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Mayor Joe Hogsett announces start of Circle City Readers program

High-dosage literacy tutoring program to start in September in nine locations following spring pilot

INDIANAPOLIS — Today Mayor Joe Hogsett, in partnership with MSD Warren Township, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and RISE INDY announced the start of the first full year of the Circle City Readers program. The high-dosage literacy tutoring program will take place at 10 locations, following a successful spring pilot at two sites.

“Every day, we hear reports that a lack of reading skills is the most urgent education issue facing our state and nation,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “That’s why we are continuing to take action to meet the needs of our students and families, and I’m excited to say we’re already seeing results.”

Mayor Hogsett originally announced the Circle City Readers program in October 2022. It is funded with $1 million from the City’s American Rescue Plan allocation, which was unanimously approved by the City-County Council.

Circle City Readers uses evidence-based “science of reading” curriculum from Amplify. The pilot included 36 students who received tutoring three times per week for eight weeks, for a total of 20 lessons. From initial assessments to the end of the pilot, students showed progress in their fluency, the numbers of words they could read, and their reading accuracy. About 25% of students in the pilot made average or above growth, and every student improved from where they began, according to the DIBELS reading assessment, which is used across the country to measure reading skills.

“We are excited that Circle City Readers will come in and support our students,” said Amy Hartung, a Reading Interventionist in MSD Warren Township. “Based on their success in the district from last year, our students will benefit from the support of their dedicated team working in conjunction with Pleasant Run teachers and staff. We look forward to continuing our partnership.”

Growth tended to be higher for students with more consistent attendance. This will continue to be a focus area as the program expands in the fall. For 2023-24, tutoring will take place at the following sites, with a goal of serving about 800 students at full capacity:

  • Pleasant Run Elementary School (MSD Warren Township)
  • Hawthorne Elementary School (MSD Warren Township)
  • Sankofa School of Success at Arlington Woods School 99 (IPS)
  • Global Prep Academy at Riverside School 44 (IPS)
  • The PATH School at Stephen Foster School 67 (IPS)
  • Liberty Grove at Elder Diggs School 42 (IPS)
  • Tindley Genesis Academy
  • Avondale Meadows Academy 
  • Vision Academy Riverside
  • Jonathan Jennings School 109 (IPS) Boys and Girls Club

“Circle City Readers represents a critical step forward in our commitment to addressing the pressing issue of literacy in our community. The results we’ve seen so far from all IPS tutoring partners clearly demonstrate the positive impact of high-dosage literacy tutoring,” said Dr. Aleesia Johnson, superintendent, Indianapolis Public Schools. “We are eager to expand this program for the 2023-24 school year, knowing that together, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of our students and their families.”

The framework of the initiative was brought to Indianapolis by RISE INDY, an education advocacy organization, after seeing successful implementation of similar programs in Oakland, California. RISE INDY is leading tutor recruitment and training with a focus on recruiting parents and community members. The program aims to employ 40 tutors by the time tutoring begins Sept. 5. Tutors are also compensated for the hours they work.

“Our vision is that every resident is engaged in our pursuit to improve public education for all students. Circle City Readers illustrates the power of community rallying to support our students at this critical time,” said Jasmin Shaheed Young, RISE INDY President and CEO. “We’re inspired by the City’s commitment to solve our current literacy crisis and motivated to identify and recruit community members to deliver tutoring to Indianapolis students this fall.”


Shaina Cavazos
Office of Education Innovation
City of Indianapolis
O: 317-327-3111
C: 630-440-5067