An Update From the Indiana Department of Education for February 4, 2022

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A Message from Dr. Katie Jenner

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This week, America’s “chief groundhog,” Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow, signifying “six more weeks of winter,” and while I get my weather from the AccuWeather app and our local meteorologists, this snow storm is hitting us in a major way as I type this newsletter. The most southern parts of our state are getting significant ice…and traveling north, the ice changes to snow (sometimes snow over ice)! Regardless of where you are in our great state, I hope you are warm, safe, and still with electricity!  

This week was also World Read Aloud Day. For 13 years, this day has encouraged people around the world to share the gift of reading (aloud!) with others. I was scheduled to join a classroom of second grade students on Wednesday, and while the incoming snow storm caused us to reschedule (due to the school going to eLearning), I loved seeing the pictures of teachers and students across our state enjoying World Read Aloud Day!

Speaking of reading aloud…let’s talk a bit more about the literacy initiatives we have ahead. Several weeks ago, I wrote to you about the urgency around early literacy…which will take a state and local push to help more students become proficient readers. Today, I’d like to share additional details regarding our work ahead, developed with our state’s most at-risk students in mind, and how your school can be a part of it!

Specifically, Indiana’s Priorities for Early Literacy seeks to create a collaborative and sustainable model of preparing, educating, and supporting Indiana educators on the Science of Reading framework. IDOE will support this achievement by facilitating high-quality, ongoing, data-driven, professional development at the school- and teacher-levels. So what does this look like?

  • K-12 Science of Reading deployment: To support Indiana’s current educators and students in this process, IDOE will partner with 50 Indiana school leaders over the next two years to interview and hire a literacy coach to serve in their school building. This coach will provide consistent, job-embedded support to K-2 teachers based on research-based practices. These select schools, identified as serving student populations who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, have received direct communication from our academics team. 
    • Up to 50 additional schools may apply to opt in and will receive the same training and resources over the next two years. The first round of training begins this summer.
  • Improving teacher preparation in the Science of Reading: To support the development of Indiana’s future educators, our academics team will work with collegiate teacher preparation programs to encourage a greater emphasis on the review of Indiana’s current literacy data and the urgency to ensure every Hoosier student receives foundational literacy skills. This proactive approach would ensure that all teacher candidates receive clear instruction and gain the tools they need to successfully implement the Science of Reading before entering an Indiana classroom. 
  • Quality resources to advance literacy proficiency: Indiana educators will have access to resources designed to help them implement and apply the principles of the Science of Reading framework through the Indiana Learning Lab, and other professional development opportunities.

Alongside this initiative, we are also offering an opportunity for schools to administer the IREAD-3 assessment to second graders. The benefits of this include…

  • Early indicator of proficiency means earlier intervention and support for students.
  • Early reading support leads to higher rates of reading success at grade three.
  • Early reading support may lead to reduced numbers of Good Cause Exemptions needed at grade three. 
  • Students who pass IREAD-3 in grade two have reduced testing requirements at grade three.  

This IREAD-3 program is voluntary, and to date, over 150 schools have opted in to participate! As that number continues to grow, the insights this data provides will enable us to respond quickly and provide targeted support for students who need it most. We are grateful for this partnership and encourage any school still interested in signing up to do so by clicking here.

Thank you, as always, for continuing to lead this important work for our students. And, as the weekend approaches, for those of you with snow (and not ice), take some time to enjoy winter! Whether that is building a snowman, having a snowball fight, going sledding (my favorite!), or enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, make sure you are taking care of yourself too, as we all seek to take care of and love our students! 

Office of Student Assessment

NEW: ISTEP+ Retest Spring 2022 and ILEARN Biology End-of-Course Assessment (ECA) Winter 2022 Test Windows Open Monday!

