Extended School Year (ESY) Services
Special education and related services provided to students with disabilities beyond the regular 180-day school year are called extended school year (ESY) services. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the school district must provide ESY services if a student requires those services in order to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Any student, who is eligible to receive special education services, may be eligible for ESY. ESY services are provided at no cost to parents. A student’s need for ESY is determined annually by the student’s individual educational plan (IEP) team, including the parent(s).
School districts are required to consider ESY services for all students with IEPs. ESY is designed to maintain student mastery of goals represented on a student’s IEP and achieved during the regular school year. ESY is designed to maintain a reasonable readiness to begin the next school year, and as a strategy for minimizing the regression of skill, thus shortening the time needed to gain back the same level of skill proficiency that existed at the end of the year. The most common reason why a student receives ESY services is because the team feels that data for a particular goal(s) indicate that there is significant regression when there is a break in instruction and a significant amount of time is required to recoup the lost skill. However, an ESY eligibility decision is based on multi-criteria and not solely on a regression/recoupment standard.
The determination of ESY eligibility is based on empirical and qualitative data collected by the IEP team on the student’s goals (data collection points/probes). The IEP team may look at assessment results, observations of the student, the student’s performance after previous breaks from school, and other information to answer the questions listed below. These guiding questions are a component of the District’s IEP.
- Did the student experience significant regression on his/her IEP goals and objectives and require an unreasonably long period of time to relearn previously learned skills?
- Is the student at a crucial stage in the development of a critical life skill, and that a lapse in services would substantially jeopardize the student's chances of learning that skill? This may include emerging skills as well as critical points of instruction on existing skills.
- Is the nature or severity of the student's disability such that the student would be unlikely to benefit from his or her education without the provision of ESY services? The nature of the disability may include the student's rate of progress.
- Are there extenuating circumstances pertinent to the student's current situation that indicate the likelihood that FAPE would not be provided without ESY services?
Some students may need only certain instruction and/or related services (such as speech-language therapy) outside of the normal school year. ESY is not the same as summer school or enrichment programs. However, some students with disabilities qualify for ESY services and for the school district’s discretionary summer school program. ESY services may be provided through a variety of environments and structures such as: home with the parent teaching and staff consulting; home/hospital; school-based (such as take-home packets, computer-assisted programs); school-based with community activities; related services alone or in tandem with the above. As always, the IEP team will place the child in the least restrictive environment (LRE) that is appropriate for the student. Some ESY services may extend over the summer, while others provide only for periodic contact with professionals or assistance to parents in providing home instruction or reinforcement to their child. Determinations concerning the duration, frequency, and type of ESY services will be individualized and documented on the student’s IEP.
In the summer, the school district’s ESY services typically start in late June from 8:30 AM -12:00 PM for four (4) weeks in duration. Provisions are made for students whose IEPs require ESY services beyond the ESY framework. The IEP team determines the need for extended hours and/or days of services beyond the ESY framework..
If the parents disagrees with the services offered by the IEP team, the parents will receive a notice that explains the school district’s decision. If the parents disagree with the decision, they may ask for another IEP meeting to share new student data for team consideration. Parents also have the right to exercise their procedural safeguards, requesting mediation or a due process hearing, or both. For additional information, on the state’s dispute resolution system, visit http://www.fldoe.org/ese/resolution.asp
Sonja Samek, ESE Coordinator
Information & Resources Parent Brochure : ESY: What's the IDEA Behind Extended School Year Services for Students with Disabilites? Florida Standards and Access Points