An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for March 5, 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

Celebrating Hoosier educators who are doing amazing things for students allows us to elevate our profession and keep our eye on the good happening in our schools. And there’s certainly no shortage of success stories. To help spread that positive cheer, I want to highlight two recent stories illustrating Indiana principals’ leadership. These principals personify the spirit of education and are true role models when it comes to understanding their students’ needs.

The first is Jason Smith, principal at Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School on Indianapolis’ east side. Earlier this month, a student was sent to his office for refusing to remove his hat. Instead of sending the kid home, he decided to dig deeper into what was going on. As it turns out, the student recently received (what he perceived as) a bad haircut, and was afraid of being mocked by the other kids.

Mr. Smith ran home, got his clippers, and tidied up the student’s hair. This act of compassion allowed the student to return to the classroom and continue learning, while also building a positive relationship between the two. Mr. Smith chats frequently with this student about his day, and about his future, and beyond. Well done, Mr. Smith!

The second is Kirk Amman, principal at New Castle High School. Earlier this year, one of the teachers at his school, a veteran math teacher, was in hospice after being diagnosed with cancer. In addition to being a teacher, she was also a mother to one of Mr. Amman’s students, and it was her dying wish to see her son, Ryan, graduate.

Mr. Amman exercised incredible kindness to rally his team and organize a graduation ceremony that no one in that school auditorium will ever forget. On February 2, months before Ryan would officially graduate, he walked across the stage and accepted his diploma...just as his mother dreamed. Thank you, Mr. Amman!

As a former educator and a mother myself, it gives me so much joy, and frankly, hope for our future, knowing that Hoosier students have such incredible men and women leading their schools.

These are just two examples of the extraordinary work happening inside Indiana’s schools, and we know there are more out there. If you or someone in your school has a story that needs to be told, we would love to help tell that story. So please: keep sharing, and keep up the amazing work for Hoosier students!

COVID-19 Updates - Academic Implications and Financial Information

NEW: Emergency Assistance for Nonpublic Schools (EANS) Webinars

Federal CARES 2.0 established EANS. To provide additional information, IDOE, in conjunction with the Indiana Nonpublic Education Association, will host two webinars around allowable uses of EANS funding, possible reimbursements, creative use of funds, and the application and vendor process. Registration is required and can be completed by clicking the appropriate link: Tuesday, March 9 at 1 p.m. (EST) or Tuesday, March 9 at 4 p.m. (EST). Both webinars will be recorded for later viewing. You can also find frequently asked questions regarding EANS here. For additional information, please contact


REMINDER: Federal Assessment Guidance from U.S. Department of Education

In February, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance regarding federally-required spring assessments. Consistent with this guidance, Indiana is working to help schools administer assessments in a manner that prioritizes safety. While assessment data is one important step in identifying and addressing students’ learning needs, it’s important that schools and students aren’t penalized. Indiana has already requested a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for calculating accountability determinations this year, and IDOE is working with state legislators to ensure schools are held harmless for the test results by issuing a null grade for the current school year. Please contact the Office of Student Assessment with additional 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.

State Board of Education

NEW: Flexibility Waivers Available to Support Improvement and Innovation

This week, the Board highlighted a new guide to help local schools apply for flexibility from certain state requirements. As part of Indiana’s new Performance Based Accreditation System, created with the enactment of House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1003 during the 2020 legislative session, additional flexibility is now available to all public schools and state accredited non-public schools. The HEA 1003 Flexibility Waiver Applications are available for Indiana schools through the Indiana Department of Education’s Accountability Center. The full resource guide is available here, along with a quick reference guide. Contact Maggie Paino with any questions.

Office of Student Assessment

NEW: Spring 2021 IREAD-3 Test Window Opens Monday, March 8

The Spring 2021 IREAD-3 Test Window Opens Monday, March 8. Corporation Test Coordinators (CTCs) should ensure that all staff serving as Test Administrators (TAs) have access to the appropriate materials the day of testing, including the 2020-2021 IREAD-3 Test Administrator’s Manual (TAM). TAs must use the IREAD-3 Read Aloud Scripts for Accommodated Paper-and-Pencil Assessments for any students whose formal plan requires a human reader and a paper test. TAs must use the IREAD-3 Secure Segment 1 Script with all students except for those who are using the Hard of Hearing form. Scripts are available for download in the CTC’s Secure Inbox in TIDE. Hard of Hearing form directions are located in the IREAD-3 TAM for both online and paper-pencil testers. Please contact the Office of Student Assessment with additional questions.


