INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Department of Education is offering tutoring grants to help kids most affected by COVID-19 learning loss.

As a superintendent, Matt Prusiecki is all too familiar with the challenge of getting kids caught up since COVID.

“It’s not only going as fast as we used to go before COVID in the classroom so to speak, but now we have to go as fast but then add additional time and support,” said Prusiecki, who runs MSD of Decatur Township.

Prusiecki is working to get more students enrolled in tutoring under the new state program offering grants to families, known as Indiana Learns. It focuses on math and reading for fourth and fifth graders.

Students in those grade levels who did not pass either section of the 2022 ILEARN and who receive free or reduced-price lunch are eligible.

That means about 40% of the Decatur Township district’s fourth and fifth grade students, Prusiecki said.

“The ILEARN test is a difficult test from the get-go, but since COVID has taken place, it’s really impacted a lot of test scores,” he said.

Tutoring sessions will be offered online and in-person. According to Seana Murphy, who helps run the program, students will be tutored in groups of three or less.

“That’s the beauty of the program,” Murphy said. “So different students’ styles and different delivery services.”

“We’re really targeting our fourth and fifth graders to make sure that they have all of the skills from those primary years,” said Indiana Education Secretary Katie Jenner.

The state is using federal COVID relief funds to offer grants of at least $500 per student, Jenner said. Students can receive $1,000 each if their school district contributes $250, she added.

Jenner said she hopes to eventually expand the program further.

“We would love if 16,000 students or 20,000 students or more applied to be a part of it,” Jenner said. “Because then we will advocate for additional tutoring services for more children.”

Registration is now open, Jenner said. Some schools are reaching out to families of eligible children directly.

To sign up or find more information, click here.