An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for May 7, 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

As educators, when we reflect back to our own time in school, many of us can quickly pinpoint those teachers who we were inspired by as a student...and who we still try to emulate now.

For me, one of those teachers was Ms. Wanda Pride. Ms. Pride was my high school geometry and AP Calculus teacher and was one of my favorites as a young student. She had incredibly high expectations, yet we always knew she cared. Her toughness was a reflection of her passion for the teaching profession, her content area (math!), and most importantly, for us, as students. Thank you, Ms. Pride!

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we’ve asked our IDOE team, as well as our friends on social media to share their stories of a teacher who helped to shape them into the person they are today. Here are a few highlights:

“I have been lucky to have had many great teachers!! One that is memorable is Mrs. Brenda, my fourth grade teacher (New Market Elementary in Crawfordsville). In her classroom I remember playing lots of math games, reading amazing books, and receiving encouragement. Her positive spirit and approach to teaching made learning so much fun!” -- Fern Bachner, CACFP Nutrition Specialist

One of my favorite teachers is one of the first I can really remember. My second grade teacher, Mrs. Gentry (St. Michael’s in Greenfield), worked with me on slowing down and paying attention to details. Even today, when I find myself getting rushed, I remember the tips she would give me and it helps me to recenter.” -- Steve Balko, Director of School Building Security

Mrs. Benko and Mr. Dickel (both of Mater Dei High School and both Drs. now) always had a way of making learning fun. They also sponsored various extra-curricular activities in which I was involved, which showed that they cared about helping their students develop not only as learners, but also as people. These two teachers, along with some others that I was fortunate to have, played a strong role in who I became as an individual and my decision to pursue a career in education.” -- Jacob Koressel, Computer Science Specialist

“I had a lot of great teachers in @andersoncomsch. I'll especially shout-out Mr. Wegner & Dr. Mularkey at AHS (honors English classes); @karenlynnsipes (one of my SSMS English teachers); and all of my teachers at 29th St. Elementary School. Still proud to be a product of ACS!” -- Sam Snideman, @sam_snideman on Twitter

I had so many amazing teachers that influenced my life, but Mrs. Amick (10th grade English & etymology at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne) would lead the bunch. She taught me the importance of good writing and pushed me to meet her very high standards because she knew my capabilities better than I did. I attribute my status as an ardent reader to Mrs. Amick because she showed me how to connect to characters and immerse myself in the world created by the author, something that an introverted teen in high school certainly cherished. Most importantly, Mrs. Amick encouraged my classmates and me to be independent thinkers and to be unafraid to share our true selves with the world.” -- Maggie Paino, Director of Accountability

“My favorite teacher was Mr. Staubach (Pike High School). He was my symphony teacher and the reason I showed up to school every day! I was a struggling student who loved music, but had trouble focusing on academics. Mr. Staubach would check on my grades and made sure I took time to study. He even helped me prepare for my audition and college applications. If it wasn't for him, I may not have graduated and I wouldn't have pursued a college degree. Thank you Mr. Staubach!” -- Christen Peterson, 21st CCLC Grants Specialist 

"Mr. Klopfenstein (Southport High School) was one of my favorite teachers growing up. He taught me that my words have the power to make real change, which ignited my passion for journalism and writing. Now, I wake up every day doing something I love and giving back to the schools that shaped who I am. For that, I will be forever grateful.” -- Niki Smithers, Communications Specialist

As educators, we play an invaluable role in developing and supporting our students as well as our fellow educator colleagues. Thank you for all you are doing to elevate this meaningful profession...and for cultivating a school environment that promotes student and educator success.

COVID-19 Updates - Academic Implications and Financial Information

NEW: Graduation Requirements for 2020-2022 Cohorts

In collaboration with the Indiana General Assembly, IDOE 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-19. Language included in House Enrolled Act 1549 ensures students negatively impacted by COVID-19 still have an opportunity to graduate. Full guidance can be found here. If you have any questions regarding this guidance, please contact Michelle Clarke.


REMINDER: Student Learning Recovery Grant Program and Fund

IDOE is now accepting applications to fund community and school partnerships to help accelerate student learning this summer and beyond. In order to deploy resources as soon as possible and support potential summer programming, grant applications are due Wednesday, May 12. Additional information can be found here. Questions about the program or the process may be directed to


REMINDER: Accelerated Learning Virtual Panel

Join IDOE, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, North Central Parke Community School Corporation, and Muncie Community Schools on Tuesday, May 11 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. for a discussion about creating and implementing accelerated learning plans. This live panel will be recorded and posted to the Accelerated Learning website for anyone unable to attend. Join the session using this link and submit questions in advance here. Contact Niki Smithers with questions about the panel.


REMINDER: Important Updates to ESSER II and III Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions for both ESSER II and III have been updated on the IDOE ESSER website. ESSER III guidance, in particular, has been updated to include return to in-person instruction plans recently released by the US Department of Education. Contact Cole Dietrich with questions.

