Some children who are eligible for special education services will lose skills if their instruction is interrupted during a lengthy school break. Some may take an extensive period of time to regain skills previously acquired when school resumes. Extended School Year services are those services provided beyond the typical school year for these children. The services are provided at no cost to the parent.
Extended School Year services are not the same as summer school services. Summer school is an optional program a district may choose to offer. ESY services are different in that they are provided to ensure that a student receiving special education services will maintain and enhance the generalization of learned skills. The services are not meant to teach new skills.
All students who are eligible for special education services must be considered for ESY eligibility annually. The IEP team must decide if the student needs ESY services in order to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). A district may not limit ESY eligibility to students with a particular category of disability.
Factors in the Consideration of Extended School Year Eligibility include:
1-nature of child’s disability
2-progress on goals/objectives
5-regression and recoupment
6-physical / health issues
7-availability of alternative resources
9-social skills / peer interaction
A child need not have demonstrated regression and/or slow skill recoupment after a break before ESY eligibility can be determined. The decision should be based on data collection, parent input, expert opinions, and consideration of the child’s progress and needs. Non-achievement of IEP goals cannot be used as the sole criteria for eligibility.
Parents and teachers should collect documentation pertaining to the child’s skills, behaviors, functioning, and rate of progress throughout the year. The determination of the child’s eligibility for ESY needs to be made in a timely manner so that parents who disagree with a school’s decision not to provide services have time to appeal the decision before the school break begins.
The amount of ESY service a child receives must be determined on an individual basis. ESY services may be, or include, “related services” such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Transportation to ESY services must be provided if necessary for the student to benefit from the special education services.
Educational placement options are limited when peers are not in attendance and schools are not required to create an integrated program for ESY services. Services may, however, be provided in a variety of environments in the community or in the family home. Schools may choose to contract with outside agencies to provide ESY services. A school’s summer school program COULD be one means of providing ESY services to an eligible student for the purpose of maintaining skills, but the student’s services must be individualized and not limited to the services offered to other summer school students. (Summer school programs cannot discriminate against children with disabilities, so children who are receiving special education services may be eligible for a school’s summer school services although not eligible for ESY.)
ESY services must be provided by qualified and certified staff or persons who are supervised by such staff.
A child’s IEP should indicate what goals will be reinforced during ESY service provision. The IEP should also indicate:
-the beginning date of services
-the ending date of services
-the minutes per week of each service to be
-the location where services will be provided
If you would like more information about Extended School Year, please contact us at Family Matters. Our phone number is 866-436-7842.