An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for May 21, 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

This unique school year is approaching its grand finale! Celebration is definitely in order for all you’ve achieved this year, as you’ve kept our schools open for learning at a remarkable level, a feat many of our peers nationwide have struggled to achieve.

Through these celebrations, though, I know many of you are already looking ahead -- to summer learning, to next school year, and the years beyond. Helping us to place these next steps into clearer focus (as one contributing factor) are the preliminary spring ILEARN results schools are beginning to receive this week.

Before we talk about this data, I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU for all of your hard work administering ILEARN this year. Because of your efforts, statewide we saw 97% participation in both the English/Language Arts and Math sections -- which really is incredible.

As we have talked about this federally-required assessment, we have emphasized the importance of utilizing the information gathered for informational purposes only. We know that English/Language Arts and math provide the foundational building blocks upon which future learning is achieved, and metrics in these areas, in particular, provide key insights into student learning. Today, we are starting to see this preliminary summative data come to light, and in addition to other data points, we now have the opportunity to analyze, plan ahead, and execute the strategic plans leading to improved outcomes.

While results will officially be finalized in July, based on preliminary data, we are seeing a drop in English/Language Arts and math scores. Considering the educational disruptions brought on by the pandemic, for many, this was expected and now confirmed. Specifically, while thus far, we are seeing a small drop in English/Language Arts scores, our state’s math scores are showing a more significant decline. As you are beginning to review your local school and corporation data, please know that you are NOT alone in seeing a decline. As mentioned above, with this data in hand, it’s now time to analyze, plan, and execute.

We know that the pandemic had widespread implications on schools and corporations across our state, and in order to move forward, we’ll need to narrow our focus to the individual student level. The impact to individual students has varied greatly -- some have continued to excel, while others have struggled to master fundamental skills.

So, where do we go from here? With the implications of the pandemic spanning two academic years, we cannot expect to recover in one summer or even one year alone. In fact, it’s likely going to take a long-term approach over the next several years.

As shared in previous newsletters, this ILEARN data will be the basis of a learning study that Indiana is conducting in partnership with the nationally-recognized Center for Assessment to better understand the data, provide additional recommendations, and progress monitor. Once initial reports are received later this fall, the learning study will continue to help us focus our resources and support as we come alongside the important student-level data analysis already taking place at the local level.

Dr. Charity Flores, and the academic team, remind me frequently (and I agree!)...we must start by looking at the data and allow that to guide our decisions. At the local level, depending on your role, this means making sure you have your classroom, school, or corporation formative data, summative data, and other relevant data indicators. To help get started, Dr. Flores’s team developed an initial one-pager on next steps to consider here. Over the coming months, let’s really dig in and analyze where our students are today, plan for the strategic acceleration to support each student, and execute the plan. Specifically, think about how mathematics learning can be emphasized, knowing our statewide data shows this will be a critical need area moving forward.

We can do this, Indiana… and our students are counting on us! Again, thank you for all that you’ve done and will continue to do for Hoosier students.

COVID-19 Updates - Academic Implications and Financial Information


Please see the Indiana Department of Education’s (IDOE’s) ESSER webpage regarding updated FAQs for ESSER II and ESSER III. Specific updates from this week are highlighted so they are easily identifiable. Please contact your federal grant specialist or Cole Dietrich with questions.


NEW: Accountability Updates for the 2020-2021 School Year

The U.S. Department of Education approved Indiana’s request for a waiver from certain federal accountability requirements, including the requirement to assign federal ratings for the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, no new schools will be identified for comprehensive or targeted support based on performance data from the 2020-2021 school year, and no A-F letter grades will be assigned (see Public Law 211-2021). The 2020-2021 proficiency rates on the ILEARN and ISTEP+ 10 assessments are still required to be published. Please contact with any questions.


NEW: ILEARN Data Analysis

Early sample data from ILEARN indicates that student achievement in language arts and math are impacted as a result of COVID-19. Math, in particular, saw a significant statewide decline. This flyer is intended to empower local leadership as they work to help students master math fundamentals. Contact the Office of Student Assessment with any questions.


