The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) Wednesday 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.
Earlier this year, Governor 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.
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, the IDOE says “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.
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.