An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for May 14, 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

May in Indiana has become synonymous with racing season, as we welcome international viewers to our Indy 500 race, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing!” And, also for thousands of high school seniors (and educators!) across the state, it is graduation season. The moment a student walks across the stage can bring about a multitude of emotions, not just for the students, but also their families and educators. There is a sense of pride in their achievement and anticipation for what lies ahead.

This year’s seniors are likely to feel these same emotions, even though their high school experience has been anything but typical. As we have all witnessed this year, the pandemic posed a unique set of challenges impacting these students’ time in the classroom, time spent with friends, and potentially their preparations for life after high school.

In recognition of these challenges and the important role of education in every child’s life, the state of Indiana is partnering with institutions of higher education to help our graduating seniors “cross the finish line” and “bridge the gap” between high school and their future. These brand-new initiatives will take place during the summer of 2021 and are designed to accelerate student learning and jumpstart a world of opportunity for eligible students. Check out additional details below:

Crossing the Finish Line Initiative – Through the Crossing the Finish Line Initiative, Indiana high school graduates can take advantage of free summer coursework at Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University. Students who are close to completing a high-demand credential or the Indiana College Core can receive free tuition, fees, books, and certain other expenses for completing this valuable coursework over the summer.

Eligible students were contacted directly by either Ivy Tech or Vincennes earlier this month. These institutions will continue to work one-on-one with interested students to identify the courses still needed to earn their respective credentials and help them develop a plan to reach completion. School principals were also provided a list of eligible students and will play a vital role in empowering students and families to complete the interest form and follow-through to enrollment. Students can learn more information on how to enroll at Ivy Tech via Students can learn more information on how to enroll at Vincennes by contacting Nicole Shankle.

Bridging the Gap Initiative – Through the Bridging the Gap Initiative, students who do not currently meet college or career readiness benchmarks in English and math will also have access to free summer coursework at Ivy Tech.

Specifically, students will have access to Ivy Tech’s Knowledge Assessment program, which will offer individualized learning opportunities to help these students meet benchmarks critical to their future academic and career success. Students will also be enrolled in an introductory course at Ivy Tech that provides an overview of skills and strategies necessary to be college and career ready, such as goal setting, note taking, time management techniques, library resources, learning strategies and more.

Upon completion of the program, students will have earned college credit for the introductory course and will be able to enroll in entry level courses at Ivy Tech this fall without the need for further remediation. Similar to the process for the Crossing the Finish Line Initiative, eligible students will be contacted directly by Ivy Tech. Stay tuned for a formal announcement and additional details coming soon.

One of the most rewarding parts of being an educator is the ability to empower students to see what is possible for their life. For this year’s graduating seniors, the groundwork has already been set, yet we in the K-12 space still have an important opportunity to guide and empower them toward their greatest potential.

These initiatives are just two examples of how by working together, Indiana can (and will!) break down silos in education, blur the lines between K-12, higher education, and the workforce, and improve outcomes for all students. If you have students who are eligible in your school, please encourage them to enroll today! Their no-cost decision now will pay dividends for them in the future.   

COVID-19 Updates - Academic Implications and Financial Information

NEW: Clarification on ESSER III Return to In-Person Instruction Plans

Please see the updated ESSER III FAQ regarding guidance on schools’ required plans for returning to in-person instruction. Local education agency (LEA) plans must, to the extent practicable, follow CDC guidance regarding the safe reopening of schools. Contact your federal grant specialist or Cole Dietrich with questions.


REMINDER: 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.


Office of Student Assessment

NEW: Spring 2021 ILEARN 3-8 Online Window Closes Today!

Corporations and schools must administer any remaining ILEARN 3-8 tests today, Friday, May 14. Once testing is complete, Corporation Test Coordinators must securely destroy all printed student access cards, read aloud scripts, and other secure test materials. Review the Office of Student Assessment’s (OSA’s) updated guidance regarding test material return and destruction for the 2020-2021 school year. Contact OSA or the Indiana Assessment Help Desk with any questions.

NEW: Secure IREAD-3 Summer Retest Scripts Posted for Schools

Two secure scripts for IREAD-3 Summer Retest posted to CTCs’ secure inboxes in the Test Information Distribution Engine earlier this week. These secure documents should not be emailed or saved to local networks. CTCs must ensure Test Administrators (TAs) have access to the appropriate scripts before testing begins this summer. Contact OSA with any questions.

NEW: Optional IREAD-3 Summer Pretest Workshop Training Module Now Available

IDOE developed a recorded pretest workshop training for CTCs whose schools will administer the IREAD-3 summer retest to one or more students. This optional training outlines lessons learned from the spring test window, participation requirements, test security reminders, and information about use of results. Contact OSA with any questions.

Office of Information Technology

NEW: Synergy and ConceptSIS Become Ed-Fi Certified

IDOE is excited to announce Synergy (CMT) and ConceptSIS as Indiana Ed-Fi Certified SIS Vendors for Data Exchange in the 2020-2021 school year. For those schools engaged with Synergy and ConceptSIS, the department will begin the onboarding process for Data Exchange. Please be on the lookout for additional guidance. Schools may check the status of SIS Vendors currently working toward certification on the Vendor Certification Status document. Contact with any questions. 

