An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for February 19, 2021

Indiana Department of Education. Dr. Katie Jenner. Secretary of Education. Working Together for Student Success.

A Message from Dr. Katie Jenner

Katie Jenner Headshot

With this week’s snow and fiercely cold temperatures covering our state, I know each of you have been facing weather-related challenges in your schools. Our school maintenance and custodial staff have been working in high-gear to keep parking lots and sidewalks clear. Thank you for all of your work!

And while the snow has been falling, we’ve also been celebrating #LoveTeaching Week, a grassroots effort started by teachers. This movement reminds us of our “why.” Why do we love teaching? Why did we enter this purposeful, difference-making education profession?

For me, it was a calling. After planning to major in another field, education kept pulling me back. Ultimately, I’m driven by the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of students.

This week, we asked our IDOE team -- many of whom are former educators -- the same question. And I think you’ll see from the responses that the exact “why” might vary a little between us all -- but at its core, we teach because we love our students.

“I love teaching because every day you have an opportunity to not only open a new doorway of life-changing opportunity for a child, but also a daily opportunity to inspire them to walk through that doorway.” -- Jason Callahan, Assistant Secretary of Student Pathways and Opportunities

“As a high school math teacher, I loved the balance of content and creativity. Engaging in rigorous content with high expectations while showing students the beauty of math through the openness of thinking was so rewarding!” -- Robin Conti, Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning

“I love teaching because I’m a first gen grad and wanted to inspire students to think beyond their K-12 experiences and help them dream big. Plus, there was never a dull moment!” -- Rebecca Estes, Director of Leadership & Innovation

“I love the connections with my students. Now, I love to see the differences they are making in the community. Several are teachers now, too!” -- Dr. Charity Flores, Chief Academic Officer

“I love teaching because of the non-verbal excitement my students displayed when they had an 'aha' moment of scientific discovery.” -- Don Gilroy, Director of Digital Media

“I love the 'aha' moment students would experience when they finally made a connection or understood a new concept! I also love the challenge of getting students excited about math.” -- Dr. Jennifer Jensen, Director of Secondary Learning

“I enjoyed teaching, in part, because I loved learning and enjoyed trying to bring subjects to life for students.” -- Dr. John Keller, Chief Information Officer

“As a teacher, I loved helping students discover their interests and use them to develop plans for their future.” -- Jacob Koressel, Computer Science Specialist

“I love teaching because it allowed me to make a difference every single day. Like the story about the starfish, I may not be able to make a difference for every kid but every day I made a difference for at least SOME!” -- Robin LeClaire, Director of Early Learning and Elementary Education

“I love teaching because of the opportunity you have to shape someone’s life by just believing in them and their potential.” -- Ron Sandlin, Senior Director of Performance and Transformation

“I taught elementary 2nd, 4th, and 5th grades most of my teaching career and what I loved about teaching was my students! I loved interacting with them, learning from them and seeing the connection between what they learned and their lives.” -- Jennifer Watson, Senior Digital Learning Specialist

Why do you love teaching? Let us know on Twitter (@SecJennerIN or @EducateIN) using the #LoveTeaching!

COVID-19 Updates - Academic Learning Gaps and Financial Information

REMINDER: Learning Gap Analysis and Recovery

The opportunity to accelerate learning to make up for lost instructional time due to COVID-19 is a top focus for educators, students and families across the world right now. In the months ahead, Indiana will identify and analyze student learning gaps associated with instruction delivered in various scenarios during COVID-19, and Spring 2021 assessment data will be one critical component to that effort. We know Indiana’s low-income students, as well as our students of color, have been disproportionately impacted in multiple ways by COVID-19, and getting a snapshot of progress will help our state and our educators better tailor support for students.

