An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for October 1, 2021

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A Message from Dr. Katie Jenner

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Last week, I shared a bit about a visit north to St. Joseph and Elkhart counties. It was a whirlwind trip that was planned on Monday afternoon for a Tuesday departure--while I am a total “planner,” sometimes spontaneity reigns supreme. When the U.S. Secretary of Education solidified a visit to South Bend, we absolutely wanted to maximize our time. There were several schools we wanted to see (and didn’t get to on this trip), so I’m following my Dad’s advice on this…“On every trip, always leave something to come back for...that you didn’t see the last time.” But, of the places we were able to see, what a good day.

While we were up north for less than a day, we were able to cover a lot of ground with stops at South Bend’s Madison STEAM Academy, the Elkhart Area Career Center and Elkhart High School, the Career Academy South Bend, and the Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County.

Over the years as an educator, I’ve always enjoyed the opportunity to learn from my colleagues across the state. I know many of you are also on the lookout for innovative ideas and best practices, so I think you will enjoy hearing about the work being led in these schools and organizations. In the case of South Bend’s Madison STEAM Academy, we’ll have a chance to hear in their own words what truly sets them apart. We will share more in the weeks ahead about other school visits.

South Bend’s Madison STEAM Academy
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Madison STEAM Academy for the Return to School Road Trip as a part of a multi-state visit. A STEM certified school, South Bend’s Madison STEAM Academy is working to intentionally incorporate innovative learning opportunities for their students. (To receive the STEM Certified designation from IDOE, schools must go through a rigorous application and review process. If your school is interested in STEM certification, apply here! The application deadline is coming up on Friday, October 29.)

Here is what Principal Amanda Choinacky and STEAM Coach Jessica Luczynski had to say about how the school’s non-traditional approach to STEM education is driving success for their students.

We have transformed our school into a learning environment where students are engaged and inquisitive. We aim to give our students opportunities that explore new ways of learning that they can use in today’s world.

As a large, urban, high poverty school, we realized we needed to find alternative ways to reach our students. STEM gives our students engaging, meaningful and purposeful learning opportunities. STEM allows our students numerous opportunities to explore, invent, investigate, discover and create.

Madison STEAM Academy is located in the middle of downtown South Bend, which affords us the opportunity to walk and use our own city as an outdoor learning lab. We have numerous community partnerships such as the South Bend Parks Department, Cultivate, Beacon Health, Music Village, ACE, Boy Scouts, Notre Dame, IUSB, Bethel, Saint Mary’s College, Shoe Tree, Near Northwest Neighborhood and Healthlink, among others. We are fortunate to have these resources as part of our daily learning community.

Additionally, we redesigned spaces for students to provide opportunities that are hands-on, interactive and collaborative. Our Maker Space is specifically designed so students can construct and build; the connected Innovation Lab provides students the opportunity to create and design. We also added Tech Integration, where students learn to use the technology that surrounds our learning.”

As we were talking with a group of teachers about our schedule for the day, we mentioned our plans to visit with the students and staff at the Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County later that afternoon. Their eyes lit up! In fact, one of the teachers told us what a lifesaver the Boys and Girls Club had been for their students throughout the pandemic, so I’d like to share a little more about their important work for the local community...

Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County
For our final stops of the day, we visited two of the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County locations (BGCSJC)  - O.C. Carmichael Jr. Youth Center and Harrison Elementary School. BGCSJC partners with South Bend Community School Corporation, School City of Mishawaka, Career and Success Academies, as well as other organizations throughout the community to help fulfill the academic and wellness needs of students in this area.

One of the innovative approaches deployed by BGCSJC is their recently launched STRIVE program, an expanded after school program that has allowed them to more than triple the number of students they are serving this fall at 23 sites. STRIVE is a free program, supported by the state’s Student Learning Recovery Grant Program, focused on academic enrichment to combat the academic impacts of the pandemic. By utilizing an all hands on deck approach and proven strategies, such as one-on-one and small group tutoring in key areas, students in this program are strengthening their skills and will be better prepared!

Many Indiana communities are working to build local partnerships to best support lifelong success for area students, and it was great to see firsthand how students are benefitting from this learner-centered, future-focused thinking in St. Joseph County. In the coming weeks, I’ll share more about our visit to St. Joseph and Elkhart counties...and while this spotlight continues, I am already looking forward to the next visit!

Thank you for all you do for students!