NEW: Data Exchange Office Hours Available

IDOE’s Data Exchange Team is hosting office hours beginning the week of May 17. Data Exchange Office hours will be Tuesdays from 10 to 11 a.m. ET, and Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. ET. These office hours are for school personnel to ask questions and troubleshoot support with Data Exchange implementation. To join the office hours, login to the IDOE Moodle “Data Exchange Training and Community” course and select the page for Data Exchange Office Hours.


NEW: Critical Teaching Shortage Areas

IDOE is collecting information regarding the publication of teacher statistics, as required by IC 20-19-3-20. The purpose of this survey is to identify positions which are "critical shortage areas, as determined by unfilled vacancies.” This survey should be completed once by each school corporation and charter school for the 2020-2021 school year. Even if your school corporation has no “unfilled vacancies” to report, please complete the survey to help provide a complete picture of challenging staffing needs across the state. The survey will remain open through June 4. Contact John Keller with any questions. 


REMINDER: 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. Contact Matthew Demaree at KSM Consulting with any questions. 


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: Summer School Estimated Distribution

This memo includes information regarding the estimated distribution amounts for 2021 summer school. School corporations and charter schools included on the linked memo are eligible to submit a Final Costs Report during the submission period from July 26 through September 10. The final distribution amounts will be determined when actual expenditure data is received this fall. If you have any questions, please contact Teresa Hemmerle or Kathryn Roth


NEW: Annual Financial Report

I.C. 5-3-1-3 requires the secretary of each public school corporation to publish an Annual Financial Report (AFR). The report must be published once annually, not earlier than August 1 or later than August 15 of each year. Guidelines are available here and can also be found in Moodle Finance. The submission deadline is August 15. Please contact if you have any questions.


REMINDER: 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.

Office of Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellness

NEW: Guidance Memo Regarding Procedure for Potentially Missing Students Grades K-8

This memo provides guidance for school action when a student has not returned to school, not enrolled elsewhere, and not indicated homeschooling. Please reach out to Lisa Truitt with any additional questions.  


REMINDER: 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.

Office of Teaching and Learning

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 Title Grants and Support

NEW: Brustein & Manasevit Federal Grant and ESSER Training 

Brustein & Manasevit PLLC and IDOE are presenting a two-part workshop on federal education programs for programmatic and business administrators in LEAs/charters. This two-part training will include Uniform Grant Guidance/EDGAR (June 3) and COVID-19 relief funding as part of GEER, CARES, and ESSER. Click here to register for the June 3 session. Click here to register for the June 10 session, or register for both here. Contact or Cole Dietrich with questions.


NEW: Upcoming English Learner Leadership Meeting

Please join IDOE for an English learner (EL) leadership meeting to wrap up the school year on Wednesday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET. State EL leaders are encouraged to attend to hear news and updates. Participants will be able to collaborate with peers and give feedback on key EL topics. Meeting access links can be found in the Indiana English Learner PD Opportunities Calendar. Please join this meeting from a computer. For questions, please contact Emma Everson.


NEW: Indiana ILP Training

Join IDOE on Thursday, May 27, from 1 to 2:45 p.m. ET for an Indiana ILP (IILP) training. The training will walk users through the IILP system, demonstrate its features, and answer participant questions. Register here. To attend, please click the link in the Indiana English Learner PD Calendar. For questions, please contact Emma Everson.


NEW: Migrant Work Survey

As a reminder, the Migrant Education Program (MEP) Work Survey must be administered annually to all students in Indiana. The work survey should be included in the yearly registration packet and kept on file until the following year. Upon receipt of any positive responses to question two, the school corporation must contact its respective Migrant Regional Center (MRC) to determine final eligibility. MRCs will provide additional services for eligible migrant students. More information and frequently asked questions about the MEP can be found here. Please reach out to Emily Salinas with any questions.


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

NEW FROM THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available for Ages 12+

The FDA has issued an extension of the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allowing use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 12 years of age and older. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine here, and get the facts about the benefits of vaccination.



The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially opened the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program) to qualified applicants. The program offers:

  • Up to $50/month discount on service and associated equipment
  • Up to $75/month discount on for households on Tribal lands
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 on a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer

Those eligible for the EBB Program include anyone who experienced a substantial loss of income in 2020, those who qualify for SNAP benefits or the free and reduced school lunch programs, and households with incomes at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. Internet Service Providers must opt-in to provide the discounts.


NEW FROM THE INDIANA AFTERSCHOOL NETWORK: Creating Out-of-School Time Partnerships

This recorded video from the Indiana Afterschool Network’s Annual Summit discusses why school-community partnerships are important and what practices make them work. Contact Lamont J. Hulse with questions.


Schools can submit CTE funding appeals now through June 1. CTE funding levels are based upon statewide demand. If a region feels that regional demand for these related occupations is higher than the statewide demand, an appeal can be submitted for consideration of increased funding for the course.

Submitting appeals is a two-step process, housed entirely within the Gateway Indiana online platform. After CTE directors submit their appeals for approval, their school corporation superintendent will receive an email that requires his or her action within Gateway. The corporation superintendent must go into Gateway and approve the funding appeal to complete the appeal process. More information is available here. If you have questions, please contact


Indiana Career Explorer (INCE) is transitioning to a new vendor, Futures, Inc., on July 1. The current INCE platform, powered by Kuder, will remain available through June 30. This will remain a free tool for all Hoosiers, and will be available to all K-12 students. DWD and IDOE are working on training plans for school staff. Please contact Pam Warner questions.



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.


REMINDER 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.


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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