Extended School Year

The purpose of the Extended School Year (ESY) services is to prevent skill loss due to severe regression and maintain the child’s level in those skill areas identified as crucial if the child is to reach his or her IEP goals, and/or greatly impact a student’s limited capacity for recoupment. Generally, however, ESY services are not for teaching new skills or maintaining a year-round school routine that is different from the student's regular education peers.

ESY is defined as special education and related services provided to eligible children (aged 3-21) with disabilities in excess of the normal school year as recommended by a multi-disciplinary team who have followed strict ESY criteria and completed the ESY eligibility form. Upon determining eligibility, the need for and description of the ESY program must be contained in the student’s IEP.  These services are provided at no cost to the student’s parent(s).

Every student with a disability under IDEA must be considered for ESY services as part of the development of their IEP. The determination of whether a student is eligible for ESY services is made on an individual basis by the student's IEP team and must be discussed at each annual IEP review meeting. A student must not be required to be failing or not progressing from grade to grade in order for him or her to receive ESY.

Standard For Eligibility
While there is no single criterion used in making an eligibility determination, case law has established several factors to be considered. One standard is the regression/recoupment analysis, which considers the amount of regression a student experiences as a result of an interruption in educational services with the amount of time required to regain the prior level of skill when compared to the student's peers. Other criteria may include the nature and severity of the student's disability, the ability of the child's parents to provide educational structure in the home, behavioral and physical impairments, the ability of the student to interact with nondisabled peers, the student's vocational needs, the availability of alternative resources, whether the requested services are "extraordinary" for the student's condition, "emerging skills" and "breakthrough opportunities," as when a student is on the brink of learning to read. 

Regression/recoupment analysis is an integral part of the determination of the appropriateness of ESY services, but it is not the only measure used in determining the necessity of a structured extended school year program. Consideration of all pertinent information and individual student circumstances are taken into account in determining appropriateness of ESY programming.

Other Factors Relevant To ESY Eligibility

  • Degree of disability
  • Degree of regression
  • Recovery time from this regression
  • Ability of the parents to provide educational structure at home (see parent questionnaire)
  • Child’s rate of progress
  • Child’s behavior problems
  • Child’s physical problems
  • Availability of alternative resources
  • Ability of the child to interact with children who are not disabled
  • Area(s) in curriculum which need continuous attention
  • Child’s vocational needs
  • Whether the requested service is extraordinary for the child’s disability, as opposed to an integral part of a program for those with the child’s disability
  • Other relevant factors as determined by the IEP team

Type And Length of Program Required
The length of ESY should be, at minimum, the amount of time necessary to provide the child a meaningful opportunity to achieve his or her goals as written in the student's IEP. Sources of information for determination of eligibility for ESY include but are not limited to:

  • Parent information
  • Experiences of persons who work with the child such as teachers, parents, and therapists
  • Empirical data such as pre and post test data
  • Medical, psychological or educational records
  • Prognosis or opinions of educators, medical personnel, parents and others who work with the child

Ensuring Parent Involvement in Program Development

  • During a student’s annual IEP conference, special education service provider(s) will explain to the parent(s) the districts process for considering each student’s need for ESY services.
  • Recommendations for ESY services will be considered by the IEP team. An appropriate ESY program is developed as part of the student’s total individualized education program. As during the normal school year (approximately 180 days), parental support and involvement are vital to maximizing the student’s progress. Thus, parental participation in a student’s ESY program should be considered a high priority.
  • In cases where students demonstrate a lack of need for ESY, documentation of consideration should be noted on the IEP.

Developing Staffing Plans

Following the development of the student’s IEP, preliminary staffing plans concerning the number and type of staff will be developed.

Providing Services

As determined by each student’s IEP, appropriate services designated to limit regression and maintain critical skills will be provided.

Approximately 12 percent of all children have mental, physical, speech-language, emotional and/or learning disabilities that hinder them from being successful in the general education curriculum without additional support(s). In describing a child as disabled, the emphasis should not be on their disabilities, but rather on their abilities. Therefore, to the maximum extent possible, each student receives services in the least restrictive environment (LRE), predominantly in the regular education classroom, thus allowing the student access to a free appropriate public education (FAPE).