Expanding What Works

About Expanding What Works

Expanding What Works is a grant from the Indiana Department of Education that encourages regional collaboration between community organizations, local nonprofits, municipal partners and/or local school corporations to replicate the successful Indy Summer Learning Labs (ISLL) in communities across the state. The grant is an opportunity to increase access to high-quality academic and enrichment programming in summer 2024 for Hoosier students with the greatest academic need.


2024 Award Recipients

The selected recipients for summer 2024 funding and support are: 

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joe County in South Bend, IN will be awarded up to $3,750,000 and aims to serve up to 2,500 students. 
  • DHB & Associates and Urban League of NWI in Gary, IN will be awarded up to $1,125,000 and aims to serve up to 750 students. 
  • Creating Avenues for Student Transformation (CAST) in Salem, IN will be awarded up to $115,073 and aims to serve up to 100 students. 
  • Wabash County YMCA in Wabash, IN will be awarded up to $396,000 and aims to serve up to 264 students. 


Expanding What Works anchor partner eligibility

Expanding What Works will award funding to a lead regional organization or entity, which will then partner with school corporations, public charter schools, non-public schools, and other regional partners to deploy a summer learning program aligned with the core design principles of Indy Summer Learning Labs. The following entities are eligible for these funds:

  • Community-based organizations
  • Education service centers
  • Nonprofit community organizations
  • Municipal entities

NOTE: School corporations, charter schools, and nonpublic schools are NOT eligible to apply directly for this grant. These restriction does not prohibit these entities from participating as a partner organization with a regional grantee. 

An organization may be well-suited to apply as an Expanding What Works anchor partner if it:

  • Is part of a community in which students are in need of academic support
  • Is aligned with the commitment to providing all students access to an excellent education
  • Has capacity to hire and train staff as needed
  • Has capacity to manage an application and selection process for learning sites
  • Has capacity to market and promote the summer learning opportunity to students
  • Has experience managing public or private grant funds of $1,000,000 or more
  • Operates learning sites where academic instruction is provided or has capacity to partner with learning sites 
  • Can operate on a reimbursement basis

To learn more about financial requirements and reimbursement, please read the grant’s Financial Administration Guidance document from the Indiana Department of Education.

Applicants must also meet the State of Indiana’s Vendor Registration Requirements.

Expanding What Works academic program expectations

Expanding What Works will replicate the successful Indy Summer Learning Labs (ISLL) program. Indy Summer Learning Labs is a five-week, free or low-cost summer academic and enrichment program for Marion County students entering first through ninth grades after summer break. ISLL is intentionally designed to serve students who lack access to high-quality summer academic and enrichment programming. A rigorous curriculum, designed by Lavinia Group and aligned with Indiana state English and math standards, is used at each site. Students take a pre- and post-assessment to measure the academic impact of the program. Each site also creates enrichment activities for its students, such as field trips to museums, arts and crafts projects, and outdoor activities that make the experience fun and appealing to students.

Partnership with Lavinia Group

Expanding What Works partners must partner with the Lavinia Group to implement their high-quality RISE summer learning curriculum and all other program requirements embedded in their summer school program. This includes: 

  • Minimum of 20 days of instruction (generally 5 weeks)
  • 3 hours of academic instruction per day
  • 3-5 days of orientation before the start of the program and 1 hour of weekly professional development throughout the summer. Note: All PD is virtual
  • Commit to implementing the summer learning program within one of the approved windows provided in the Lavinia Group program details.
    • A regional grantee may request special permission to modify the existing windows and each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis with no expectation for approval.
  • Programs must be open and reasonably accessible to all students within the defined region, with exceptions for prioritized student needs, specific grade levels served, and the capacity to serve (facility space, availability of educators, etc).
    • If student interest exceeds capacity in a given region, all efforts should be made to make fair and equitable enrollment decisions so as to not prioritize any student based on any factor that is not related to their individual academic and personal needs.
    • Efforts should be made to secure summer learning sites that are strategically located to address anticipated barriers to access and participation.
  • A public school corporation or public charter school may not serve as a regional grantee. This restriction does not prohibit either entity from participating as a partner organization with a regional grantee.


Indy Summer Learning Labs is a summer academic enrichment program launched by The Mind Trust and United Way of Central Indiana in 2021. Schools, churches, and community organizations serve as ISLL sites and deliver daily math and reading instruction alongside fun summer activities. ISLL will serve students in summer 2024.