Students in cohort 2022 or earlier who have not yet passed the ISTEP+ for their Graduation Qualifying Exam (GQE) requirement must attempt the ISTEP+ once per school year to qualify for the GQE waiver, unless they are on track to graduate via a Graduation Pathway. The ISTEP+ Retest Spring 2022, from Monday, February 7, through Friday, March 4, is the last opportunity this school year for this requirement.  

Students completing the high school biology course during the second trimester should participate in the ILEARN Biology ECA Winter 2022 from Monday, February 7, through Thursday, February 24.

Office of Information Technology

REMINDER: E-Rate Match for Fiber Construction Now Available

IDOE is participating in the E-Rate Match Program for special construction projects. This is available to any Indiana public school for fiscal year 2022 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023). This program will increase an applicant's discount rate for special construction charges for high-speed broadband that meets the FCC's long-term connectivity targets up to an additional 10 percent to match the state funding on a one-to-one dollar basis. Full application details are available here. Contact Brad Hagg with any questions.

Office of School Building Physical Security and Safety

NEW: Student Safety Reporting

Indiana’s Student Safety Reporting Law (IC 20-34-6-1) requires school corporations to report student bullying, arrest, and gang data for each school to IDOE. The collection period will open Friday, April 8, and submissions must be made by Thursday, June 30. More information can be found here. Contact Stephen Balko with any questions.

Office of School Finance

NEW: Curricular Material Reimbursement Estimates

Please read this memo regarding the distribution of curricular material funds on Friday, February 25. Contact with any questions.   


NEW: FY 2023 Indirect Cost Rates

Beginning Tuesday, March 1, local education agencies are eligible to apply for FY 2023 Indirect Cost Rates. Application instructions and additional information can be found in this memo. Contact with any questions. 

Office of Student Pathways and Opportunities

NEW: Counselor and Administrator Support for Students and Families Considering Withdrawal

In an effort to retain student enrollment and engagement, IDOE has created guidance on facilitating meaningful conversations with students and families considering withdrawal. The resource, Counselor and Administrator Support for Students and Families Considering Withdrawal, encourages counselors to research, collaborate with colleagues, and share local, state, and national resources with students and families to assist in determining optimal avenues for continuous engagement and support. Contact the Office of Student Pathways with any questions.

Office of Student, School and Family Engagement

NEW: Diploma Seals Order Form

The online form to order diploma seals for the 2022 Cohort is now live. Please see this memo for additional information. Contact Michelle Clarke with any questions.

Office of Student Supports and Accessibility

NEW: Topical Tuesdays Office Hours

Join IDOE’s Office of Special Education and the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center (INSTRC) for Topical Tuesdays, held the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. ET. February's Topical Tuesdays will begin Tuesday, February 8 and will feature the topic Postsecondary Goals. Each monthly topic is based on the various components of secondary transition and time will be allotted for additional related questions. Registration is not required, and you can join using this link. Contact the Office of Special Education with any questions. 


REMINDER: Indiana Deaf Education and Assessment of Language (IDEAL)

House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1484, signed into law in 2019, states that schools may administer assessments annually to deaf and hard of hearing children between the ages of three to 11 years old. Click here for a list of approved tools and assessments to use for language progress monitoring. If an assessment listed on the approved list is administered, the results are to be reported to the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education. Contact the Office of Special Education with any questions.

Office of Teaching and Learning/Digital Learning

NEW: February Professional Development (PD) with IDOE - Parent Session

IDOE wants to share the love of learning in the Learning Lab each Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. Join us Wednesday, February 9, for Five Fabulous Questions to Ask Online Learners: A Session for Parents. Information on this session can be found here. To register for upcoming workshops, create a free Learning Lab account by visiting the LINK Portal or the Indiana Learning Lab website directly and using your school email to log in. You may also suggest a topic for future PD with IDOE sessions by completing this form. Contact the Office of Digital Learning with any questions.


NEW: Learning Lab Course on Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices for Middle School Now Available

IDOE is excited to release our first self-paced, professional learning course in the Learning Lab. This course, Effective Mathematics Teaching Practices for Middle School, is worth three Professional Growth Points (PGPs). Learn more and access the course here. Contact the Office of Teaching and Learning with any questions.