NEW: Spring 2021 IREAD-3 Monitoring

The Office of Student Assessment will conduct monitoring visits during the IREAD-3 Spring 2021 testing window beginning Monday, March 8. The purpose of monitoring is to ensure fidelity of the test administration and test security requirements. Please ensure that school administrators and staff are aware that these online visits will be conducted without prior notice. Additional details can be found here. Please contact the Office of Student Assessment with additional questions.


NEW: WIDA ACCESS Test Window Closes Friday, March 12

The WIDA ACCESS test window closes Friday, March 12. Schools are federally required to assess 100 percent of identified English learners. Online test completion can be monitored in WIDA AMS. Today, March 5, is the final day to place Additional Materials Orders. The return of materials postmark deadline is Monday, March 15. Please contact the Office of Student Assessment with additional questions.


NEW: WIDA Screener for Kindergarten

The WIDA Screener for Kindergarten launches Tuesday, March 30. This assessment will replace Kindergarten W-APT beginning in the 2021-2022 school year. The WIDA Screener for Kindergarten will be available for use by schools this spring to assess and identify incoming kindergarten students for fall 2021. Stay tuned for more information coming soon. Please contact the Office of Student Assessment with additional questions.


NEW: ISPROUT Reports Training Sessions

Educators are invited to attend a training session to learn more about locating, generating and using the available reports in ISPROUT. Registration is now open for Tuesday, March 16 from 3 to 4 p.m ET or Tuesday, March 23 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. The sessions will be recorded for those unable to attend. Please contact the Office of Student Assessment with additional questions.


NEW: ISPROUT Individual Student Reports (ISR) for Families

The ISPROUT ISR for Families is now available. Details are located in the ISPROUT Professional Development dashboard as well as this recorded webinar. Please contact the Office of Student Assessment with additional questions.


REMINDER: ISTEP+ Retest Spring 2021 Online Testing Window Ends Today!

The extended ISTEP+ Retest Spring 2021 online testing window concludes today, March 5. Due to federal requirements, schools must attempt to complete testing for as many eligible students as possible. Please locally document any cases of student non-participation, whether due to COVID-19 quarantine or health concerns. ISTEP+ Retest Spring 2021 results are scheduled to be available Monday, April 19. Please contact the Office of Student Assessment with additional questions.

Office of Leadership and Innovation

REMINDER: 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.


REMINDER: 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

NEW: Advanced Placement Exam Ordering Deadline

Friday, March 12, is the final day to order Advanced Placement exams for spring courses and to make any changes to fall AP exam orders. AP coordinators are to ensure all students intending to test during any exam administration have an "Order Exam" status of "Yes" in AP Registration and Ordering. Additional information is available here. Questions can be directed to Whitney Coake.


REMINDER: High Ability Program Grant Final Report Due Wednesday, March 31

The 2019-2020 (FY20) High Ability Program Grant final report is due on or before Wednesday, March 31. The final report will be submitted via JotForm. Please prepare all responses prior to opening JotForm, as the report cannot be saved once activated. Please reach out to Whitney Coake with any questions.


REMINDER: College Board Releases Advanced Placement (AP) Exam Administration Options

College Board announced AP® Exam administration updates, including the updated exam schedule, testing options available this year, and the 2021 AP Exam Administration Timeline. AP Coordinators are encouraged to attend the free mini-workshop series to help determine a plan for the updated exam administration options. Please reach out to Whitney Coake with any questions.


REMINDER: International Baccalaureate Spring Exams

The International Baccalaureate Organization released guidance on the May 2021 exam session. Participating local educational agencies can find additional details here. Contact Whitney Coake with any questions.


REMINDER: Affirmation of Consultation Form

Updated Affirmation of Consultation Form (ACF) resources can be found on the IDOE Ombudsman page. The 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) and 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.

Offices of Early, Elementary, and Secondary Learning

NEW: Grade Five Hygiene Education

Pursuant to Indiana Code 20-30-5-9, IDOE and the Indiana State Department of Health collaborated to produce educator resources that assist in teaching hygiene education for grade five. These resources are located on IDOE’s Health and Wellness academics standards page. Please contact Matt Walsh with questions.


NEW: Formative Assessment Grant Guidance for School Year 2021-2022

Schools should review this guidance for information regarding planning for interim assessment administration for school year 2021-2022 through Indiana’s Formative Assessment Grant. Contact Michelle Kemper with questions. 