Office of Information Technology

NEW: Data Exchange - October Data Certification Timelines and Reminders

The October certification period includes the following data: Pupil Enrollment, Curricular Materials Reimbursement, Certified Employee (CE), English Learner, and Non-Certified Employee (NE). IDOE will snapshot this data on Sunday, October 10. The certification window will be open beginning Monday, October 11 and ending Friday, October 15. Schools should verify if their Student Information System (SIS) vendor is equipped to sync staff information, otherwise, schools should plan to utilize the templates for reporting CE and NE. NE guidance is available on the Knowledge Hub and is consistent with guidance provided for the 2020-2021 school year. An announcement will be made when CE information becomes available. Questions about Data Exchange may be directed to


REMINDER: Data Exchange - Membership Milestones 

The following milestones are provided to ensure clarity and consistent expectations about the completion of the Period 1 Membership Count for the 2021-2022 school year.

  • Friday, September 17: This date was established by the Indiana State Board of Education for the fall count, denoted “census date” in Data Exchange. Any student “enrolled and expected to attend” may be submitted for a school’s Membership count. This date acts as the cut-off date for student enrollments that can be included in the fall count (even if they are not all submitted on that date).
  • Saturday, September 18 - Monday, October 4: During this period, all data required for Membership should be submitted through Data Exchange. Schools will only receive funding for valid Membership records. Any errors, conflicts, and exclusions are the responsibility of the school to review and rectify, if appropriate. After 8 p.m. on Monday, October 4, schools will no longer be able to run validation checks, and the Membership data will become final.
  • Tuesday, October 5 - Friday, October 8: Certification of Membership data begins. This short time frame is simply to allow the CFO and the superintendent, head of school, or school leader to review the accuracy of data and sign-off on the valid Membership counts.

Questions about Data Exchange may be directed to


REMINDER: Data Exchange - Membership Reminders

The following reminders are provided to ensure clarity and consistent expectations about the completion of the Period 1 Membership Count for the 2021-2022 school year.

  • All attendance data should be submitted at least once per week throughout the school year. Daily attendance submission is preferred. Accurate attendance data will be used in reconciliation of ADM as signaled by the Indiana General Assembly. Accurate attendance data is also used to determine eligibility for benefits such as Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT). Furthermore, attendance data has become a critical element for understanding the impact of COVID-19 on in-person learning.
  • By Monday, October 4, all attendance data for the week ending on Friday, September 17 must be submitted, as those attendance records are used in the validation of Membership records.
  • Until Monday, October 4, IDOE will maintain a list of known issues which may be impacting a school’s ability to validate Membership data. This list is available for review. Keep in mind that most of these issues do not have a global impact, but rather, arise in particular scenarios.
  • Schools should ensure all student-level errors and conflicts are resolved prior to the Monday, October 4 deadline.

Complete reporting guidance can be found on the Data Exchange Knowledge Hub, under Collection Membership (ME/MV/MA) and then Title Data Exchange EdOrg Associations (ME/MV/MA). Questions about Data Exchange may be directed to


REMINDER: School Office Hours for Data Exchange

IDOE will be hosting weekly office hours on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to noon ET and Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. ET. These office hours are intended for school personnel to ask questions and troubleshoot support with Data Exchange implementation. These meetings will be drop-in style and are not recorded. To join the office hours, log in to the Data Exchange Training and Community course in Moodle and select the page for Data Exchange Office Hours. Questions about Data Exchange may be directed to


REMINDER: Data Exchange - Data Reporting Source of Truth

The 2021-2022 school year establishes Data Exchange as the source of truth for all data reporting. Specific instructions for parallel submission with the STN Application Center will be provided as needed. For the current school year, all SPN/STN should continue to be created in the STN Application Center. Details regarding Data Exchange can be found in Moodle. Additional information and training regarding Data Exchange implementation can be found in the Data Exchange Training and Community course in Moodle (no enrollment key required). Questions about Data Exchange may be directed to



With the first distribution of P-EBT coming later this fall, please make sure you are maintaining accurate student addresses, attendance, and free/reduced lunch statuses for each student in your SIS so that data can flow seamlessly to the Data Exchange system. The August to September data will be pulled for use in a distribution in mid-October, pending USDA program approval. Questions about Data Exchange may be directed to

Office of Leadership and Innovation

NEW: 2022 Indiana Teacher of the Year Top Three Finalists Announced

The Indiana Teacher of the Year Screening Committee is excited to announce the top three finalists for the 2022 Indiana Teacher of the Year. The 2022 Indiana Teacher of the Year will be announced in late October. Details on the top three finalists can be found here. For more information on the Indiana Teacher of the Year program, contact Rebecca Estes.


