An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for April 16, 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

Following last Friday’s newsletter, our team has enjoyed seeing your videos, reading your messages, and hearing from you directly about why you chose this purposeful, difference-making education profession.

Regardless of who we’ve spoken to, the conversation has inevitably centered around our North Star: our students…and more specifically, our ability, in the K-12 space, to improve student outcomes.

We know that there is a direct link between a person’s educational attainment and their quality of life, health, employment, and living wage. Across Indiana, our K-12 schools are partnering with institutions of higher education, as well as leaders in business and industry, to provide pathways and opportunities for students that are intentional and focus not just on the student today but on the student’s lifelong trajectory.

As mentioned in a previous message, one of these intentional pathways is the Indiana College Core (formerly known as the Statewide Transfer General Education Core). Through this opportunity, students can take a 30-credit hour block of general education college-level work (while still in high school!) that transfers to any public (and some private) higher education institution in Indiana. The Indiana College Core may include a combination of courses in dual credit, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) with the final completion awarded by a higher education institution.

Currently, one in five Indiana high schools offer the Indiana College Core, and our data shows this number increasing as more educational leaders are learning about this opportunity.

Our team at IDOE and our partners with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (CHE) have renewed our commitment to helping schools implement the Indiana College Core with a focus on providing access to ALL students. It’s important that we work together to promote this opportunity and how it ties into our why.

A great example of this can be found in the School City of Hobart, where they strive to ensure all “Brickies” have equitable access to early college and career opportunities through Hobart University (HU). HU works with institutions of higher education, like Ivy Tech and Purdue University Northwest, along with community partners like NIPSCO and St. Mary Medical Center. In the words of Superintendent Dr. Peggy Buffington, through the Indiana College Core, “Brickies are soaring to success towards their future career.”

During the 2019-2020 school year, HU students earned a combined 7,704 college credits, with an estimated savings of over $1.1 million! This year, many of their graduates will proceed with one year of college under their belts and stackable credentials, and the program continues to grow. In fact, in just one year’s time, HU anticipates they will more than quadruple the number of seniors eligible to earn the Indiana College Core.

When asked what this early college experience means to her, one Hobart student in the class of 2021 shared:

“I decided to enroll myself in dual credit classes not only to challenge my academics but also to alleviate the financial burden that my parents will undergo. Taking dual credit classes has helped prepare me for college in numerous ways. Additionally, dual credit classes have permitted me to graduate with the Indiana College Core which is one year of general classes done through high school. Instead of entering college as a freshman, I’ll be entering as a sophomore. One of the greatest things about Hobart University is that all of the classes are free to take! I’m beyond grateful for the opportunities Hobart University through Ivy Tech has provided for my future.”

With students as our North Star, I personally believe there is no better way to illustrate the value of the Indiana College Core than to hear directly from the students it serves. I want to commend this student and all of her peers for taking advantage of these impressive learning opportunities, and also applaud the Hobart University team for making it possible. Through their work, students can see and achieve their greatest potential!

As always, thank you for your leadership and impact...and please, continue to share your why by submitting your video today to

COVID-19 Updates - Academic Implications and Financial Information

COMING SOON: Partnering to Support Stronger Transitions for Students

As the spring semester winds down, and we continue to identify ways to partner on accelerating student learning this summer, IDOE is excited to collaborate with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education on a new initiative to help thousands of Hoosier students, on the cusp of completing the Indiana College Core or a Technical Certificate/other CTE credential, to cross that finish line! Stay tuned for a formal announcement coming soon!


COMING SOON: Student Learning Recovery Grant Program

Hoosier schools, community organizations, and others, will soon have another opportunity available to forge local partnerships and accelerate student learning this summer. In anticipation of Governor Eric J. Holcomb signing House Bill 1008 (Student Learning Recovery Grant Program) into law, IDOE is finalizing a grant application and timeline for deploying these state funds. Look for an official roll-out coming soon.


NEW: Accelerated Learning Recorded Webinar for Schools

IDOE recently hosted a webinar discussing Indiana’s Accelerated Learning Plan. Those who were unable to attend are encouraged to watch this recording and review the accompanying slide deck. Contact Niki Smithers with questions.


NEW: ESSER III Information Now Available

Information regarding the new requirements related to ESSER III funding, timeline for release of allocations, and return to in-person instruction plans have been added to the IDOE ESSER webpage. ESSER III planning allocations can be found here. Please contact Cole Dietrich with any questions regarding ESSER funding.


