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Extended School Year

What are extended school year (ESY) services?

Extended school year (ESY) means an individualized extension of specific services beyond the regular school year that is designed to meet specific goals included in a student's individualized education program (IEP). ESY services will vary in intensity, location, inclusion of related services, and length of time, depending upon the student's needs. ESY services are provided at no cost to the parents as part of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in accordance with the IEP, for students exhibiting the need for special education, related services, or both, beyond the regular school year.

How would I know whether a student needs ESY services?

To receive a FAPE, some students may require services beyond the regular school year. A FAPE must be reasonably calculated to confer some educational benefit to a student with a disability. The individualized determinations about each student's need for ESY services are made through the IEP process.

Who decides whether or not a student receives ESY services?

The IEP team, including the parent(s), determines whether ESY services are necessary for the provision of a FAPE.

When does the IEP team determine whether or not a student needs ESY services?

At least annually, The IEP team shall determine whether the student requires ESY services. This determination should be made early enough in the school year to allow the parent sufficient time to exercise their procedural safeguard rights if they disagree with the proposal made by the local school system. However, it should not be made so early as to not have sufficient information in order to make an informed decision.

How does an IEP team determine whether or not a student is eligible for ESY?

The determination as to whether a student needs ESY services to receive a FAPE must be made by the student's IEP team. In reviewing a student's IEP, the IEP team needs to consider the IEP content, the progress reports sent to the parents, existing IEP data, information from parents, teachers, related service providers, and others, as appropriate. The IEP team needs to consider the following questions:

  • Is there a likelihood of substantial regression of critical life skills caused by the normal school break and a failure to recover those skills within a reasonable time?
  • What is the student's degree of progress toward mastery of the IEP goals related to critical life skills?
  • Is there the presence of emerging skills or breakthrough opportunities?
  • Are there any interfering behaviors?
  • What is the nature and severity of the student's disability?
  • Are there any special circumstances to be considered?

After consideration of the factors applicable for the student with a disability, the IEP team must decide whether or not the benefits a student receives from his or her educational program during the regular school year will be significantly jeopardized if the student is not provided ESY. None of these factors in isolation, or in some combination, necessarily entitles a student to ESY services. Rather the regulations mandate the IEP team to consider if any of the factors will prevent a student from receiving some benefit from the student's educational program during the regular school year, if the student does not receive extended school year services.

What is not considered ESY?

Because ESY services are uniquely designed to meet the individual needs of a student with a disability, it is necessary to emphasize that extended school year services are:

  • Not a mandated twelve (12) month service for all students with disabilities;
  • Not a child care service;
  • Not necessarily a continuation of the total IEP provided during the regular school year;
  • Not intended to teach new skills, or to increase progress on instructional objectives;
  • Not required to be provided all day, every day, or each day during the normal school break;
  • Not an automatic program provision from year to year;
  • Not a service limited to or available by only broad categories of disabilities; or
  • Not a service to be provided to maximize each student's potential.