An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for April 23, 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 start of the ILEARN test administration this week, we are now in the final assessment window for this 2020-2021 school year. While we know, as educators, that multiple measures should be used when understanding a student’s learning, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your work and provide a brief status update.

As I recently shared at our April State Board of Education meeting, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Indiana educators continue to shine! In addition to the majority of schools teaching predominantly in-person, we have witnessed incredible assessment participation rates during the 2020-2021 academic year, and this is a testament to the outstanding leadership of teachers and administrators across our state.

Your local leadership makes such a’s what the in-person participation numbers look like statewide:

ISTEP+ – During the Spring 2021 (February) ISTEP+ Retest window, approximately 91 percent of high school juniors completed the math and English/Language Arts assessments.

WIDA – Approximately 94 percent of the students anticipated to test this year completed in-person, online testing (January to March); in-person paper and pencil numbers will cause this percentage to further increase.

IREAD- 3 – At the end of the testing window (March), 97 percent of third grade students completed testing.

I AM and ILEARN – Currently in progress.

Hoosier educators and administrators have worked relentlessly over the last year to continue providing quality instruction for all students. As we begin to shift from pandemic response mode to recovery mode, we will continue to approach all challenges with a solution-focused mindset, knowing that with each challenge comes great opportunity.

When using state and local-level data, educator teams can provide a student-centered approach by understanding where our students are, and strategically providing targeted interventions, remediation, and acceleration, as determined appropriate for each student.

We will also remain future-focused by partnering with the National Center for Assessment to better understand the status of learning in specific content domains, equity gaps, foundational learning in early grades, and more. This partnership will provide our state with conclusions and recommendations looking forward. We know that understanding the implications of the pandemic is not a “one and done study.” We anticipate this initial study will highlight other research well as a progress monitoring effort.

In partnership with you, we are committed to using this and other data to empower educators as we work together to boldly consider what’s possible in education…and ensure all students have the essential building blocks necessary as they move from one grade level to the next.

And speaking of data, be sure to check out the Data Exchange information (led by Dr. John Keller) below to learn more about Indiana’s efforts to modernize how data is collected and accessed in order to improve student outcomes!

To all of our educators, including teachers, staff, and administrators...keep up the great work and thank you for all that you do!

COVID-19 Updates - Academic Implications and Financial Information

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 Enrolled Act 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: Partnering to Support Stronger Transitions for Students

IDOE is excited to collaborate with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Ivy Tech, and Vincennes on a new initiative to help thousands of Hoosier students, on the cusp of completing a high-demand credential or the Indiana College Core, to cross that finish line! To learn more about the Crossing the Finish Line initiative, click here.


NEW: Graduation Qualifying Exam Waiver

In collaboration with the Indiana General Assembly, IDOE has secured a waiver for students who did not achieve a passing score on the graduation examination and were unable to take the graduation examination during the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID. Language included in House Enrolled Act 1549 ensures students negatively impacted by COVID still have an opportunity to graduate.


REMINDER: 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.

Office of Accountability

REMINDER: 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 are being accepted now 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


REMINDER: Five-Year Graduation Rate Audit of 2019 Cohort Closes Friday, April 30

The submission window for the five-year graduation rate audit of the 2019 cohort is closing on Friday, April 30. This audit is voluntary and is similar to the process for the voluntary four-year graduation rate audit. Please see this memo for details about the audit and visit the Moodle School Accountability & Accreditation Community (Graduation Rate > Audits) for additional audit resources.  Questions may be directed to


REMINDER: 2021-2022 Corporation Amendment Window

The corporation/school profile amendment submission window will open on Monday, May 3. In order to ensure IDOE houses accurate information, all public school corporations, charters, and nonpublic state accredited schools must notify the department when changes are made that affect school configuration(s) prior to the beginning of the school year for which the changes will take effect. This includes if a corporation decides it wants to create a virtual school. Information on the process may be found here. Questions may be directed to

Office of Student Assessment

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

The ILEARN 3-8 test window will be open through Friday, May 14, while the ILEARN ECA window will be open through Friday, May 21. IDOE continues to observe high levels of participation in week one. Thank you for your continued efforts. Contact the Office of Student Assessment (OSA) at 317-232-9050 with any questions or issues that arise.


