August 23, 2021

Indianapolis Summer Learning Labs Show Early Promise

More than 3,000 children went to the Indianapolis summer learning labs, one of more than 100 programs funded by more than $122 million in Indiana COVID recovery grants. - Tamarcus Brown/Unsplash

More than 3,000 children went to the Indianapolis summer learning labs, one of more than 100 programs funded by more than $122 million in Indiana COVID recovery grants.

Tamarcus Brown/Unsplash

An Indianapolis community partnership to help students catch up academically with summer school showed early signs of promise, state lawmakers were told Monday during an interim study committee.

Students who participated in Indianapolis summer learning labs made significant gains on math and reading tests after the five week program, leaders told the lawmakers. The collaboration between schools and community groups is one of more than 100 programs funded by $122 million in state COVID recovery grants. 

More than 3,000 children went to the summer labs. The program was overseen by the United Way of Central Indiana and The Mind Trust, which worked with schools and community organizations to host 39 learning sites around the city. 

Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust, said the success of the effort shows the value of partnerships between schools and community organizations. 

“What we oftentimes see is from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. schools are in charge,” Brown said. “But we have all these amazing community assets that need to be leveraged more effectively throughout the school day.” 

The number of students who were on grade level for math jumped by 13 percentage points on tests that were given at the beginning and end of the program, according to Brown. For English language arts, the number rose by 22 percentage points. The exam, which aligned to Indiana state standards, was provided by the outside consultant that supplied the curriculum for the labs. 

The Mind Trust and the United Way received about $11 million in state funding for the labs, the largest learning recovery grant awarded. The program only used about half that money the first summer. 

Enrollment was significantly below the maximum capacity of about 7,000 students.

A spokeswoman for The Mind Trust said the organization is evaluating the initial program and considering continuing it next year. Leaders hope they could use the remaining state funding. 

The update on the state’s pandemic recovery grants came during the first meeting of the legislature’s Interim Study Committee on Education. The group also discussed gaps in passing rates on state tests between white students and students of color and middle-class students and those from low-income families. 

The next meeting is Sept. 21.

Contact WFYI education reporter Dylan Peers McCoy at dmccoy@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @dylanpmccoy.

Support independent journalism today. You rely on WFYI to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Donate to power our nonprofit reporting today. Give now.

 

 

Related News

Indiana just started talking to feds about years long special ed license problem
Mobile bookstore brings Black history books to local neighborhoods
Far Eastside community arts center opening postponed, again, due to pandemic