NEW: Updates to 2021-2022 Elementary and Secondary Course Descriptions

IDOE recently updated the 2021-2022 elementary and middle level subject descriptions as well as the course description for College-Entrance Preparation (0532). These descriptions will assist schools in communicating, in a broad context, the content of programs and courses. For more information, please contact Matt Walsh.


REMINDER: Computer Science Course Requirements

IC 20-30-5-23 requires that all public and public charter schools include computer science in the curriculum for students in grades K-12 after Wednesday, June 30, 2021. This involves standards-based instruction for all students in grades K-8. For high schools to be in compliance, at least one computer science course must be offered as an elective each year. See this page for related standards documents as well as a list of approved courses that can be utilized to satisfy the high school requirement. Please contact Jake Koressel with questions.


REMINDER: Computer Science and CTE NextLevel Programs of Study (NLPS)

IDOE is collaborating with the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet regarding Computer Science coursework embedded in the Next Level Programs of Study (NLPS). See this memo for additional guidance related to future computer science course options and pathways. Contact Jake Koressel with questions.

Office of Digital Learning

NEW: Educator Standards for Blended and Online Teaching

The State Board of Education has approved Indiana’s newly revised Educator Standards for Blended and Online Teaching (formerly Virtual Instruction). This memo provides more information about the standards and how they can be used. Contact Jennifer Watson with any questions.


NEW: Indiana Digital Learning Month

Thank you to everyone who participated in Indiana Digital Learning Month. A special thanks to the educators that partnered with IDOE to share their expertise. Take a look at the Digital Learning Month website to view recordings and resources from each of the webinars and to earn PGPs. For more information, please contact Meri Carnahan.

Office of Information Technology

NEW: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Releases Guidance on Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The FCC announced the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, a $3.2 billion federal initiative to help lower the cost of high-speed internet for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. A fact sheet is available to help schools understand eligibility requirements and communicate those requirements to families.

Here are four action items schools should take in response to this program:

  • Become familiar with the program.
  • Develop an outreach campaign for your school or school corporation to ensure that all individuals who can benefit from this program sign up as soon as possible.
  • Determine how this funding will factor into your uses of other COVID relief funding.
  • Use your student information system to record verification of home connectivity.

The program is anticipated to launch this spring. IDOE will share more information as it becomes available. For more information, please contact John Keller.


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: Public Comment on New Praxis Tests and Scores

The Office of Educator Licensing and the Office of Higher Education Preparation Programs and P-12 Partnerships posted three additional Praxis tests and recommended cut scores for public comment: middle school science, middle school mathematics, and secondary mathematics. Test information and the recommended cut scores can be found here. Public comment is open until Wednesday, March 31 at 5 p.m. EST. Please contact Risa Regnier with questions.


NEW: Annual Principal Survey Regarding Initial Educator License Holders

Indiana Code 20-28-11.5-9 requires each principal, including both charter and virtual schools, to complete an annual survey for any teacher employed in their building who was initially licensed in Indiana during the previous two years. The purpose of the survey is to assess the quality of preparation provided by the Indiana educator preparation program completed for licensure. IDOE is required to provide the survey form to principals during the second semester of each academic year, and it must close no later than August 1.

Once you have reviewed the corresponding resources, click here to launch the 2021 survey. To begin the 2021 survey, enter the access code provided to you earlier this week. Summary results will be shared with our educator preparation programs for program improvement purposes. Anonymous summary data will be posted here. Please contact Scott Bogan with questions or concerns. 


REMINDER: 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 School Finance

REMINDER: FY 2022 and FY 2023 State Tuition Support Projections

School officials have until Thursday, March 25 to review and/or update FY 2022 and FY 2023 formula data. The data projections have been prepared by staff at the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) and may be used by the General Assembly to forecast the costs of potential funding formulas. If you believe the LSA data projections are not representative of data for your school corporation, please input the appropriate estimate for both FY 2022 and FY 2023 projections. IDOE will forward a file containing all the estimated components to LSA on or before Saturday, April 10. Additional information is available in this memo. For additional questions, please contact Melissa Ambre.


REMINDER: Summer School Estimated Costs

The deadline to submit the Estimated Costs Report and List of Courses for Summer School 2021 is Thursday, April 1. In order to be eligible for reimbursement of summer school instructional costs, the Estimated Costs Report, Course List, and Final Costs Report must be submitted by the posted deadlines. It is recommended that you print a copy of your submitted Estimated Costs and Courses for your records. Additional information can be found here, or if you need further assistance, please contact Teresa Hemmerle or Kathryn Roth.

