Press Releases | June 18, 2024

Summer Learning Labs kick-off year four with record participation & impact in five Indiana cities

This week marks the start of year four of Summer Learning Labs (SLL), a transformative five-week program designed to boost learning and enrichment for Hoosier students. Operated by The Mind Trust in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education, local schools, districts, and community organizations, this year’s programs feature over 90 free and low-cost sites and have enrolled close to 9,000 students, making it one of the most extensive summer learning initiatives in Indiana.

Indy Summer Learning Labs sees record enrollment

Indy Summer Learning Labs (ISLL) was launched in 2021 to address learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide access to high-quality summer learning to students who need access the most. Since its inception, pre- and post-tests for the Labs have shown double-digit percentage point learning gains, with notable 2023 results including a 23 percentage point increase in overall English/Language Arts (ELA) and a 22 percentage point increase in overall math scores.

Most ISLL sites are free to attend, with some charging a low-cost fee. This year’s program features 52 sites and has enrolled 5,300 students.

2024 ISLL Program Highlights:

  • 50+ Sites: This year’s program spans 52 locations, including community centers, churches, and schools throughout Marion County.
  • Strong Enrollment: With 5,300 students enrolled this year, the program is serving more students than ever before.
  • Dedicated Educators: Over 300 licensed teachers and classroom aides have been hired to deliver high-quality, in-person instruction in math and reading.
  • Comprehensive Services: All sites provide breakfast and lunch, and many offer before and after-school care and transportation options.
  • Engaging Activities: In addition to academic instruction, students will participate in a variety of enrichment activities, including field trips, arts, STEM projects, and more.

“The Mind Trust is proud to support programs that make a real difference in students’ lives. As we launch the fourth year of Indy Summer Learning Labs, our goal is to provide students with valuable learning experiences and growth opportunities that will benefit them long after the summer ends,” said Brandon Brown, CEO of The Mind Trust.

Summer Learning Labs Across the State

In early 2024, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced the recipients of the Expanding What Works grant, an opportunity designed to increase access to high-quality summer programming for over 3,000 Hoosier students. The grant builds on the success of ISLL in Marion County and replicated the program in four cities across the state: Gary, Salem, South Bend, and Wabash.

Students at these Summer Learning Lab (SLL) sites receive rigorous, high-quality math and reading instruction each day to support continued student learning over the summer break, in addition to fun enrichment activities unique to each site. All SLL sites are free of charge to families.

“We have put a lot of focus on making sure the financial investments we are making show a return on investment for our students,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “The Summer Learning Labs are a prime example of seeing the impactful results and leveraging what we have learned to scale those opportunities statewide so that more students have access. Maximizing student learning requires an all-hands on deck approach, and we are excited to continue partnering with The Mind Trust and communities across Indiana to positively impact our students.”

The 2024 Expanding What Works grant recipients and their key program details include:

In Gary, Urban League of Northwest Indiana will serve more than 700 students across 22 sites, with more than 150 teachers hired. In addition to daily math and reading instruction, enrichment activities include field trips, arts, athletics, STEM, and more.

In Salem, Creating Avenues for Student Transformation (CAST) will serve more than 50 students across 2 sites, with more than 10 teachers hired. In addition to daily math and reading instruction, enrichment activities will include field trips, arts, athletics, STEM, and more.

In South Bend and neighboring counties, the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County will serve over 2,500 students across 20 sites, with more than 170 teachers hired. In addition to daily math and reading instruction, enrichment activities may include arts and crafts, athletics, STEM, and more.

In Wabash, Wabash County YMCA will serve more than 200 students across 2 sites, with 10 teachers hired. In addition to daily math and reading instruction, enrichment activities will include Sky Zone, Bowling, Skating, a magic show, Fort Wayne Zoo, swimming at the YMCA, and more.

These organizations are collaborating with The Mind Trust to operate Summer Learning Labs in their communities. The Lavinia Group, a partner in the grant, supports with reading and math curriculum, teacher planning resources, pre-and post-assessments, virtual onboarding training, and in-person coaching for facilitators.

Impact of Summer Learning Labs

Across all five cities, strong data collection will be conducted to understand the demographics of students being served and capture program effectiveness. All students in SLL will take a pre- and post-test to measure learning gains in math and reading.

Students who participated in 2021 and 2022 saw double-digit learning gains in math and reading as measured by an assessment taken at the start and end of the program. Notable program results from 2023 include:

  • A 23 percentage point increase in basic and proficient scores for English/language arts (ELA).
  • A 22 percentage point increase in basic and proficient scores for math.
  • 96% of families were very satisfied with what Indy Summer Learning Labs offers their child or children.

To learn more about the program, visit