NEW: IDOE and Indiana Afterschool Network to Co-Host Panel Discussion 

Strong partnerships between community organizations and schools are at the core of successful out-of-school time (OST) programs. As schools begin planning new ways to support students, utilizing relief funding, OST programs are an opportune partner to keep students on track academically while engaging in a safe and supportive learning environment. Join IDOE and the Indiana Afterschool Network (IAN) for a panel discussion on Wednesday, May 26 at 11 a.m. ET to learn more about how Indiana schools and OST programs are collaborating to enhance student success. To register, click here. Contact IDOE’s Erin Busk or IAN’s Lamont J. Hulse with questions.

Office of Accountability

NEW: 2020-2021 Calendar Certification

Student calendar data from the 2020-2021 school year are to be submitted through Ed-Fi and certified in the Data Exchange system. To assist schools in submitting accurate data, the following memo shares common errors identified in 2020-2021 student calendar data, submitted to date, as well as deadlines for addressing these issues. Contact with any questions.


NEW: 2020-2021 Legal Standards Assurances

In order to be compliant with legal standards for the 2021-2022 school year, schools and school corporations need only submit their 2021-2022 School Improvement Plans and 2021-2022 Educator Evaluation Plans respectively through the IDOE Online application. To streamline the process for local schools and corporations, the IDOE Office of Accountability will ensure this information is distributed to all necessary IDOE personnel. Please contact with any questions.

Office of Student Assessment

NEW: Spring 2021 ILEARN Preliminary Scores Available in the Online Reporting System (ORS)

The initial release of preliminary ILEARN Grades 3-8 and Biology End-of-Course Assessment (ECA) results for students testing online and paper-and-pencil began populating in ORS on Wednesday. Additional scores continue to populate in ORS based on availability of test completion for students who tested later in the test window. Please share preliminary results with parents as soon as they become available. The ILEARN Rescore Request Window is available now through Wednesday, June 2. To request a rescore, parents must visit the school onsite during the defined rescore window. Virtual rescore discussions are not permitted. Principals should review the 2020-2021 Request an Item Rescore Module for more information about this process. Final ILEARN results, reflecting any successfully submitted rescores, will display in ORS on Thursday, July 1. Contact the Indiana Assessment Help Desk for any assistance.


NEW: IREAD-3 Summer Retest Window Opens Tuesday, May 25

Students in grades 3 and 5 who still need to attain a passing score on IREAD-3 should participate in the summer retest window, which opens next Tuesday, May 25, and continues through Friday, July 16. Schools must confirm test settings are correct in the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE) and ensure Test Administrators are provided the correct test administration materials before testing begins. A participating student may take the IREAD-3 retest only once at any time throughout the eight-week test window. Schools are encouraged to work with parents when scheduling the retest for students. Review the new IREAD-3 Frequently Asked Questions for more information and contact the Office of Student Assessment with any questions.


NEW: IREAD-3 Summer 2021 Monitoring

IDOE, in partnership with Chamberlin/Dunn, LLC, will conduct monitoring visits during the IREAD-3 Summer 2021 testing window beginning Tuesday, May 25. 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 the Office of Student Assessment with any questions.

Office of Information Technology

NEW: Federal Emergency Connectivity Fund

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced guidance for the administration of the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program to be administered with the Universal Services Administration Company (USAC). Eligible services and devices for the first round of funding must be ordered and received between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. If funds remain in the program after qualified expenses have been paid out, a second round of funding will be made available for purchases of eligible products and services made between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. For situational advice on how to best leverage these funds, IDOE recommends working directly with organizations that have expertise in filing for E-rate. Questions may also be directed to IDOE’s John Keller.


NEW: Infinite Campus Becomes Ed-Fi Certified

IDOE is excited to announce Infinite Campus as an Indiana Ed-Fi Certified SIS Vendor for Data Exchange in the 2020-2021 school year. For those schools engaged with Infinite Campus, 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: School Actions to Complete Transition to Data Exchange

Schools with an Indiana Ed-Fi Certified SIS Vendor should have completed the onboarding and established their SIS connection to Data Exchange. Schools should also be actively validating and reviewing data in Data Exchange for accuracy in preparation for certification of Calendar and Attendance data. 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. 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.


