Extended School Year Services (ESY) for Students with Special Needs

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ESY, or Extended School Year, is additional instructional support for students with disabilities, required by the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Why is ESY necessary?

Some students with special needs are in jeopardy of not being able to retain the skills they have learned during the school year unless given additional support throughout the summer. Those students eligible for ESY will receive an individualized program to support their learning and retention of skill throughout the summer holidays.

What does IDEA say about ESY?

Under (34 CFR Part 300) in IDEA Regulations (not the Act): 'Extended school year services must be provided only if a child's IEP team determines, on an individual basis, in accordance with 300.340-300.350, that the services are necessary for the provision of FAPE to the child.'

'The term extended school year services means special education and related services that:

  • Are provided to a child with a disability:
    • Beyond the normal school year of the public agency
    • In accordance with the child's IEP
    • At no cost to the parents of the child
  • Meet the standards of the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)

How can I determine if a child qualifies?

The school, through the IEP team, will decide if the child will qualify for ESY Services. The decision will be based on a variety of factors which include:

  • child's rate of progress
  • degree of impairment
  • child's behavioral and/or physical problems
  • availability of resources
  • vocational and transitional needs of the child
  • child's ability to interact with non-disabled children
  • whether the service requested is 'extraordinary' rather than usual in consideration of the child's condition.

It is important to remember, the key to qualifying is the child's regression during school breaks, these should be well documented and records or any supporting data should be on hand for the team meeting.

The school team will also take into consideration the child's previous history, in other words, did having summer holidays mean re-teaching skills again upon school startup? The school team will look at previous regression. It is important to note that most students don't retain all skills taught, hence a spiraling curriculum. The degree of regression must be relatively extreme to qualify for ESY Services.

How much will I have to pay?

There is no cost to the parent for ESY. The educational jurisdiction/district will cover the costs. However, not all students with disabilities will qualify. ESY services are provided only if the child meets certain criteria determined by the law and the specific district's policy.

What are some of the services provided?

The services are individualized based on the student's needs and will vary. They could include, physical therapy, behavioral support, instructional services, take-home packages for parental implementation with consultative services, coaching, small group instruction just to name a few. ESY does not support the learning of new skills but the retention of those already taught. Districts will vary in their form of services offered.

Where can I find more information about ESY?

You will need to check with your own educational jurisdiction as some states vary in their standards regarding ESY. You will also want to read the section noted above in the IDEA regulations. Be sure to ask your district for a copy of their ESY guidelines. Note, that you should look into this service well in advance of any school break/holiday.

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Your Citation
Watson, Sue. "Extended School Year Services (ESY) for Students with Special Needs." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/extended-school-year-services-3110958. Watson, Sue. (2021, February 16). Extended School Year Services (ESY) for Students with Special Needs. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/extended-school-year-services-3110958 Watson, Sue. "Extended School Year Services (ESY) for Students with Special Needs." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/extended-school-year-services-3110958 (accessed June 10, 2023).