UPDATE: Innovation Teacher Leaders Cohort Application Deadline Extended Through Friday, October 8

The application has been extended for up to 45 Indiana high school teachers to participate in the inaugural Innovate WithIN Teacher Training Cohort! IDOE's partnership with the StartedUpFoundation (SEUF) aims to build the capacity of innovative high school teacher leaders and enhance opportunities for high school students with the goal of creating an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Indiana. For more information and to apply, click here. Questions can be directed to Rebecca Estes.


REMINDER: Attend the Indy Autonomous Challenge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Students, families, and educators are invited to the Innovation Showcase at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 23! This free event, held in conjunction with the Indy Autonomous Challenge, will provide students with the unique opportunity to learn more about STEM and innovations behind autonomous vehicles up close, followed by a unique opportunity to watch these cars zoom around the famous oval track (without drivers) in an all-new challenge. More information is available here, including information regarding how to register for free tickets. Contact Rebecca Estes with any questions.

Office of School and Community Nutrition

NEW: Fiscal Action for Meal Pattern Waiver

USDA Food and Nutrition Service is granting a waiver of certain fiscal action requirements in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and the Seamless Summer Option for meal pattern violations related to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions during the 2021-2022 school year. While Indiana has opted into this waiver, menus must continue to be planned to meet meal pattern requirements. Production records are also required as a part of meal documentation, along with all other recordkeeping requirements. School food authorities (SFAs) should work with their assigned field specialists to apprise them of issues they are experiencing and to find solutions that meet meal pattern requirements.


NEW: Additional Flexibilities for School Nutrition Programs During the 2021-2022 School Year 

Labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, and school closures continue to pose challenges for SFAs working to provide Indiana’s students with nourishing school meals. While meeting the USDA Child Nutrition Program requirements is still as important as ever, certain flexibilities are available. Program operators are encouraged to find creative solutions to these challenges. For example, menus may need to change with short notice, and school administrators may find themselves helping during meal service. Having back-up plans and good communication is essential, and the Office of School and Community Nutrition is here to provide additional guidance and support. Local food service teams are encouraged to communicate with their assigned IDOE field specialists regarding any issues they may have in operating the Child Nutrition Programs, as well as creative solutions they have implemented. Sharing this information will better inform USDA in their decisions to implement further flexibilities and will help support fellow Indiana food service operators. Thank you for everything you do to keep Indiana’s students healthy, fed, and ready to learn!

Office of School Efficiency

REMINDER: Request for Information (RFI) on Efficiency Opportunities for Non-Instructional School Building and Transportation Services

The Indiana Department of Administration (IDOA) has released RFI 22-68275, soliciting existing or potential opportunities to improve the efficiency of non-instructional school services associated with school buildings and transportation. This RFI has been issued pursuant to HEA 1266-2021. Respondents may include, but are not limited to, school corporations, co-operative service centers, consortia of schools, other governmental entities, nonprofit organizations, consultants, service providers, subject matter experts, and project managers. All interested respondents are encouraged to respond. Questions on the RFI are to be submitted to IDOA by Monday, November 15, with final responses due by January 14, 2022. All questions pertaining to the RFI should be directed to IDOA’s Emily Cranfill, following the process outlined under the “Question / Inquiry Process'' section of the RFI.

Office of School Finance

UPDATE: Verification of Residency for Membership

Please review this updated guidance for verification of Indiana residency as it relates to reporting a student for membership. If you have questions, please contact Melissa Ambre.


REMINDER: Curricular Material Reimbursement Cost Instructions

Please read the following memo regarding the process for submitting the JotForm to request curricular material reimbursement, as this process has changed. The JotForm submission window will be open beginning Friday, October 1 through Sunday, October 31. Please email if you have questions concerning curricular material reimbursement.



This letter from House Speaker Todd Huston and Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray outlines the Indiana General Assembly’s intent to legislatively address Indiana’s ADM process for the 2021-2022 school year in order to avoid potential unintended financial consequences resulting from students receiving virtual instruction while being quarantined due to COVID-19. As noted in the letter, there are additional details we must still work out, but we hope this planned solution can ease concerns regarding virtual versus in-person attendance in the COVID-19 era. We are grateful for the Indiana General Assembly’s willingness to roll up their sleeves with us to find a solution.


REMINDER: Financial Transparency Portal

Please remember to upload your school corporation’s financial transparency data for January to June 2021 into the portal by Sunday, October 31. See the School Finance Moodle Community for a presentation explaining the upload process. Contact with any questions.