This data will be one of several critical components to understanding current student learning and progress and to provide a baseline for moving forward. Still, IDOE has requested a federal waiver for calculating accountability determinations, and we are collaborating with state legislators to ensure schools are held harmless for the test results by issuing a null grade for the current school year. IDOE is also working with state policymakers for guidance in flexibility in graduation requirements, making sure that students also don’t face consequences due to the pandemic. Our goal is for spring assessment data to be collected for informational purposes only.

A bill is currently moving through Indiana’s legislature which will require IDOE to conduct a study of the impact of lost instructional time during the pandemic. We are proactively planning for this study, and our annual state assessment will serve as one data point to help inform recommendations for recovering from that loss. Other considerations will include details on instructional modes and methods as well as social and emotional learning implications. Additional information will be forthcoming as IDOE works with multiple education stakeholders to formulate plans for this study. In the meantime, please contact Brian Murphy with any questions.


REMINDER: Additional COVID-19 Relief Funding (ESSER II-CARES 2.0)

On December 27, 2020, Congress authorized ESSER II-CARES 2.0, a second round of COVID-19 related stimulus funding for K-12 education. IDOE released preliminary information and guidance for districts on Friday, January 29. Please visit the IDOE ESSER II webpage for preliminary allocations, allowable activity information, and grant administration information. The specific application and final allocations are forthcoming. For questions, please reach out to Cole Dietrich.


REMINDER: Emergency Assistance for Nonpublic Schools

On December 27, 2020, Congress authorized a second round of COVID-19 related
stimulus funding for K-12 education. The relief package includes Emergency Assistance for Nonpublic Schools (EANS), a new program targeted specifically at supporting nonpublic schools. While the federal law requires a public agency to administer all EANS funds, IDOE has developed a formula that allocates the total cost of eligible services and supports available to each participating school. Please visit the IDOE EANS webpage for eligibility information and initial planning allocations. The specific application and final allocations for services and supports are forthcoming. If you have any questions, please reach out to Andrew Mazur or call 317-232-9150.

Office of Student Assessment

NEW: ILEARN Biology ECA Winter 2021 and ISTEP+ Retest Spring 2021 Test Windows

The ILEARN Biology ECA Winter 2021 test ends next Thursday, February 25, for students who have completed the high school biology course at the second trimester. IDOE is collaborating with Cambium to extend the end date for the ISTEP+ Retest Spring 2021 test, given the challenges with inclement weather this week. Updates related to the window will be provided to Corporation Test Coordinators via the weekly listserv on Monday. 

IDOE recognizes the many unique challenges that schools faced during this ISTEP+ testing window. Due to federal requirements, schools must attempt to complete testing for as many students as possible during the defined window. Please locally document any cases of student non-participation, whether due to COVID-19 quarantine or health concerns, and submit them to IDOE. Contact the Office of Student Assessment with any questions.


NEW: Identifying Students Who Will Participate in Spring 2021 IREAD-3

Consistent with guidance recently shared with schools, only grade three students and current grade five students still needing the retest requirement, should participate in the Spring 2021 IREAD-3 test administration. Schools working to identify grade five students for this test administration should generate the “IREAD-3 Status” report in Learning Connection. The IREAD-3 Status report will reflect student scale scores, proficiency levels, and any reported exemption status. Schools may also sign in to the Online Reporting System to determine which grade five students have not yet achieved a passing score for IREAD-3. Schools must first report students via the DOE-EM/RT submission in order to view any student data in either platform. Contact the Office of Student Assessment with any questions.


NEW: 2021-2022 Indiana Assessment Windows Announced

Dates for statewide testing during SY 2021-2022 are now available. Schools should reference these dates when planning for SY 2021-2022. Contact the Office of Student Assessment with any questions.


REMINDER: Spring 2021 Test Administration FAQ

IDOE offers guidance in this memo related to upcoming federally-required assessments based on questions received in recent weeks. Measuring student learning and progress is fundamental to ensuring student success, especially during the pandemic; assessments serve as one important component in our overall understanding of student learning.