NEW: Ensure Correct Test Accommodations in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE) Before Testing Begins

Accommodation issues were the number one topic of educator calls this week. Please do not test students if accommodations are not correct in TIDE. Contact the STN Application Center (800-527-4931) for assistance, if needed. Additionally, Test Coordinators and Test Administrators (TAs) should review the ILEARN Spring 2021 Online Test Form Assignments for Students with Accommodations to ensure appropriate test forms are selected for students with accommodations and to avoid testing irregularities. The test form labels match those in the Test Delivery System (TDS). Contact OSA with any questions.


NEW: Additional ILEARN Q&A Session Scheduled!

IDOE will host an additional live question and answer session on Friday, April 30 from 10 to 11 a.m. ET. IDOE understands that as the ILEARN administration window progresses, educators may have additional questions. Attendance is optional and all educators are welcome. Registration is required for the live session. Contact OSA with any questions.


NEW: ISTEP+ Retest Spring 2021 Results Available in the Online Reporting System (ORS) 

The results for the ISTEP+ Retest Spring 2021 administration are available in ORS. All ISTEP+ Retest forms are automatically rescored. Therefore, all scores are final. Please communicate these results with parents/guardians in a timely manner. A variety of resources related to score reporting are available on the ISTEP+ portal. Contact OSA with any questions.

Office of Early, Elementary, and Secondary Learning

NEW: Dyslexia Screening Data Due Wednesday, June 30

Indiana’s “Dyslexia Law” requires all charter schools to report dyslexia screening data. This is not an elementary reading plan. IDOE streamlined the data submission process to a single online form. All charter schools must submit dyslexia screening data from the 2020-2021 school year by close of business Wednesday, June 30. Please use this link to submit this information to IDOE. Please contact Joe Risch with questions.


NEW: IREAD-3 Remediation Toolkit Now Available

This toolkit is intended to provide high-level recommendations for schools working to create focused instruction for students who did not pass IREAD-3 this spring. Students who did not meet proficiency should receive additional, focused reading instruction directed at skill deficiencies revealed by the Individual Student Report. This may take the form of a “bootcamp” during the school day, before or after school, or during a summer program. Contact Robin LeClaire with questions.


NEW: Application for Learning Walk Partnership Now Open

IDOE recently hosted an informational meeting regarding the schoolwide implementation of non-evaluative learning walks. Those unable to attend may review this recording and slide deck. For additional information regarding IDOE’s plan to partner with 10 districts in the 2021-2022 school year, please visit this website. The application for consideration may be accessed here and is due Wednesday, April 28. Please contact Matt Walsh with any questions.


NEW: Computer Science Professional Development with IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing

Through funding from IDOE, the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI will offer a free Summer 2021 Computing by Design Teachers Training Program, offering a variety of professional development workshops designed for Indiana high school and middle school teachers. These opportunities are intended for teachers in all instructional areas preparing to teach a standalone course or integrate computer science activities into other areas. Workshops will be held virtually with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Click here to register. Contact Vicki Daugherty or Jake Koressel with questions.


REMINDER: 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 Information Technology

NEW: Milestone Dates Announced to Complete Transition to Data Exchange

There are several milestone dates schools should note to ensure alignment and preparation for the transition to Data Exchange. This memo contains critical dates for all Indiana traditional public schools, public charter schools, and accredited non-public schools (choice and non-choice) in preparation for certification of school data in Data Exchange. Schools will be connecting to Data Exchange via their Indiana Ed-Fi Certified SIS vendor. A SIS Vendor Certification Status list can be found here. Additional information on implementation of Data Exchange can be found on the Data Exchange website. Please contact with questions about these dates or about the Data Exchange system.

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: Checklist to Assist with Federal Requirements During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This checklist is recommended for use by local educational agencies to self-assess local policies and guidance provided to staff regarding federal requirements for special education programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. The requirements in this tool have been derived from federal statute and regulation, along with policy guidance from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs. For questions, please contact Dr. Nancy Holsapple.


