An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for March 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 the arrival of warmer spring temperatures, winter weather forecasts of snow and ice shift to spring weather forecasts that include a threat of severe weather. While teaching and learning is the primary role of our schools, as educators, we are acutely aware of additional responsibilities, including keeping our students safe during severe weather.

Each year at this time, Indiana recognizes Severe Weather Preparedness Week. As part of this, IDOE has partnered with the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the Indiana Broadcasters Association, the American Red Cross, and Amateur Radio Operators to conduct a statewide tornado drill.

Thank you to everyone who took part in this effort. For schools enjoying spring break this week, our IDOE team and partners encourage the coordination of a tornado drill when you return to class. This is also a great opportunity to review your severe weather plans and procedures and get to know our IDOE School Safety Team.

In keeping with this school safety focus, I want to take a moment to highlight an inspiring story out of Avon Community Schools. Earlier this month, one of their School Resource Officers (SRO), Officer Tyler Jean, was traveling between schools when she heard over her radio that someone nearby was experiencing an overdose.

Feeling in a position to help, she responded quickly and administered naloxone and CPR. She soon realized, though, that this individual was not the only person in need of assistance and that there was a second unconscious individual in a separate nearby vehicle. An off-duty paramedic was able to continue assisting with the first individual, allowing Officer Jean to administer CPR and stabilize the second until additional help could arrive.

Not only is Officer Jean working daily to protect students and the Avon community at-large, but she is also contributing to her community and our state as a lifelong learner. She has earned two master’s degrees in social work and education, and just this month, she gained her State Licensure as a Licensed Social Worker.

Oh, and did I mention she was nearly seven months pregnant when this happened? What can you say other than…WOW, and thank you! Officer Jean is a prime example of the many courageous and selfless individuals serving Hoosier schools and is an inspiration to all of us. Thank you, Officer Jean!

As we continue to share these stories, I hope our educators, administrators, and all school personnel feel our immense appreciation for the work that you do every day. In addition to helping students succeed academically, you are cultivating the type of physical and social environment conducive to learning and thriving, and your work is making a difference!

COVID-19 Updates - Academic Implications and Financial Information

NEW: Accelerated Learning Models

The opportunity to accelerate learning to make up for lost instructional time due to COVID-19 is a top priority for families, schools, and community organizations across Indiana. IDOE is committed to providing these key stakeholders with the guidance and support they need to develop collaborative partnerships and construct comprehensive accelerated learning plans for Hoosier students. The previously linked accelerated learning models will also be available on IDOE's new Accelerated Learning webpage under "Guidance." For questions regarding these models, please contact Eimear Towler.


NEW: Accelerated Learning Assessment Planning Guide

Indiana’s Accelerated Learning Plan will include assessment guidance to support identification of learning needs and progress monitoring. Families, schools, and community organizations can leverage students’ spring assessment data to design instructional plans for summer 2021 and accelerate student learning for the 2021-2022 school year. Review the Accelerated Learning Assessment Planning Guide for more details. For questions, please contact Mary Williams.


NEW: Accelerated Learning Professional Development

IDOE invites schools and community partners to join the webinars listed below, where IDOE staff will discuss Indiana’s Accelerated Learning Plan. Registration is not required, and webinars will be recorded for those unable to attend live. For more information, contact Nicole Smithers.




Webinar Link

Tuesday, April 6

4 to 4:45 p.m. ET


Join Here

Wednesday, April 7

7 to 7:45 a.m. ET


Join Here

Monday, April 12

4 to 4:45 p.m. ET

Community Partners

Join Here

Thursday, April 15

7 to 7:45 a.m. ET

Community Partners

Join Here


REMINDER: Congress Passes Third Federal Stimulus Package

Last week, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the third round of COVID-related federal stimulus dollars. Indiana is poised to receive nearly $2 billion for public schools as well as an additional estimated $81.7 million for nonpublic schools. According to the legislation, at least 20 percent 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.

Office of Accountability

NEW: IDOE Seeks Public Comment on Federal Waiver Request

IDOE is inviting the public to provide feedback regarding the state’s request for a one-year waiver from the U.S. Department of Education regarding federal accountability requirements. Specifically, IDOE is requesting a waiver from the following:

  • Annual assignment of federal ratings based on 2020-2021 data;
  • Identification for federal statuses of Comprehensive, Targeted, and Additional Targeted Support based on 2020-2021 data;
  • Measurement of progress toward long-term goals based on 2020-2021 data;
  • Adjustment of a school’s academic achievement (proficiency) score based on a participation rate below 95 percent; and
  • Annual reporting of certain data related to accountability based on 2020-2021 data.