We have requested a federal waiver for calculating accountability determinations and are collaborating with state legislators to ensure schools are held harmless for the test results by issuing a null grade for the current school year. IDOE is also working with state policymakers for guidance in flexibility in graduation requirements, making sure that students also don’t face consequences due to the pandemic. Our goal is for spring assessment data to be collected for informational purposes only.

IDOE recognizes the concerns and complexities with administering federally-required, on-site assessments. If a student cannot participate in the assessment for health reasons (example – COVID-19 quarantine, health issue, homebound, etc.), then the school can document this information and report it back to IDOE.

Please contact the Office of Student Assessment with additional questions.

Office of Leadership and Innovation

NEW: Nominate an Educator for Teacher of the Year

IDOE is proud to kick-off another year of the Teacher of the Year Program. Each year, this program works to elevate the teaching profession and celebrate the men and women who dedicate their lives to helping Hoosier youth achieve their greatest potential. Information on how to nominate an Indiana teacher for the Indiana Teacher of the Year selection process can be found here. For more information, contact Rebecca Estes.


NEW: Applications for Spanish Visiting Teacher Program

Details and applications for the SY 2021-2022 Spanish Visiting Teacher Program can be found here. The application deadline is Monday, March 29. For more information, contact Rebecca Estes.

Office of Academics / Title Grants and Support

REMINDER: 2021-2022 Title I Schoolwide Program Guidance Available

2021-2022 Schoolwide Program Guidance is now available. Under ESSA, LEAs have greater flexibility regarding schoolwide programs. Increased flexibility under ESSA has allowed all schools, regardless of poverty, to have access to a schoolwide program as long as it meets the needs of the lowest achieving students in the school. To be approved for schoolwide status, schools must submit an electronic Assurance of Schoolwide Plan. The assurance must be completed by Friday, June 18, prior to submission of the 2021-2022 Title I Application. For additional information, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact Cole Dietrich.


REMINDER: Affirmation of Consultation Form

IDOE updated the editable Equitable Services Affirmation of Consultation Form (ACF) on Friday, January 29. Updated ACF resources and tutorials will be posted in the near future on the IDOE Ombudsman page. You can find the updated form here, in the alert box. This new ACF will be used for Title I-A; Title I-C; Title II-A; Title III-A; Title IV-A; and 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC). The new ACF will replace all outdated documentation. You should make sure to discuss ESSER I and GEER I during Spring Consultation, if applicable. Please attach the new ACF to all future Title grant applications. The new ACF does not need to be uploaded for ESSER I or GEER I; also, the new ACF will not be used for ESSER II or GEER II, as neither are subject to Equitable Services. If you have any questions, please reach out to Andrew Mazur, or call 317-232-9150.

Office of Information Technology

REMINDER: Data Exchange Onboarding

IDOE is working closely with SIS vendors to support the onboarding of schools to the Data Exchange solution. Schools are being onboarded in groups as their SIS vendor reaches certified status and may check the status of SIS Vendors currently working toward certification on the Vendor Certification Status document. Schools will be onboarded following a vendor’s certification.

Training for Data Exchange is provided separately from the onboarding process. Additional information regarding Data Exchange training and implementation can be found in the IDOE Moodle “Data Exchange Training and Community” Course (no enrollment key required). Questions can be directed to


REMINDER: State Matching Funds Available for Qualified Fiber Projects

IDOE is announcing its participation in the E-rate match program for special construction projects. Under this program, schools with qualified projects, approved for funding by the Universal Services Administration Company, can receive up to 20 percent of the funding for the project above their E-rate discount as a blend of state and federal funds. More program details and the application for the state matching program are available here. Applications for the matching program are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, March 26. For more information, please contact John Keller.

Office of Educator Licensing

NEW: Summer Licensure Test Transition

IDOE is pleased to announce that many of the Praxis content and pedagogy licensure tests, approved for use in Indiana, will be available for early administration starting Thursday, July 1. The Department has been working with both the current and incoming licensure test vendors to provide an earlier transition between the Pearson CORE and the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Praxis test programs than previously planned. By transitioning to the new test early, IDOE is working to provide greater convenience for teachers -- allowing them the option to use either test during this transition period.

