Blog on Special Educational Needs - Asian College of Teachers

Extended School Year (ESY) Services: Seven Things You Need To Know Before Implementing It

13th December 2023

As the summer vacation approaches, parents of students with special educational needs approach the schools and teachers to help them out with the transition process. While breaks are welcomed with open arms by some families, others have a hard time transitioning leading to a halt in their child's progress that happened throughout the year. This is when educational institutions decide that some students qualify for the Extended School Year (ESY) Services over the break to ensure that the child’s learning continues.

What Is Extended School Year (ESY) Services?

Extended School Year (ESY) Services are not similar to summer school. They are related services or specialized instructions that are already a part of the child's IEP. They are provided when school is not typically running mainly during the summer breaks. However, for some kids, it can also get extended during other breaks such as winter or spring breaks.


Extended School Year Services

These individualized services are offered to help each child maintain their skills and knowledge and not lose the progress they made throughout the year. This might for some kids mean one-on-one tutoring. For others, it might just be a few sessions of occupational therapy or speech therapy once a week. The decision of what an ESY will look like for every child is made by the IEP team.

Things You Need To Know About Extended School Year (ESY) Services

Here are 7 things you should keep in mind as you approach your summer or winter breaks:

  1. ESY Services Determined By IDEA

    As mentioned in IDEA, 'The term extended school year services means they provide special education and other related services that are provided to a child with a disability and meet the standards of the state educational agency'.

    It further states that the services are to be provided to every child with a disability beyond the normal school year by the child's IEPs and there will be no cost to the parents. Additionally, every public agency needs to ensure that ESY services are available as and when it is necessary for the child.

  2. Not All Students Having IEPs Are Eligible For ESY Services

    The student's IEP team decides whether or not they are eligible for ESY services. Without proper diagnosis, the team does not automatically make the child eligible for such services. Also, the eligibility varies from school to school and state to state and it must be monitored by the child's IEP team every year.

    Parents can request this program through the school district or at the next IEP meeting. Similar to other decisions, if a school denies ESY services to the child, parents can appeal the decision.

  3. Recoupment And Regression The Two Commonly Looked Factors

    When determining eligibility, IEP teams look at whether or not the child is at risk of losing their skills and knowledge or regressing during their break. They will also look at recoupment which is how long it will take for the student to regain everything that they might have lost over the break.

    If the vacation is likely to have a significant regression in the progress of the child then the school will decide what services might be required to prevent that from happening. If the progress toward any specific IEP goal is stalled, the school will find a way to deal with it.

  4. ESY Is Not Similar To Summer School

    These services are not designed to help a child make up for the goals they might not have achieved during a school year or help them prepare for the year ahead. These services are made available for those eligible allowing them to retain their knowledge and skill sets while preventing regression from when the school is not functioning.

    Furthermore, ESY services can be offered in winter and spring breaks and are not restricted to summer breaks only.

  5. ESY Services Are Tailored To Child’s Specific Needs

    These services are not general programs that students can participate in if they meet all the eligibility requirements. Every ESY program is specifically tailored according to the child’s IEPs catering to their individual needs.

    If a child is likely to regress in their language and speech skills over the break then the school will decide to offer specific speech and language ESY services.

  6. ESY Offers A Wide Range Of Services

    All ESY is not mandatorily served in person. Some students might require fewer supports that may be instructed through home-based activities. These activities could be done under the guidance of their parents or other caregivers.

    For other students who require a little extra support, ESY services might be available full-time.

  7. Summer ESY Is Optional

    Every child doesn't need to take ESY services just because they qualify for it. A parent can refuse if they don't want the child to attend or simply don't want to work during their summer schedule.

    For instance, some parents denied ESY services during the pandemic as they were unsure that their child could benefit from virtual learning. So, if a parent feels their child will not benefit from such services, they can simply deny it.

Go Beyond The School Year To Help

It is not always a clear-cut decision to determine if a child will benefit from their IEP services. Thus, parents can always undergo an online Master of Arts in Education with Special Education to understand the real scenario and be better prepared. Parents must always remember that they have a say in their child’s IEP and ESY and can instruct the teachers and faculty about what is better for their child.

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Written By : Park Jin Ae

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