NEW: Coming Soon - Indiana’s Early Literacy and STEM Initiatives: Opt-In Window Opens Friday, February 11 

Schools may apply to opt in to the voluntary coalition with IDOE to implement evidence-based early literacy practices in alignment with the Science of Learning or to integrate high-quality STEM instruction. More information regarding the opt-in window for all schools can be found here. Contact the Office of Teaching and Learning with any questions.


NEW: Digital Learning Day on Tuesday, February 22

Join IDOE’s Office of Digital Learning on Tuesday, February 22 at 2 p.m. ET for a panel discussion regarding the current digital learning landscape and what educators can do to continue moving student learning forward.

Register for the Digital Learning Day panel discussion here. Contact the Office of Digital Learning with any questions.


NEW: Register Now for Coach Edcamp on Monday, March 14

Digital learning coaches - it’s time to reunite our coach family! Join us for an in-person Coach Edcamp on Monday, March 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET, at the Center Grove Innovation Center. This professional learning opportunity, specifically for those in educational technology coaching and leadership roles, is a roundtable style, one-day conference. Register for this opportunity here. Contact the Office of Digital Learning with any questions. 


REMINDER: Grade Six Civics Standards Open for Public Comment

IDOE welcomes public feedback on the proposed grade six civics standards through Friday, February 11. In accordance with Indiana Code 20-19-2-14.7, IDOE worked in conjunction with an educator committee to develop a semester-long civics course for middle school students, which will be introduced during the 2023-2024 school year. The course is proposed to occur during the second semester of students’ grade six year, building upon citizenship standards learned by Indiana students in earlier grades. You can access the standards and provide feedback here. Contact the Office of Teaching and Learning with any questions. 


REMINDER: Virtual Voyagers: Microlearning in Support of Virtual and Hybrid Programs

IDOE’s Office of Digital Learning continues the Virtual Voyagers series on Thursday, February 10, at 10 a.m. ET with Online Assessments in Virtual Learning. This 45-minute microlearning session can be accessed using this flyer. The previous Chat with a Leader of a Virtual Program recorded session will be available for viewing in the Learning Lab soon. Contact the Office of Digital Learning with any questions.

News From Our Partners

NEW FROM MANDIANT CONSULTING: Statewide Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercise Available

On Tuesday, January 25, Mandiant Consulting hosted a statewide cybersecurity tabletop exercise in which a ransomware attack was launched on a fictional school district. The one hour session was recorded and can be used to improve your school cybersecurity posture and seed discussions with school leaders about how your school would respond in a similar situation. You may access the simulation video and PowerPoint here.


NEW FROM KEEP INDIANA LEARNING: Register Now for the Spring Speaker Series

Keep Indiana Learning’s free Spring Speaker Series is open for registration. Join them for presentations from educational innovators and leaders who are working to transform teaching and learning. The first live event, Three Transformative Strategies for Building a Modern Classroom, will be held on Wednesday, February 9, at 4:30 p.m. ET. For more information and to register, click here. Contact Keep Indiana Learning with any questions.



The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) is seeking to reduce the contact tracing and reporting burden for schools with mask requirements in place. Schools should continue to notify parents of a positive case in the classroom and reinforce mitigation strategies at school and home. To assist with this, a sample letter for parents can be found here. Emphasize to families the need to monitor for symptoms and keep students home who become symptomatic. Effective Friday, January 21, schools with mask requirements in place that have positive cases will only need to report the following to the IDOH K-12 portal:

  • Positive Case First and Last Name

  • Date of Birth

  • Sex

  • Category (student, staff, teacher)

  • Date reported to school

  • Race

  • Ethnicity

Schools that do not have a mask requirement in place must continue to report both positive cases and close contacts, as well as all associated fields, to the IDOH K-12 portal. Contact with any questions.

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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