Office of Accountability

REMINDER: 2021-2022 Corporation Amendment Window

The corporation/school profile amendment submission window is open now through Tuesday, August 31. 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 Wrapping Up

State participation for ILEARN is now approaching 90% for English/Language Arts and mathematics. Corporations and schools must administer any remaining paper tests by the end of the day today, Friday, May 7 and any online tests through next Friday, May 14. Once paper testing is complete, Corporation Test Coordinators (CTCs) must transcribe student responses from large print and braille test books to regular test books in order for responses to be recorded. Review transcription instructions in the ILEARN Test Coordinator’s Manual. CTCs must securely destroy secure test materials, as described in this guidance. CTCs must ship all ILEARN 3-8 test materials to the scoring vendor no later than next Friday, May 14. Materials shipped after this date will not be scored. CTCs should arrange for materials pickup by FedEx from the school or corporation address. Contact the Office of Student Assessment or the Indiana Assessment Help Desk with questions.


NEW: 2021-2022 Formative Assessment Grant Guidance for Schools

IDOE releases 2021-2022 Formative Assessment Grant Guidance for schools. The guidance includes program updates based on new laws adopted during the 2021 legislative session specific to kindergarten through grade two and high school. Contact Michelle Kemper with questions.

Office of Information Technology

NEW: Principal Survey on Graduation Pathways

In collaboration with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, and the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, IDOE is gathering insights from school counselors and principals about their experience with implementation of Graduation Pathways. Responses received through this survey will be critical to guiding future activities during this discovery process, such as interviews and listening sessions, and provide frontline insight to inform the best possible solutions. Please respond to this survey by Friday, May 14.


NEW: Certified SIS Vendor Announcement

IDOE is excited to announce National Heritage Academy (NHA) as an Indiana Ed-Fi Certified SIS Vendor for Data Exchange in the 2020 - 2021 school year. For those schools engaged with NHA, the department will begin coordinating the onboarding process for Data Exchange. The department is continuously working with SIS vendors toward Indiana Ed-Fi certification, with specific data elements required for reporting in Data Exchange for the 2020-2021 school year. Questions may be sent to


REMINDER: 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

NEW: School Year 2021-2022 Membership Count Dates

The State Board of Education recently approved school year 2021-2022 membership count dates. The fall membership count date is Friday, September 17. The spring count date is February 1, 2022. Please read this memo for more information. If you have any questions, please contact Amy Pattison or Melissa Ambre.


NEW: Annual Office of School Finance Budget Workshop

The annual Office of School Finance Budget Workshop will be held virtually on Wednesday, June 30 at 9 a.m. ET. Staff will provide updates on the tuition support formula, data exchange, and other legislation affecting finance. Stay tuned for more information regarding this virtual event.

Office of Special Education

NEW: Indicator 1 (Graduation Rate) and Indicator 2 (Dropout Rate) Stakeholder Meeting on Tuesday, May 18

IDOE is hosting two virtual stakeholder input sessions on Indicator 1 (Graduation Rate) and Indicator 2 (Dropout Rate). The meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, May 18 at either 9 to 11 a.m. or 5 to 7 p.m. ET. Registration is required and will close on Friday, May 14. For more information, please contact Kristan Sievers-Coffer.


NEW: FY 2022 State Application Posted for Public Comment

All states applying for funds under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are required to make the application and proposed budget available for public review and comment. The application and proposed budget can be found here. Comments will be accepted through Friday, May 21 and should be submitted to with the subject “State Application for Part B Funds.”


REMINDER: Indicators 9 and 10: Disproportionality in Identification Stakeholder Meeting on Tuesday, May 11

IDOE is hosting two virtual stakeholder input sessions on Indicators 9 and 10: Disproportionality in Identification. The meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, May 11 at either 9 to 11 a.m. or 5 to 7 p.m. ET. Registration is required and will close on Friday, May 7. For more information, please contact Kristan Sievers-Coffer.

Office of Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness

NEW: SEL Universal Screener Grant Application

IDOE is offering a grant opportunity to provide school districts with the Panorama SEL Screener at no cost to schools. Please review the overview of the grant in order to understand district and school commitments and requirements for the grant opportunity. Only one JotForm application should be submitted by Friday, May 21 at 6 p.m. ET. Please contact Christy Berger with any additional questions. 


REMINDER: Public School Transfers

IC 20-26-11-32 requires public school corporations, that accept out of district students, to report to IDOE the date by which requests to transfer must be received. This information should be reported using this JotForm no later than Friday, May 28 and will be posted on the Public School Transfers webpage. If transfer students are accepted during the duration of the school year, please use the last day of school for the 2021-2022 school year. Please contact Lisa Truitt with questions.


REMINDER: 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 Teaching and Learning

NEW: STEM School Certification

IDOE announced this week the seventh cohort of schools to be certified as STEM Schools. These schools completed the rigorous application process to establish their designation. A map and list of these STEM Certified Schools can be found here.


NEW: Secondary ELA Diverse Texts Book Club

This is an opportunity to collaborate with Secondary ELA educators from across the state on the topic of teaching diverse books. Participants will be asked to read each week and prepare resources that can be utilized in the classroom. Click here for more information and to register. Contact Kelly Waller with any questions.