REMINDER: Accelerated Learning Support Survey

IDOE is committed to supporting schools and community partners as they race to accelerate student learning in Indiana. Please complete this form to indicate specific areas in which your school or organization needs additional support and guidance as you develop your accelerated learning plans. Contact Niki Smithers with any questions

Office of Accountability

NEW: Accreditation (1003) Flexibility and School Improvement Plan Waiver Requests for the 2021-2022 School Year

Accreditation (1003) Flexibility and School Improvement Plan waiver requests for the 2021-2022 School Year will be accepted beginning Friday, April 16 through Wednesday, June 30. Schools may request to waive compliance from certain statutory or regulatory requirements to improve efficiency or student performance, promote innovative education, or advance the school's mission. Schools may also request to waive statute or regulation relating to curriculum or the selection of curricular materials. All Accreditation (1003) Flexibility waiver requests and School Improvement Plan waiver requests must be submitted through the accountability portal (select “flexibility request”). Questions may be directed to


NEW: 2021-2022 Corporation Amendment Window

The corporation/school profile amendment submission window will open on Monday, May 3. Information on the process may be found here. Please note that this process applies to both “brick and mortar” and “virtual” schools. Questions may be directed to

Office of Student Assessment

NEW: Spring 2021 ILEARN 3-8 and End-of-Course Assessment (ECA) Test Windows Open Monday!

The Spring 2021 ILEARN 3-8 and ECA windows open on Monday, April 19. Students enrolled in grades three through eight must participate in the appropriate content-area assessments. Students completing the high school Biology course this spring must participate in the ILEARN Biology ECA. Students completing the high school U.S. Government course may participate in the optional ILEARN U.S. Government ECA. Contact the Office of Student Assessment (OSA) with questions.


NEW: Winter 2021 ILEARN Biology ECA Results Are Now Final

The ILEARN Biology ECA results recently deployed in the Online Reporting System (ORS) are now final. Please be sure to communicate results with parents of students who participated in this winter window. Contact OSA with questions.


NEW: ILEARN 2021 Monitoring

OSA in partnership with Chamberlin/Dunn, LLC will conduct monitoring visits during the ILEARN Spring 2021 testing window beginning Monday, April 19. Please ensure that school administrators and staff are aware that these online visits will be conducted without prior notice. Click here for more details. Contact OSA with questions.


NEW: IREAD-3 and Granting Good Cause Exemptions (GCEs)

Granting a Good Cause Exemption (GCE) serves to exempt a student from future IREAD-3 testing requirements. Once a student is granted a GCE, the student will not participate in additional IREAD-3 retesting. Granting a GCE does not negate a student’s results or remove the student from the school’s percent passing calculation. Corporations and schools can grant a GCE based on spring or summer test results. Schools must report any GCEs to IDOE’s DOE-IR submission so they are on file for students moving forward. Contact the STN Application Center at 800-527-4931 for assistance reporting exemptions to IDOE.


NEW: WIDA Pre-Reporting Data Validation Window Closes Monday, April 19

The WIDA ACCESS Pre-Reporting Data Validation window closes Monday, April 19. The data validation process is designed to identify student demographic, accommodation, and test result records that could potentially contain errors and make corrections. This is the only opportunity corporations and schools have to edit student data prior to the release of initial results in WIDA AMS on Monday, May 24. Review the WIDA AMS User Guide Supplement: Data Validation for detailed information. Contact DRC Customer Support at 866-276-7735 for additional assistance.

Office of Early, Elementary, and Secondary Learning

NEW: Virtual Course Prioritization Educator Survey

Superintendents, high school administrators and high school counselors received an email on Monday, April 12 with a survey about well-rounded course access prioritization for students. Survey responses will inform which subjects and courses should be considered “high priority” and might be offered through a pilot project funded by a federal grant opportunity. Those interested in providing feedback should complete this survey by Friday, May 14. If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact Jenn Lightcap.

Office of Academics / Title Grants and Support

NEW: New Summer Implementation Guide

The Title Grants Out-of-School Time Workgroup created a Summer Implementation Guide for local educational agencies (LEAs) interested in learning how to start a summer program. For questions, please contact Erin Busk.


NEW: High Ability Program (HAP) Grant Reallocation

IDOE reallocated the remaining funds from the FY21 HAP grant appropriation to each participating LEA in the 2020-2021 High Ability Program. To receive the additional funds, schools must submit an amendment via JotForm by Friday, April 30. For further information, please contact Whitney Coake.


REMINDER: Upcoming English Learner Leadership Meeting Wednesday, April 21

Join the fourth English Learner (EL) Leadership meeting of the school year on Wednesday, April 21 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. EDT. This meeting will provide EL leaders across the state the opportunity to collaborate with peers, give feedback on key EL topics and hear news and updates from IDOE's EL team. Meeting access links are available in the Indiana English Learner PD Opportunities Calendar. For questions, please contact Emma Everson.

