Press Releases | September 2, 2021

Indy Summer Learning Labs Drive Significant Growth in Student Learning

teacher working one on one with student

Five-week program led to positive gains in English/Language Arts and Math, shows promise for future summer programs

INDIANAPOLIS – Marion County students who attended the Indy Summer Learning Labs, a free, five-week summer learning and enrichment program, saw double-digit gains in language arts and math, according to data released today from The Mind Trust and United Way of Central Indiana. The Indy Summer Learning Labs served more than 3,000 Marion County students at 39 school and community learning centers across Indianapolis.

Pre- and post-program assessments aligned with Indiana state learning standards were administered to the more than 1,000 students participating, and key results include:

  • A 20 percentage point increase in basic and proficient scores of English/Language Arts performance.
  • A 27 percentage point increase in basic and proficient scores of math performance.
  • 6th grade showed the most growth in math performance with an overall 26 percentage point performance increase.
  • 1st grade showed the most growth in ELA with an overall 23 percentage point performance increase
  • The average ELA score growth across grades 1-8 was 12 percentage points.
  • The average math score growth across grades 1-8 was 17 percentage points.

Indy Summer Learning Labs provided high-quality academic instruction, using math and English Language Arts curriculum created by Lavinia Group. The curriculum and assessments were based on Indiana state standards. Lavinia Group also led weekly professional development for teachers and site leadership. 

“These are exciting results, and we’re so proud of the students, parents and educators who participated in this pilot program. We’re confident that these results show promise for high-quality, academic summer programming, and are hopeful that we will be able to offer this to students and families next year,” Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust, said.

In addition to positive improvements to academic performance, the programming also earned positive ratings from students, participating staff and families.

“These findings offer a glimmer of hope after a challenging year,” said Ann Murtlow, president and CEO of United Way of Central Indiana. “Being able to help close education gaps through a free, accessible program is a game-changer, and these results show that this pilot can be applied to help future generations of students.”

“The morning [session] is great because I am learning,” said a student participant from the Shepherd Community Center. “The afternoon [session] is good because I still get to learn stuff and still get to have fun.”

ISLL received $11.1 million in state-level funding for the program from the $120 million Student Learning Recovery Grant Program created by lawmakers in response to the pandemic. The Mind Trust and United Way of Central Indiana also co-invested $250,000 each in the initiative.

Of all participating schools, Decatur Township showed the strongest growth in math performance, improving by 30%.

“This program is exactly what was needed to help students,” Matthew J. Prusiecki, Decatur Township Superintendent, said. “Being able to see kids engaged and excited to learn alongside their peers and teachers after a difficult year is promising, showing that there are positive, actionable ways to close COVID-19 driven learning loss.”

About United Way of Central Indiana

United Way is a community of donors, advocates, volunteers, and partners who fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. United Way invites all members of our community to LIVE UNITED by giving, advocating and volunteering to improve lives in Central Indiana. Visit to learn more.

About The Mind Trust

The Mind Trust is an Indianapolis-based education nonprofit that works to build a system of schools that gives every student, no exceptions, access to a high-quality education. The Mind Trust does this by building a supportive environment for schools through policy and community engagement, empowering talented, diverse educators to launch new schools, and providing existing schools with the support they need to hire world-class talent and achieve excellence. Since 2006, The Mind Trust has supported the launch of 49 schools, 15 education nonprofit organizations, and has helped place more than 1,800 teachers and school leaders in Indianapolis classrooms.