NEW: Aspiring Special Education Leadership Institute, Cohort 2

The Office of Special Education (OSE) is dedicated to ensuring equity, access, and the development of Aspiring Special Education Leaders through professional training, practical application, and networking opportunities. To apply for the Aspiring Special Education Leadership Institute, please complete this application. For questions, please contact Dr. Nancy Holsapple.


NEW: Indicator 13: Secondary Transition/Transition IEP Checklist Updated

The Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center has updated the Transition IEP Checklist to better align with the way the Transition IEP is set-up within Indiana IEP. All Teachers of Record are encouraged to use the checklist to make sure IEPs are aligned with the requirements for Indicator 13. For questions, please contact Michelle Oja.


NEW: Indicator 15: Resolution Sessions and Indicator 16: Mediation Stakeholder Meetings 

OSE will be hosting two virtual stakeholder input sessions on Indicator 15: Resolution Sessions and Indicator 16: Mediation. The meetings will be held on Tuesday, May 4, from 9 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. EDT. Registration is required and will close on Friday, April 30. For questions, please contact Kristan Sievers-Coffer.

Office of Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness

NEW: Student Safety Group Grant Opportunity

IDOE is providing a competitive grant opportunity for the creation of student-led groups focusing on school safety. Eight school districts will be awarded up to $12,000, which may be utilized to pay a stipend for the teacher leader, student conference or training, supplies, etc. One application per district should be submitted. A scoring matrix will be used to identify awarded applicants. Applications are due by Friday, May 14. Please contact Jason Murrey with any additional questions. 

Office of School and Community Nutrition

NEW: Child Nutrition Emergency Operational Costs Reimbursement Programs

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service is offering additional funds to state agencies for distribution to local operators administering certain Child Nutrition Programs whose revenues declined during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. IDOE’s Office of School and Community Nutrition is currently working on calculations and will relay information to sponsors as it becomes available. When the funds are received, they must be deposited in the nonprofit food service account and will be subject to the same performance/allowable cost rules as other reimbursement funds. Click here for more information. Please contact Tina Herzog with questions.

News From Our Partners


The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), in conjunction with IDOE, is partnering with the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health to gather information from parents regarding attitudes and COVID-19 vaccine intentions for school age children. In May, ISDH will send out a link to an anonymous survey and would like your assistance in disseminating to parents. The results will assist in planning efforts for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. A copy of the survey questions can be found here. Questions can be directed to Dr. Nir Menachemi.



According to a new report from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education:

  • Just 59 percent of the graduating high school class of 2019 enrolled at the certificate, two-year and four-year degree levels, a drop of six percentage points over five years. 
  • At the same time, 21st Century Scholars’ college-going rate improved two percentage points to 88 percent. Scholars go to college at higher rates than their low-income (35 percent) and higher-income peers (64 percent) and are the only group on track to close Indiana’s college-going equity gap. 

Recommendations in the Readiness Report include: helping students find the right educational fit for their goals; emphasizing programs such as the 21st Century Scholars program; strengthening the educator pipeline and increasing FAFSA filing rates. Read the full report here.



The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis is asking Indiana high school principals to complete a brief survey related to dual credit policies and practices in your school. This feedback will assist CELL as they engage in work to help craft local, state and national policy recommendations to support college acceleration efforts. To participate in the survey, click here. The survey will remain open through Friday, May 7.


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. Beginning Saturday, May 1, through Monday, May 31, the data submission portal will be open to complete corrections for the issuance periods of October-December 2020 and January-March 2021. During this timeframe, data can also be submitted for April and May 2021. Additionally, for the May 2021 issuance, schools are permitted to project student eligible days. DFR will also begin to accept student eligibility for a new issuance period known as Summer P-EBT.  For additional details, please see this communication.



Work to Include and the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities will be presenting the Employment First Virtual Summit 2021, a three-day summit addressing competitive employment for all. This free summit will be held Tuesday, May 25, through Thursday, May 27, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. daily and is designed for people with disabilities, family members, state agency leaders, and advocates. Sign up for the Work to Include newsletter at to receive an invitation. Contact Susan Rinne with any questions.


REMINDER 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


REMINDER 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.

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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