Individuals who wish to provide comment are encouraged to complete and submit this JotForm no later than Friday, April 16. Questions may be directed to

Office of Student Assessment

NEW: I AM Q&A Sessions Registration

Registration is available now through Wednesday, March 31 for the optional I AM Q&A sessions, hosted by IDOE. Questions can be submitted during registration. To register for an I AM Q&A Session, click the registration link below, then select ‘register.’

For more information, contact Karen Davies.

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: Continuous Learning Challenges

IDOE’s Continuous Learning Challenges for spring are now available! These weekly choice boards are designed for students in kindergarten through high school and provide activities for students to complete on their own or with a little help. Contact Matt Walsh with questions.


NEW: Formative Assessment Grant Final Report Extension

In response to local feedback, IDOE will provide additional time for schools to complete Formative Assessment Grant final reporting for SY 2020-2021. Review the updated timeline for details. Contact Michelle Kemper with questions.


NEW: Kickstarting Kindergarten

IDOE recognizes that our early learners may need support, this year more than ever. The department is recommending the use of CARES money to implement a Kickstarting Kindergarten Program. This one-pager highlights the work of a successful program from Fairfax County, Virginia that has yielded increases in learning outcomes for early learners. For further guidance, please contact Robin LeClaire.


NEW: Free Coding Bootcamp for Indiana Teachers

CodeHS is partnering with IDOE to run month-long Java, JavaScript, Python, and Cybersecurity online bootcamps with virtual weekly classes. These bootcamps are designed to help computer science teachers build their programming skills and content knowledge. The bootcamps are free for Indiana public and public charter high school teachers. Teachers who complete the bootcamp will receive the following:

  • a $300 stipend,
  • professional development certificate of completion for 15 hours, and
  • enrollment in one CodeHS online professional development course.

Learn more and sign up here. Contact Jacob Koressel with questions.


REMINDER: 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.

Office of Information Technology

NEW: Webinar Introducing Changes for the 2021 School Tech Plan Survey

IDOE will host an informational webinar on Wednesday, March 24 at 2 p.m. ET introducing the revised Tech Plan Survey. The updated survey will include traditional questions as well as new questions focused on digital learning and the implications of the pandemic for 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. Please register for the webinar here. Additional information can be found on IDOE's website. 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

REMINDER: 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.


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 Special Education

NEW: Indiana IEP (IIEP) Updates

Important updates to the IIEP system were released Friday, March 12. These releases are available on the Office of Special Education’s Moodle page under “March 2021 Release Notes” in the “Upcoming Releases” folder. For more information, please contact Colleen Pawlicki.


NEW: Guidance on Human Reader Accommodation

The Offices of Special Education and Student Assessment outlined additional clarification for students whose formal plans require the use of a Human Reader accommodation on statewide assessments. Please review this memo for more details. Contact Colleen Pawlicki or Karen Davies with any questions.


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: Indiana Food Service Directors Recognized by USDA

Four Indiana food service directors have been recognized by USDA for their tremendous efforts. Learn more about these inspiring local program operators by watching this video, created by IDOE, to celebrate their achievements!

News From Our Partners


With the release of the 2021 Early College Credit Report, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education officially unveiled a new name for the Statewide Transfer General Education Core: the Indiana College Core. Along with the rebrand, the Commission committed to building a suite of thoughtfully produced resources and strategies to support a more thorough understanding and improved implementation of the Core. Please take a few minutes to offer your thoughts and guidance via this survey by close of business Friday, April 9. Your input will help shape the messages and resources the Commission develops to support the Indiana College Core. If you have questions, contact Stephanie Sample.


NEW FROM THE FAMILY AND SOCIAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION: Providing Pandemic Electronic Benefits to Indiana Families Portal, Policy, and Support Updates

The Division of Family Resources (DFR) continues to partner with Indiana schools to provide Pandemic Electronic Benefits (P-EBT) to Indiana families. Currently, the submission window is open for data submissions for January and February 2021, along with accepting corrections for October to December 2020. Please note that, due to changes in federal regulations, data must now be submitted by month.

Under the new guidelines, there is no five day minimum to meet Tier 2 eligibility status. That is, if a school was closed for one or more days due to the public health emergency, delayed opening by one or more days, or offered a hybrid model (between remote and in-person learning), the school will qualify as Tier-2 Eligible. This eligibility change extends to the October-December 2020 window. In addition, if even a single student participated in virtual learning due to the public health emergency, or missed school because they had to quarantine due to COVID-19, the school qualifies as a hybrid model and therefore qualifies as Tier-2 Eligible. More information is available in this communication.

To aid with the submissions process, DFR will be hosting office hours twice weekly on Tuesdays from 2 to 3 p.m. EST and Thursdays from 9 to 10 a.m. EST. These are informal drop-in sessions for data administrators to join as needed to ask questions regarding the data submission process and/or eligibility and program information. To join these sessions, please register using this link.



All teachers and staff in PK-12 and childcare programs are 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.


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. 

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