Is Esy (Extended School Year) for My Child?
Extended School Year
How many of us have sat in an IEP meeting and discussed ESY? How many have wondered what ESY is and how would my child qualify for ESY but didn’t ask at the meeting? How many have wondered if my child would benefit from ESY? You are not alone!
Extended School Year (ESY) is not the same as “summer school.” Summer school would be attended by non-disabled children who might attend the summer session for failing in academics. ESY is available for students who have IEPs or 504 Plans. ESY could be provided to students who have shown/would show regression or for emerging skills, possibly for new goals written in the IEP. Decisions about summer ESY would be made by the IEP Team, usually at a meeting toward the end of the school year (ESY decisions should not be made early in the school year; the child may not exhibit signs of the need for ESY until several months into the school year and through longer periods of time off like Christmas/winter break). The district is required to provide FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) to all students and extended school year is one way to provide services to students with disabilities whose IEP team agrees to ESY services for the student. Your child could also be eligible for ESY during longer periods of time off, but usually that is not done by the districts.
The Federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) law discusses ESY services in Section 300. 106 and it indicates the following:
(1) Each public agency must ensure that extended school year services are available as necessary to provide FAPE, consistent with paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
(2) Extended school year services must be provided only if a child’s IEP Team determines, on an individual basis, in accordance with Sec. Sec. 300.320 through 300. 324, that the services are necessary for the provision of FAPE to the child.
(3) In implementing the requirements of this section, a public agency may not-
- Limit extended school year services to particular categories of disability; or
- Unilaterally limit the type, amount, or duration of those services.
Definition. As used in this section, the term extended school year services means special education and related services that–
(1) Are provided to a child with a disability–
- Beyond the normal school year of the public agency;
- In accordance with the child’s IEP; and
- At no cost to the parents of the child; and
(2) Meet the standards of the SEA (state education agency).
(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(1) )1
you can also check with your state’s Department of Education’s Exceptional Student Education website for more info. There may also be a worksheet (possibly listed under “Publications”) that you would be able to print and take with you to the IEP meeting when discussing ESY for your child. Florida DOE presented a webinar on ESY and you can review it for basic info.2
ESY should be individualized for each child and the actual instruction(s) will be. The schedule for ESY usually is not individualized, unfortunately. You will probably be informed that ESY will occur after school finishes in June, between X and Y weeks; the time will be provided to you as you get closer to ESY. Since ESY is not mandatory, you do not have to agree to your child attending ESY. If you do not agree, you may want to ask that it be entered into the conference notes from that meeting. You can also indicate your reason for not attending ESY.
ESY is not “extra” instruction but a continuation of services which your child may need. Prepare for your IEP meeting carefully, considering ESY for your child. If you need help for your child with a disability concerning ESE services in your state, you can visit Parent Center Hub at: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-yourcenter/.
Doreen Franklin Doreen is a tutor for AmeriCorps and a Special Education Consultant/Advocate (she assists families with children with special needs with their lEPs). Doreen & her husband adopted two daughters; both are special needs.
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This post originally appeared on our March/April 2016 Magazine