Office of Student Supports and Accessibility

NEW: American Rescue Plan IDEA Grant Information Now Available

Allocations, applications, and guidance for the American Rescue Plan (ARP) IDEA Part B 611 and 619 grants are available in the Office of Special Education Moodle Community. These documents are located in the Fiscal section under Part B: Grants for Special Education/ARP Funding. Please review the corresponding announcement regarding ARP IDEA Grants, located in the announcements section, and contact your assigned Part B fiscal specialist with questions.


NEW: WIDA Professional Development for Secondary Educators - Writing for Multilingual Learners

Join us on Tuesday, November 2 and Wednesday, November 3 for a free, WIDA-facilitated workshop that will explore a pedagogical approach to multilingual learners’ writing in various academic genres. For more information regarding the session and to sign up, click here. Spaces are limited. For questions, please contact Erica Sponberg.

Office of Teaching and Learning/Digital Learning

NEW: PRIME Math Transitions Course Grant Application Available

Grants are now available to build capacity for high schools to offer the Indiana PRIME math transitions course during the 2022-2023 school year. The Indiana PRIME math transitions course is intended for students who have currently achieved the minimum mathematics requirements for a Core 40 Diploma but may need additional instruction before pursuing credit-bearing courses at a postsecondary institution. Additional information can be found here. Applications are due Friday, October 29. An informational webinar will be hosted in the Learning Lab on Tuesday, October 5 at 10 a.m. ET. Click here to register. Please contact MacKenzie Cox with additional questions.


NEW: Frameworks Now Live in the Learning Lab

The Literacy, Math, Science, and Computer Science frameworks are now available in the Learning Lab. Early Learning Foundations Guidance is also available. To create a free Learning Lab account, visit the LINK Portal or the Learning Lab website directly and use your school email address to log in. Contact Diana Gill with any additional questions.


NEW: Early Intervention Grant Update

Guidance for the 2021-2022 Early Intervention Grant is now available. The application period opens Monday, October 4. This application link will be available to corporations on Monday. Contact Mary Williams or Michelle Kemper with questions.


NEW: Summer of Learning Grant Application Available

The Summer of Learning, formerly eLearning, grant application is open through Monday, November 1. This grant offers corporations the opportunity to coordinate summer conferences focused on innovative, technology-enhanced pedagogy related to learning recovery, STEM, literacy, and digital learning. Important information regarding the grant and application can be found in this memo. Contact Diana Gill with any questions.


NEW: October Professional Development with IDOE

Join us in the Learning Lab every Wednesday from 4 to 4:30 p.m. ET for workshops on focused topics delivered by IDOE team members. View this flyer to learn more about these workshops, and visit the Learning Lab calendar to register. If you have not yet created your free Learning Lab account, you can do so by visiting the LINK portal or the Learning Lab website directly and using your school email address to log in. Contact Diana Gill with any questions.


REMINDER: Networking and Professional Development for Leaders of Virtual and Hybrid Programs

The Digital Learning Team is offering a virtual workshop for leaders of virtual and hybrid programs on Monday, November 1. You can register for our virtual option here. The work of virtual and hybrid program leaders is important, and we hope to connect with you at one of our networking events as well as the virtual workshop. Contact Alisha Foor with questions regarding either opportunity.


REMINDER: STEM Certification

The window for STEM School Certification applications is currently open. Applications are due Friday, October 29! The updated STEM Certification Guide, STEM Evaluation Rubric, and other resources are currently available here. For any questions or to schedule your pre-application meeting, please contact Dana Hartzell, STEM Specialist.

News From Our Partners


Please see updated vaccination information from the Indiana Department of Health. Questions can be directed to


NEW FROM CODE HS: Coding Bootcamps

CodeHS is partnering with IDOE to provide free, month-long Java, JavaScript, Python, and Cybersecurity online bootcamps. These bootcamps are designed to support current and future high school computer science teachers as they build their programming skills and content knowledge. A certificate of completion and stipend are available for those who complete the program. The fall 2021 coding bootcamps begin Tuesday, October 12. Visit for additional information and to sign up.



Save the date for the seventh-annual Indiana STEM Education Conference on January 13, 2022! The 2022 conference will include in-person and virtual participation options. The theme for the 2022 conference is “STEM Education: Making Giant Leaps.” Click here for more information and to register. Registration opens Monday, October 4.

IDOE Newsletters Centrally Located

All Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) newsletters are located in one convenient location. Please find past issues here.

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Weekly Updates

View previous weekly updates from Dr. Katie Jenner here.

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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.