An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for March 12, 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

A recurring theme in meetings this week has been officially crossing the one-year mark of the pandemic. A year ago almost to the day, our world was rocked personally and professionally as COVID-19 was declared a “global pandemic,” and the implications soon followed. I enjoyed listening to one superintendent in particular who was reminiscing about where he was this time last year and what his district has accomplished since then. Thank you, Dr. Dan Hile, Superintendent of Smith-Green Community Schools, for sharing.

What a year we have experienced, but oh how far we have come…we’ve made significant strides together during the 2020-2021 school year. Our students have worked incredibly hard, not only in their studies, but also in athletic and other extracurricular activities. This weekend, I’m looking forward to attending a high school play with my family in my hometown of Madison and showing our support for the great work that has continued in Hoosier schools despite the pandemic.

You -- our educators -- have also worked extremely hard to care for our students, not just academically, but also socially and emotionally...and you’re working at impressive rates to keep students in the classroom. While some of our schools have held classes in person the entire school year, others are ramping up to a full-time, in-person option after weeks using a hybrid or virtual model. Still, the vast majority of Hoosier schools are meeting face-to-face, and I want to commend you for making this possible!

It’s certainly been quite a year, and I bet many of you are looking forward to spring break as a time to relax, recover, and rejuvenate…and understandably so! It can be easy to find other ways to fill this time…whether that be chores around the house, running errands, or countless other things you simply have not had time to do.

My sincere hope for you this spring break is that you are able to take some time for yourselves. Consider going for a walk, unplugging from technology, taking a nap, reading a book...whatever you enjoy most. Take time for YOU.

Just like we’re all champions for our students, we must champion our fellow educators, too. In Indiana, we know the importance of educator wellness, including promoting positive relationships with students and staff, creating effective classroom climates, and managing a work-life balance. To help you achieve this and more, our Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness team has resources for adults that you can access on our website whenever you need additional support.

As always, thank you for all that you do! Ohh...and don’t forget to “spring” ahead this weekend.

COVID-19 Updates - Academic Implications and Financial Information

NEW: Congress Passes Third Federal Stimulus Package

This week, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the third round of COVID-related federal stimulus dollars. Indiana is poised to receive approximately $2.86 billion for education, including about $1.8 billion for public schools, $81.7 million for nonpublic schools, and $705 million for higher education. According to the legislation, at least 20% of schools’ funds must be used to address learning loss through evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs. Additional information will be forthcoming.

State Board of Education

REMINDER: Flexibility Waivers Available to Support Improvement and Innovation

Last 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: I AM Test Administrator's Manual (TAM) and Test Coordinator’s Manual (TCM) Now Available on the I AM Portal

The I AM TAM and TCM are now available on the I AM Portal. Test Administrators (TAs) are required to review the TAM prior to the administration of I AM. Test Coordinators must review the TCM prior to the administration of I AM. Please contact the Indiana Assessment Help Desk if you have any questions.


NEW: ILEARN Spring 2021 Educator Scoring Application Window Closes Wednesday, March 17

The application window for educators interested in scoring open-ended ILEARN items closes on Wednesday, March 17. Educators should complete any remaining steps of the application process by this date. Please contact the Indiana Assessment Help Desk with questions.

Office of Leadership and Innovation

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

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: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) School Recertification

IDOE announced this week that 88 schools across Indiana are certified as leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with seven of these schools earning recertification in 2021. Each of these schools completed a rigorous application and review process, which must be repeated every five years to remain certified. View a complete list of Indiana STEM Certified schools here.


NEW: Virtual Tools for Teachers Workshops

IDOE is offering Hoosier educators an opportunity to work with peers across the country to review, update, and create instructional resources for Tools for Teachers. This professional development opportunity will take place in summer 2021. Review this flyer for details or contact Michelle Kemper with any questions.


NEW: The What, Why, and How of School-Wide Learning Walk Implementation Webinar

Teachers, if you are looking for ways to improve student outcomes by tapping into the expertise of your colleagues, please join IDOE on Tuesday, April 13 at 4 p.m ET for an informational session on the what, why, and how of school-wide learning walks. With support from IDOE, teacher teams will implement learning walks as a sustainable and scalable practice in the fall. Register for the informational session here. For more details, contact Matt Walsh.


REMINDER: College-Entrance Preparation (0532) Updated for 2021-2022

IDOE recently updated the course description for College-Entrance Preparation (0532).
Schools may review all current course titles and descriptions by visiting the IDOE website. For more information, please contact Matt Walsh.