Office of Academics / Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness

REMINDER: IDOE and Department of Child Services (DCS) hold information session

Join the Social, Emotional and Behavioral Wellness (SEBW) team for an information session Wednesday, March 10 from 4 to 5 p.m. ET. IDOE and DCS staff will discuss educational neglect and how that is defined for hotline case managers, as well as prevention ideas and resources available through Community Partners for Child Safety. Click here to register. For additional information, contact Lisa Truitt.


REMINDER: IDOE and Covering Kids & Families hold information session

How does having healthcare coverage impact student performance? Who qualifies for Indiana Health Coverage Programs? What are common misconceptions about qualifying? What challenges do students and their families face in obtaining and keeping coverage? You will learn the answer to these questions and more during the SEBW team’s information session Wednesday, March 17 from 4 to 5 p.m. ET, hosted in partnership with Covering Kids & Families. Click here to register. For more information, contact Christy Berger.


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.

Office of Special Education

REMINDER: Registration Links for LINK/Single Sign-On Transition Webinars

To make the LINK/Single Sign-On Transition webinars more accessible, IDOE changed the webinar platform to Zoom, in partnership with PATINS Project. This change allows closed captioning and other accommodations for participants. Please re-register for the LINK/Single Sign-On Transition webinars, occurring on Wednesday, April 14, and Thursday, May 20. The updated registration link can be found in this memo. For additional information, contact Colleen Pawlicki.

Office of School Building Physical Security and Safety

REMINDER: Updated Vision and Hearing Information

In accordance with Indiana Code 20-34-3, vision and hearing screening requirements remain in effect for the 2020-2021 school year. This includes both in-person and virtual learners in the required grade levels. Updated guidance is now available for schools that have not yet completed these screenings. For more information, contact Jolene Bracale.

News From Our Partners


Under the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, all teachers and staff in PK-12 schools and childcare programs can now receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a Federal Retail Pharmacy, which includes Kroger, Meijer and Walmart. Teachers and staff 50 years and older can be vaccinated anywhere in the state at a vaccination site near you. Please remember that Kroger and Meijer have their own scheduling systems and cannot be scheduled through 211. Scheduling at Walmart for teachers younger than 50 will be available soon.



March 2021 marks 31 years of Disability Awareness Month in Indiana, sponsored by the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities. Disability Awareness Month is set aside each year as a time to recognize and promote the independence, integration and inclusion of all people with disabilities. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Disability Awareness Month campaign will be entirely virtual. Volunteers and participants are encouraged to use our digital campaign materials which can be downloaded here.


NEW FROM THE FAMILY AND SOCIAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION: Providing Pandemic Electronic Benefits to Indiana Families Upcoming Collection Window & Webinars

The Division of Family Resources (DFR) continues to partner with Indiana schools to provide Pandemic Electronic Benefits (P-EBT) to Indiana families. The next collection window for student data submission will open on Monday, March 8, and remain open until Friday, April 16. Corporations and schools must submit eligibility data for January and February 2021 during this period through the FSSA P-EBT Portal, accessible via the IDOE LINK Portal.

Student data corrections for October to December 2020 will also be accepted through the portal during this period for eligible day count and date of birth only. Please refer to the submission guidance information and parent flyer on the FSSA: DFR Pandemic EBT website. Specific details regarding the changes to the P-EBT submission process and the corrections process can be found in this communication.

DFR will also host two training webinars to explain the process of submitting corrections and to review the changes made to the data submission process. Please join us on Thursday, March 11 from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, or on Friday, March 12 from 10 to 11 a.m. EST. RSVP to one of these sessions using this link.


NEW FROM VISIT INDIANA: Vote for Indiana’s Best High School Gym!

All eyes are on Indiana as the state prepares to host the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. In 49 states, basketball is just a game, but here, it just means more. This is never more evident than in Indiana's high school basketball arenas. From Monday, March 8 to Thursday, April 1, Visit Indiana readers will be deciding where Indiana’s best high school gym is located. Each person can vote once a day, so if your school or corporation is included, be sure to engage! Encourage students, faculty, and community members to vote each and every day until Thursday, April 1. These are massive bragging rights! Check out our Tourney Time landing page on Monday to see every included school. Contact Josh Alsip for more information on how to get involved. 


NEW FROM PATINS: Simplified Qualification Process for Accessible Educational Materials through the Indiana Center for Accessible Materials (ICAM)

The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled has issued new eligibility guidelines for their services based on changes to copyright made by the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act. Additional information on this simplified qualification process, can be found here, or by calling PATINS Director Daniel McNulty.

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.

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