REMINDER: 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 staffing needs across the state. The survey will remain open through Friday, June 4. Contact John Keller with any questions.


REMINDER: Data Exchange Office Hours Available

IDOE’s Data Exchange Team is now hosting office hours. Data Exchange office hours will be held on 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, log in to the IDOE Moodle “Data Exchange Training and Community” course and select the page for Data Exchange Office Hours.

Office of Special Education

NEW: Transition Portfolio Updates

The IDOE Office of Special Education recently updated guidance regarding Transition Portfolios. Please view this memo and guidance document for more information. Please contact Michelle Oja with any questions.


NEW: Indicator 5 - Least Restrictive Environment Stakeholder Meeting on Tuesday, June 3

IDOE is hosting two virtual stakeholder input sessions on Indicator 5: Least Restrictive Environment. The meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, June 3 at either 9 to 11 a.m. or 5 to 7 p.m. Registration is required and will close on Friday, May 28. For more information, please contact Kristan Sievers-Coffer.


REMINDER: Indicator 6 - Preschool Settings Stakeholder Meeting on Tuesday, May 25

IDOE is hosting two virtual stakeholder input sessions on Indicator 6: Preschool Settings. The meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, May 25 at either 9 to 11 a.m. or 5 to 7 p.m. Registration is required and will close today, Friday, May 21. For more information, please contact Kristan Sievers-Coffer.

Office of Teaching and Learning

NEW: Dyslexia Screener Timeline Guidance

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1514 makes changes to the universal and level I dyslexia screener timeline. Please see this guidance for details. Contact Joe Risch with additional questions.


NEW: STEM-Certified Academy

IDOE approved the STEM Academy at Kokomo High School as the first STEM-certified high school program under the new rubric. A full list of STEM-certified schools and programs can be found here. Please contact Shannon Dick with any questions.


NEW: Summer Digital Learning Book Study

Join the IDOE Office of Digital Learning’s summer book study featuring The Collaborative Classroom by Trevor Muir. Asynchronous discussions will begin the week of Monday, June 7. The book study will last 10 weeks and will be worth up to 20 PGPs. Join the course using the enrollment key “collaborate.” Contact Meri Carnahan with questions.


NEW: Registration Now Open - Productive Math Struggle Workshop

Discover how to implement and support student productive struggle in the math classroom during IDOE’s FREE workshop. This full-day training is for any K-12 educator, administrator, or instructional coach. Please register for only one workshop option as capacity is limited. An Eventbrite ticket is required to enter the workshop. Follow the links below to register and receive a ticket. Contact Emily Bruning with questions.

Office of Title Grants and Support

REMINDER: 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 local educational agencies/charters. This training will include Uniform Grant Guidance/EDGAR (Thursday, June 3) and COVID-19 relief funding as part of GEER, CARES, and ESSER (Thursday, June 10). Click here to register for the Thursday, June 3 session. Click here to register for the Thursday, June 10 session, or click here to register for both. Contact or Cole Dietrich with questions.


REMINDER: Upcoming English Learner Leadership Meeting

Please join IDOE for an 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.


REMINDER: 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.

News From Our Partners

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. Thank you for your continued collaboration in ensuring families are receiving the necessary food assistance during this unprecedented time. The data submission portal is now open through Friday, May 28 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. Additional resources and program information are available on the DFR P-EBT website.


NEW FROM INSOURCE: Youth Training Program Summer Series

This summer, the special education parent support center, INSOURCE, will be providing a training program for youth, ages 14 through 22, who are enrolled in school. The following flyer provides additional information, including the registration form. Please contact INSOURCE at or 800-332-4433 with any questions.



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 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.



Indiana Career Explorer (INCE) is transitioning to a new vendor, Futures, Inc., on Thursday, July 1. The current INCE platform, powered by Kuder, will remain available through Wednesday, 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 DWD’s Pam Warner with questions.



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 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.

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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