Office of Information Technology

NEW: Data Exchange Training Update

In preparation for certification of Calendar and Attendance data for Thursday, July 1, IDOE released additional Data Exchange training modules for reporting School Calendar, Calendar Session/Grading Period, and student data. All training is available in the IDOE Moodle “Data Exchange Training and Community” course (no enrollment key required). Contact Data Exchange with any questions.


NEW: 2021 School Tech Plan Survey Coming Soon

IDOE will provide a guidance document and worksheet to support completion of the updated 2021 School Tech Plan survey. The updated survey will include traditional questions as well as a new question focused on digital learning and the implications of the pandemic on your technology environment and practices. Completion of this survey is the requirement for all public schools to qualify for the connectivity formula grant, the common school fund, and grants from IDOE’s Office of Academics. Additional information can be found here. Contact Meri Carnahan with any questions.


REMINDER: 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 School Finance

NEW: Common School Advancements

The Office of School Finance is now accepting applications for construction and technology loans from school corporations and school corporation career and technical education schools through Wednesday, April 14. Petitions must be received by the Office of School Finance by this date to be considered. Applications can be found in the Public School Finance Community in Moodle under Common School Funds > Spring. Questions can be directed here.


NEW: Supplemental Financial Reporting – Transparency

This memo provides an overview of the new platform for school corporations and charter schools to upload financial data in compliance with state transparency requirements outlined in IC 5-14-3.7-3. This includes two components: Supplemental Data Upload and Step Eight Fund Balance Detail. Step Eight was completed as part of the recent Form 9 financial data submission. The Supplemental Data Upload of expenditure data should be completed by Friday, April 30. Please direct any questions to Form 9.


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

NEW: Indiana Accelerated Learning Roadmap

As schools begin formulating plans for summer and extended learning opportunities, IDOE will provide a set of resources and research-based practices to support accelerated learning planning aimed at fitting the unique needs of each schools’ students. These targeted resources and supports will focus on the why, what, and how of accelerated learning and are outlined in this newly released flyer. More information coming soon.


NEW: Free Professional Development Request Form

IDOE’s Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness team provides schools a variety of professional development opportunities. Topics that can be covered include: educator wellness, Social and Emotional Learning 101 and 201, suicide prevention and much more. Please submit your request here. For more information, contact Christy Berger.


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.

Office of Special Education

NEW: March is Disability Awareness Month

To help schools share awareness of disabilities, the IDOE Office of Special Education has put together activity ideas for all grade levels. Please send any questions to Michelle Oja.


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. The slide deck and recording for the March 4 webinar are available online. For additional information, contact Colleen Pawlicki.

Office of School & Community Nutrition

NEW: USDA Announces Extension of Summer Waivers

USDA has announced the nationwide extension of several waivers that allow all children to continue to receive nutritious meals this summer when schools are out of session through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Summer Seamless Option (SSO). The waivers:

  • Allow meals served through SFSP and SSO to be made available in all areas at no cost;
  • Allow meals to be served outside of the normally required group settings and meal times; and
  • Allow parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children, including bulk pick-up to cover multiple days of feeding children.

These flexibilities for SFSP and SSO are now available through Thursday, September 30, or when the 2021-2022 school year starts, whichever comes first. Contact Julie Sutton with any questions.

News From Our Partners


Currently, teachers age 50 and older can receive a free COVID-19 vaccination at any state vaccine clinic, and those under 50 can receive a vaccination from Meijer or Kroger. Beginning Monday, March 15, all teachers and staff in PK-12 and childcare programs will be able to schedule a vaccine at any state site by going to or calling 211. Appointments in your immediate area may be scheduled out several weeks, so be sure to look at surrounding counties, which may have earlier availability.


NEW FROM THE FAMILY AND SOCIAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION: Providing Pandemic Electronic Benefits to Indiana Families Collection Window Now Open

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 is now open and will remain open until Friday, April 16. Corporations and schools will now need to complete a submission for each month of eligibility separately. 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.

Corporations and schools must submit eligibility data for January 2021 and February 2021 during this window through the FSSA P-EBT Portal, accessible via the IDOE LINK Portal. If your school was directly invited previously to the P-EBT Portal, continue to login directly here. 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.



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.


REMINDER 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 to see every included school. Contact Josh Alsip for more information on how to get involved. 


REMINDER 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.