Registration and preparation materials, including one free interactive practice test per test area, will be open and available in mid-May. More details about how to access the registration site and preparation materials will be provided later this spring. Additional information will be posted here. Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact Risa Regnier.

Offices of Early, Elementary and Secondary Learning

NEW: Continuous and Accelerated Learning Guidance Coming Soon

As the end of the school year approaches, schools and parents are likely thinking about summer learning opportunities. IDOE plans to release new guidance regarding continuous and accelerated summer learning in early March.


REMINDER: Register now for the Productive Math Struggle Workshop

Discover how to implement and support student productive struggle in the math classroom. This FREE full-day in-person workshop provides participants with key points from Productive Math Struggle by John SanGiovanni, highlights action activities with demonstrations, and supports intentional planning time. K-12 educators, administrators, and instructional coaches are encouraged to participate. The book will not be provided. Participants may purchase the book, but it is not required to attend or participate in the workshop. Complete this form to register. A virtual attendance option is also available. For additional information, please contact Emily Bruning.

Office of Digital Learning

REMINDER: February is Indiana Digital Learning Month

IDOE is partnering with organizations and educators to provide several opportunities to learn about strengthening student learning experiences with the effective use of technology in a blended learning environment. Register for the last Digital Learning Month webinar, “Digital Learning in the Secondary Classroom,” on Tuesday, February 23 from 4 to 5 p.m. ET. Four junior high and high school teachers will share how they are using their favorite apps in the classroom. Check out the Digital Learning Month website for details on events throughout the month of February and follow the #INDLmonth. Contact Meri Carnahan with questions.


REMINDER: Digital Learning Book Study Begins Monday, February 22

This spring, IDOE will be reading and discussing The Interactive Class: Using Technology to Make Learning More Relevant and Engaging in the Elementary Classroom by Joe and Kristin Merrill. The book study will begin the week of Monday, February 22. All participants will earn up to 18 PGPs. To participate in this self-paced book study, join the Moodle course using the enrollment key “interactive.” Contact Meri Carnahan with questions.

Office of Academics / Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness

NEW: Updated Missing Children Memo

The Indiana Clearinghouse for Information on Missing Children and Missing Endangered Adults has updated its reporting procedures. The reporting should be completed online going forward. Click here to access the updated memo and here to access the online form used to report missing students. If you have questions, please contact Lisa Truitt or Maggie Paino.


REMINDER: Diploma Seals Order Form

The online form to order Diploma Seals for the 2021 Cohort is now live. Please see this memo for more details. Contact Michelle Clarke with questions.


REMINDER: Educating the Whole Child Summit is Wednesday, February 24

There is still time to register for the third Educating the Whole Child Summit hosted by the Indiana School Mental Health Initiative and IDOE. This conference is being held virtually on Wednesday, February 24, and the cost is $20 per person. The focus of the summit is Equity and SEL: Fostering a Safe Environment for All. To register, click here.

Office of Special Education

NEW: IDOE Seeking Diverse Group of Stakeholders

The Office of Special Education is seeking a diverse group of educators, parents, and others to serve as stakeholders for Indiana’s State Performance Plan / Annual Performance Review, as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Stakeholder involvement requirements include: engaging in setting targets, analyzing data, developing improvement strategies, and evaluating progress for each of the 17 federal special education indicators. For questions, or to provide contact information for interested educators or parents, please contact Traci Hackleman.


NEW: Temporary Medicaid Filing Limit Waiver for 2020 IEP Medical Services

School corporations that were unable to meet Medicaid's 180-day filing deadline in 2020 now have an additional 90 days, beginning Tuesday, February 16, to submit claims for covered IEP-required medical services provided from January 1, 2020 forward. Medicaid will not automatically adjust schools’ 2020 claims previously denied for late filing; these must be resubmitted during the temporary 90-day waiver period in order to be reconsidered for payment. Please consult your school district's medical billing agent vendor for technical assistance. Contact Tracy Brunner if you have questions.