Office of Information Technology

REMINDER: 2021 School Tech Plan Survey Now Available

The 2021 School Tech Plan Survey is now available for all Indiana public schools and will be open through Friday, April 23. The updated survey includes 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. Links to this year’s survey and the guidance document, along with data from previous years, are available on the Indiana School Tech Plan website. Contact Meri Carnahan with any questions.

Office of School Finance

REMINDER: Transparency Portal

IDOE previously shared information regarding a new platform for school corporations to upload financial data as well as a new Form 9 step in compliance with state transparency requirements outlined in IC 5-14-3.7-3. As a reminder, the Periodic Supplemental Data Upload of Expenditures must be submitted by Friday, April 30. The following memo and FAQ document are intended to assist you in uploading this information. Questions can be sent to

Office of Special Education

NEW: Indicator 13: Secondary Transition Stakeholder Meeting on Thursday, April 22

The Office of Special Education (OSE) will be holding two Indicator 13: Secondary Transition stakeholder meetings on Thursday, April 22. The first meeting will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. EDT, and the second meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. EDT. Registration is required and will close on Monday, April 19. To participate, please contact Michelle Oja.


REMINDER: Office of Special Education (OSE) Looking for Lighthouse Leaders Nominees

A lighthouse is defined as a structure (such as a tower) with a powerful light that gives continuous or intermittent signal to navigators. Does this remind you of a teacher, administrator, related service provider or student you know? This person may have provided support, guidance, assistance, or even a kind word to someone in need. To nominate them for this recognition, please complete this form. Contact Nancy Holsapple with any questions.

Office of Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness

REMINDER: Mental Health Resource List

The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on the mental health of people of all ages, and now more than ever, it is critical to provide resources and support to those in need. Please see this resource for mental health supports. Contact Christy Berger with any questions.

Office of School Improvement

NEW: Frequently Asked Questions Related to Homeschooling

As students return to traditional classroom environments, there may be some families who choose other educational options, including homeschooling. This memo answers questions regarding the decision to homeschool. Contact Kimb Stewart with questions.

News From Our Partners

NEW FROM THE GOVERNOR’S WORKFORCE CABINET: Office of Career & Technical Education (CTE) Instructor Workshops

The Office of CTE will be holding several instructor workshops this month. These workshops are intended for CTE instructors implementing Next Level Programs of Study courses in the upcoming school year. Instructors interested in attending a workshop should register here. Please register for the workshop that is most applicable based on your teaching portfolio.

The dates and career cluster areas are as follows:

  • Workshop #1: Tuesday, April 20 from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. EDT (Advanced Manufacturing, Architecture and Construction, Transportation)
  • Workshop #2: Thursday, April 22 from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. EDT (Health Science, Public Safety, STEM)
  • Workshop #3: Tuesday, April 27 from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. EDT (Education and Training, Hospitality, and Human Services)
  • Workshop #4: Wednesday, April 28 from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. EDT (Agriculture)
  • Workshop #5: Thursday, April 29 from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. EDT (Business Mgmt. & Admin, Marketing, Finance, Arts, AV Tech & Communication, and Information Technology)

Topics covered will include developing an instructional map, potential grading practices, meeting dual credit requirements, and reporting enrollments to the state. Additional opportunities will be available in the weeks following these workshops for instructors to receive technical support from Office of CTE staff. Questions regarding the workshops can be sent to


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 during this Public Health Emergency. Currently, the submission window is open for data submissions for January, February, and March 2021, along with accepting corrections for October to December 2020. The submission window for January, February, March, and October-December Corrections closes today Friday, April 16. After the close of the submission window schools will not be able to add students for P-EBT benefits until the next window opens in May. Please finalize your submissions as soon as possible, even if your school is not eligible.

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 PHE, 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 PHE, 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.


NEW FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE: Virtual Weather Safety and Spotters Training

Following a recent partnership with Greensburg Community High School, the National Weather Service is providing an opportunity for additional Indiana schools to participate in a Weather Safety and Spotters Training course. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to identify clouds and weather features associated with severe weather while also learning how to stay safe during severe weather events. This virtual class will take place Wednesday, May 5 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. EDT. To register, click here.



The U.S. Department of Education released the COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs. This roadmap provides strategies for safely reopening all of America's schools and promotes educational equity by addressing opportunity gaps that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. To view this roadmap, click here.



April 2021 is School Library Month! AISLE members have prepared several pieces focused on this year’s theme, "School Libraries: Building Strong Connections." These are free to use for school libraries and can be found here.

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

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