INDIANAPOLIS –The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) today announced the launch of Indiana Learns, a statewide grant program that will provide qualifying families with up to $1,000 to spend on math and English/language arts high-dosage tutoring and approved out-of-school academic programs for their students. The initiative’s goal is to increase access to effective, out-of-school academic support to help students recover from learning disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Parents and families play such an important role in a child’s education, not only through reading to and supporting them at home, but also through additional high-quality tutoring to further support their learning,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “As we continue to make historic investments in education, this grant will increase access to tutoring opportunities for our students who need it most, regardless of a parent or family’s ability to afford this additional support.”
Earlier this year, Governor Eric J. Holcomb signed House Enrolled Act 1251 to create a microgrant program for families that could provide additional learning support for students most impacted academically by the COVID-19 pandemic. IDOE selected The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit organization, as a partner to operate the two-year program.
“Indiana Learns is excited to connect with families, schools and community partners to share how the program can positively impact student learning,” said Seana Murphy, senior director of Indiana Learns. “These tutoring grants give families the power to choose engaging, high-quality academic support for their students. We look forward to partnering with families and schools to help Hoosier students succeed.”
Results of a study conducted by the National Center for Assessment in conjunction with IDOE show that students experienced a moderate to significant academic impact in English/language arts and a significant impact in math following pandemic-related learning disruptions. After one year of intensive support, results show that learning is stabilizing or recovering for many students. However, proficiency rates for specific student populations, including Black, Hispanic, English learner students, low income students and students with disabilities, remain significantly below both pre-pandemic levels as well as their grade-level peers.
To qualify for an Indiana Learns tutoring grant, students must meet all of the following criteria:
- Legally reside in Indiana,
- Be enrolled at a traditional public, charter or accredited non-public school,
- Qualify for Federal Free or Reduced Lunch, and
- Have scored Below Proficiency in both math and English/language arts on ILEARN as a third or fourth grader in 2022.
- Note: Approaching proficiency will not qualify.
Once a family has registered at IndianaLearns.org, they can manage their account and find participating learning partners in an online platform that will be available by Saturday, October 1. The platform will also include helpdesk resources.
Funds can be used on approved virtual and in-person tutoring opportunities listed in the online platform. Examples of qualifying expenses include: private tutoring, small group tutoring or academic-focused camps held during school breaks.
Schools and funding match
All qualifying and participating students will receive a one-time grant of $500. Indiana traditional public, charter and accredited non-public schools have the opportunity to help maximize the impact of grants in their community by contributing an additional $250 to the accounts of qualifying students in their school or corporation. When schools make this local contribution, the state of Indiana will provide an extra $250 match, giving families a total of $1,000 in their accounts.
Indiana Learns will provide outreach and informational resources for schools in the coming weeks. Schools can also support qualifying students by actively encouraging families to register for and use the program.
“In MSD of Decatur Township, we strongly believe that investing resources into increased instructional opportunities for students will equal greater academic achievement,” said Dr. Matt Prusiecki, superintendent of MSD of Decatur Township. “We are Decatur Proud to partner with the IDOE and The Mind Trust to give our students the strong foundation they need in reading and math, so that they can truly become tomorrow ready. With our district matching grant funds, Decatur students will have the resources necessary in support of their continued learning as an extension to the school day.”
“As the superintendent of the state’s largest school district — and a former classroom teacher myself — I know that tutoring strengthens subject comprehension, boosts confidence, and builds important learning skills,” said Dr. Aleesia Johnson, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools. “This grant will make available to students additional individualized attention. It will help children who struggle to keep up and provide the extra educational boost all students need. I’m especially proud that IPS was among the first of the school districts to partner with the IDOE to provide matching grants for students and families. It’s yet another way we are using our ESSER dollars to improve academic outcomes for IPS students.”
“At Muncie Community Schools, we are already seeing the benefits of additional resources going toward individual student needs through our City Connects program, and I expect this new Indiana Learns program will have a similar effect,” said Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, MCS director of public education and CEO. “By providing $250 for each eligible student to receive outside tutoring, we are maximizing resources for our most vulnerable students, which should have a broader positive impact on all our learners.”
“Our Indiana students and their families can benefit greatly from this financial support from the Indiana General Assembly as the focus on academic success. We all acknowledge the impact the pandemic has had on student learning, and schools, families and communities can come together to support our students,” said Dr. Todd Bess, executive director of Indiana Association of School Principals. “We hope, also, that school corporations will provide the matching dollars within the grant program to further enable our students to take advantage of the academic support through state and local partners, and through our Indiana educators who can directly link the additional tutoring to classroom success.”
Learning partner qualifications and approval process
Learning partners will go through an application and approval process before being listed as eligible providers in the Indiana Learns platform. To become an approved learning partner, entities must:
- Provide services outside of regular school hours,
- Utilize credentialed educators, such as licensed teachers, retired teachers or prospective teachers currently enrolled in a teacher preparation program,
- Have the ability to measure learning and provide weekly progress reports to parents and schools,
- Be capable of maintaining a 1:3 tutor-student ratio,
- Maintain a per student cost of less than $100 per hour/per student/per session,
- Provide a minimum of 60 minutes of support each week and
- Provide services on a reimbursement basis.
Learning partners will have access to a robust infrastructure of support that includes the ability to leverage an online platform that will track student use of grant funding and services received. These partners can include organizations that provide tutoring services, community groups, philanthropic organizations, higher education institutions or organizations that serve students with disabilities.
Additional information for families and interested learning partners can be found at IndianaLearns.org.
SOURCE: News release from Indiana Department of Education