NEW: IDEA, Part B Grant Reminder

Currently, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has not provided an extension to the FY 2020 grant. This means that both the FY 2019 and FY 2020 grants will close on Thursday, September 30. All expenses must be encumbered on/before that date in order to be eligible for reimbursement from either grant. Expenses that occur after Thursday, September 30 cannot be paid from FY 2019 or FY 2020 funds. Please continue to utilize these two grants and request reimbursement so that no funds are lost.

LEAs can request reimbursement for FY 2019 and FY 2020 until Wednesday, December 15 for the expenses made prior to Thursday, September 30. Final reports are due within 30 days of the final reimbursement request but no later than Wednesday, December 15. All templates can be found on Moodle in the folder for the appropriate grant year. Please contact your assigned grant specialist, found on Moodle, if you have any questions.


NEW: OSEP Fast Facts

The OSEP’s Fast Facts summarizes key facts related to specific aspects of the data collection authorized by Section 618 of the IDEA. This includes data collected through child count, educational environments and settings, discipline and exiting data collections. OSEP has provided Fast Fact sheets on Hispanic and/or Latino children with Disabilities, Black or African American children with Disabilities, Asian Children with Disabilities, as well as Children Identified as having Emotional Disabilities. To view these Fast Facts, click here.


NEW: Materials from IIEP Single Sign-On Transition Webinar

Linked here are the slide deck and recording from the WebEx IIEP LINK/Single Sign-On Transition Webinar #1, held on Thursday, February 4. Included in the recording are frequently asked questions about the LINK transition. Please reach out to Colleen Pawlicki with any questions.


REMINDER: OSE Wants to Hear from YOU!

OSE would like to do some short topic based webinars in the near future. Please use this Google form to share what topics you’d like us to focus on. Please contact Michelle Oja with any questions or concerns.

News From Our Partners

NEW FROM THE HUNT INSTITUTE: Early Childhood Webinar for Elementary Principals

The Hunt Institute is excited to partner with the National Association for Elementary School Principals (NAESP) for a special session on preparing elementary school principals – many of whom come from backgrounds working with older children – to be leaders in early childhood. This webinar will take place on Tuesday, March 2 at 2 p.m. Register here to join this important conversation.



February is Black History Month! Asante Children's Theatre of Indianapolis has developed a free, virtual Black History Month program that schools across the state can use to teach, inspire and engage students. Check out the curriculum guide, and the full program video



The Indiana State Museum is offering spring break camp opportunities for students in grades one through six. Camp will be offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 22-26 and March 29-April 2. Scholarship opportunities are available. To learn more, visit the Indiana State Museum online or contact Hazel Theriault.


REMINDER FROM THE FAMILY AND SOCIAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION: Providing Pandemic Electronic Benefits to Indiana Families

The Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Family Resources (DFR) continues to partner with Indiana schools to provide Pandemic Electronic Benefits to Indiana families as the Public Health Emergency continues. The February 2021 issuance is the third issuance DFR has collaborated on to successfully distribute P-EBT Benefits to eligible families. This communication provides information regarding the data submission process, P-EBT card issuance status, federal update in amount received for P-EBT, and proposed future question and answer webinars.

DFR has also updated the P-EBT website and FAQs based on questions received from school personnel.

IDOE Newsletters Centrally Located

All Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) newsletters are located in one convenient location. Please find January updates and past issues here.

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Weekly Updates

View previous weekly updates from Dr. Katie Jenner here.

Stay Informed

Did you miss a message? View previous weekly emails here. Want daily updates? Be sure to follow the Department on Twitter and Facebook.

The Weekly Update from the Indiana Department of Education is created by the Office of Communications, and is distributed every Friday morning.