REMINDER: Submitting Elementary Reading Plans

Indiana Administrative Code requires all public schools and state accredited nonpublic schools that have any students enrolled in kindergarten through grade three to complete and submit an elementary reading plan to IDOE by close of business on Wednesday, June 30. IDOE has streamlined the submission process, through use of a JotForm, for both public schools and state accredited nonpublic schools. This short how-to video has been created to assist schools in completing the new form. Please contact Joe Risch with questions.


REMINDER: 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.


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.


REMINDER: Purple Star School Designation

The Purple Star School Designation honors schools that have displayed a significant commitment to service members, veterans, and students and families connected to our nation’s military. IDOE will honor the second cohort of schools earning this designation in the fall of 2021. Please review this memo for more information. Contact Jennifer Watson with questions.

Office of Title Grants and Support

NEW: WIDA eWorkshop Series: Ensuring Equity for Multilingual Learners

District and school leaders are invited to join WIDA and IDOE’s English learner team for a three-part facilitated workshop series this June. Participants will reflect on their school’s policies and systems in order to craft a team-based leadership action plan that promotes equitable educational opportunities for multilingual learners. Details and registration information can be found on the Indiana English Learner PD Opportunities Calendar. For questions, please contact Erica Sponberg.


REMINDER: EANS I Applications Due Monday, May 17

IDOE’s EANS I Application will close on Monday, May 17 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Locate the application, allowable uses, and additional resources on IDOE’s EANS website. Those who do not intend to apply are asked to email To allow for proper processing of this information, please include your NPS Code.


REMINDER: 2021-2022 Indiana Dual Language Immersion Pilot Grant

The 2021-2022 Indiana Dual Language Immersion Pilot Program Grant is now available. This grant provides funding to public school corporations that establish or expand dual language programs in Mandarin, Spanish, French, or other languages approved by the department. Submit all grants by Tuesday, June 1. Click here to learn more, or contact Nicole Leach with questions.

News From Our Partners


Individuals 16+ are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who are 16 or 17 years old are eligible to receive the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. The Indiana Department of Health anticipates that the FDA will provide emergency use authorization for individuals 12 to 15 years old next week. As a reminder, when an individual of any age is fully vaccinated (two weeks after the second shot of a two-dose vaccine, or two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine), they no longer must quarantine even if they are considered a close contact as long as they remain asymptomatic. During the school day (even if fully vaccinated), please continue to take all COVID-19 precautions, including masking, physical distancing, and frequent hand hygiene.



The IU Fairbanks School of Public Health, in partnership with the Indiana Department of Health, is gathering information from parents regarding attitudes and COVID-19 vaccine intentions for school age children. The survey is anonymous and will gather valuable information that will assist in planning efforts for the upcoming school year. Superintendents and/or principals are encouraged to share the survey link with the parents and caregivers of students via any or all preferred methods (email, social media, etc.). Contact Dr. Nir Menachemi with questions.


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. Now through Friday, May 28, the data submission portal will be open to complete corrections and submissions for the issuance periods April, May and June 2021, Summer 2021 P-EBT, and Corrections for October-December 2020 and January-March 2021. Details and eligible days are outlined in the following communication.

For the 2021 Summer P-EBT Window, ALL schools participating in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, or Community Eligibility Provision are eligible for summer P-EBT, regardless of their summer schedule or programs. Similarly, ALL students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch for the 2020-2021 school year qualify for Summer P-EBT, regardless of their participation in any summer classes or programs. This includes eligible students who graduate as part of the Class of 2021. Summer P-EBT is a one-time submission, open now through Friday, May 28. There will be no corrections for the summer after this window closes, so it is critical that schools complete their submissions by the Friday, May 28 deadline.



Evidence shows that high quality, community afterschool programs can accelerate academic performance by extending learning and increasing student engagement. This new two-page overview is designed to help families, schools, and communities understand the ways in which afterschool programming can help students catch up and keep up this summer, particularly those who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Contact Lamont J. Hulse with questions.



The Early Childhood Center’s Data Dashboard is now available. To inform data-driven decision making, it includes district specific data on: the demographics and number of children receiving special education services, the percent of children receiving inclusive services, child impact data, and combined literacy and inclusion percentages from preschool to grade three. View the dashboard here.


NEW FROM ROSE-HULMAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: Free Alternative Energies Summer Training

This summer, Rose-Hulman PRISM will be facilitating the Sustainable Alternative Energies Summer Boot Camp for Indiana STEM teachers, grades four through 12. The purpose of this free program is to provide teachers a true “boot camp experience” in sustainable alternative energies, combining academic professional development with vocational site visits to alternative energy providers in Indiana. Teachers can also receive, upon completion of the institute, 45 Professional Growth Points to apply on their Indiana teacher’s license renewal. More information is available here. Please contact Bob Jackson with any questions.



The Indiana Resource Center for Autism is conducting a needs assessment survey. Information from previous surveys has been used to better understand the status of services in Indiana, identify additional support and funding needs, and inform policy makers. Participation is voluntary, and all information is confidential. To participate in the survey, click here. Contact Dr. Cathy Pratt  with questions.

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.

Stay Informed

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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.