

Cost of courses

Students can expect to incur costs when enrolled in art, dance and certain Career & Technical Education (CTE) and/or Technology Education courses. Costs will be for supplies and materials used in making projects which become the property of the student.

Additional credit opportunities

We offer a variety of programs for students to earn high school credit beyond the traditional school program. These additional opportunities offer students two types of credits:

  • Credit Recovery - When a student does not receive credit for a course the first time the student takes the course, the student may be given the opportunity to “recover” the necessary credit outside of the regular classroom, especially if the course is required for graduation.
  • Original Credit - When a student enrolls in a course for the first time, this is often called “original” credit.

Students who need alternate ways to earn credit toward graduation beyond the class periods during the regular school day/year may need to consider one of the options below. (Note: College-bound athletes should know these programs may not meet NCAA or NAIA eligibility guidelines.)

Summer school

GISD offers summer school every summer with high school courses available for both credit recovery and correspondence credit. Summer school is offered on the regular high school campuses. To create the most productive environment for students in this limited time frame, online diagnostic assessments and online course content will be facilitated by content area teachers.

For credit recovery, almost all of the core courses required for graduation are normally offered in summer school. For correspondence credit, courses required for graduation that are NOT aligned with the STAAR END-OF-COURSE exams are normally offered in summer school.

Online courses

GISD offers several ways that students may earn credit for selected courses online. Students who wish to pursue online courses need to have good reading comprehension skills and good computer skills.

Academic intervention

For identified students who are not on track to graduate on time, online courses may be offered during regular class periods during the school day. In these situations, students are not required to pay a fee for each course, and most of the instruction is delivered through a computer with a teacher available for assistance in the classroom.

Priority will be given to seniors, juniors and over-aged students regardless of their grade level. Specific criteria must be met in order to be eligible for online intervention opportunities. Please contact a high school campus counselor for additional details. 

Online/Correspondence courses

Online courses may also be offered outside the school day or in conjunction with summer school. These types of online courses outside the school day are designed to be more flexible by relaxing certain attendance requirements, allowing students to start and finish at different times, and allowing students to receive instruction and complete some of the assignments on computers at home or in locations outside the school building. When students take an online course outside the school day most of the instruction (assignments and tests) is delivered through the computer instead of by a teacher.

Please see your counselor for more details.

Texas Virtual School Network

The Texas Virtual School Network is available to meet the needs of individual students who (1) need an additional course to meet specific graduation requirements that are not available to them in Garland ISD, and (2) are willing and capable of pursuing an online course.

Questions about courses available through this network should be directed to the school counselor.

Acceleration and credit by exam

Acceleration and Credit by Exam provide opportunities for students to earn course credit and/or move up grade levels. For additional information see our Acceleration and Credit by Exam page.

NCAA and NAIA guidelines for college-bound athletes

Students must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to participate in athletics at a NCAA or NAIA college or university. These associations may require certain grades, classes and/or standardized tests.

Students that want to become college athletes need to make sure they understand the eligibility requirements and make the right choices for courses to take during high school. For example, the NCAA does not recognize any credit recovery courses.

The NCAA and NAIA are two separate associations with different rules and different processes.

Options for earning PE credit

There are other ways to get the required credit besides taking physical education courses. Students may receive credit for drill team, marching band, dance and off-campus programs.

Drill Team or Marching Band

Students enrolled in drill team or marching band may receive substitute physical education credit for up to two fall semesters (up to 1.0 required credit) of physical education in addition to the fine arts credits associated with the course.

In order to receive physical education credit, the activities during the fall semester must include at least 100 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per 5-day school week.


Students may take Dance for Physical Education credit. However, they may only receive Fine Arts or Physical Education credit for the course, not both at the same time. Course numbers have been created to distinguish a dance course as a Fine Arts credit or a Physical Education credit. When a course is taken for Physical Education credit, no grade points would be assigned with the completion of the course. Students wanting PE credit should inform their counselor at the time of enrollment.

Off-campus physical education program

Students may get physical education credit for participating in private or commercially sponsored off-campus training programs that lead to Olympic level participation and/or competition.

In order for the off-campus program to qualify for credit, it must include a minimum of 15 hours per week of highly intense, professionally supervised training. The training facility, instructors, and the activities involved in the program must be certified by the superintendent or his/her designee to be of exceptional quality.

Students participating at this level:

  • may receive a maximum of one-half credit per semester. A total of four credits may be earned toward state high school graduation requirements.
  • may be dismissed from school one period (approximately one hour) per day. Students dismissed may not miss any academic class (other than physical education).

Students participating at least 5 hours but fewer than 15 hours per week, may receive credit, but may not be dismissed from any part of the regular school day.

There are additional guidelines for off-campus programs that have been developed and approved by the local school board. Students must submit an application to the school counselor before the beginning of the semester for which the student is applying to participate in the program.

Off-campus physical education forms

Please view the off-campus physical education program information packet for guidelines and application forms.

Off-campus Physical Education program application(PDF)