Monday, April 18, 2011

Extended School Year (ESY)

Extended year services are services provided to IEP students beyond the traditional academic year.  In order to remain in legal compliance with FreeAppropriate Public Education (FAPE) school districts may be obligated to provide services to those students who are eligible.  The purpose of ESY services is to continue work toward the progress of IEP goals; it is not simply summer school which is considered remedial coursework opportunities. 
The IEP team determines a student's eligibility for ESY services.  Services may not be limited by the school; the decision for ESY services including frequency, duration, and type is made by the IEP team.  The child's needs dictate the services and may be different for each eligible IEP child.  Each state has guidelines for eligibility for ESY and should be researched thoroughly by parents or advocates.  All ESY services should be documented in the IEP.  In addition, once eligibility is determined, the school district is responsible for ensuring that the child being serviced has transportation to and from the service location.
Some factors to consider when determining eligibility of ESY include (but is not limited to):
     *Child's progress toward IEP goals and objectives
     *Regression (loss of skill) and recoupment (time needed to recover lost skill)
     *Areas of child's curriculum that need continuous attention
     *Emerging skills/breakthrough opportunities
     *Interfering behaviors; behavior problems
Be sure to research a copy of a respective state's guidelines for ESY.  Review your child's IEP, and gather data to support a request for ESY, if it is desired.  Expect resistance to this request.  Do not wait until the IEP date to request services.  Additional testing data may be needed for the IEP team to make a sound decision.  As always, remember as a parent you are a critical member of the IEP team.  You are your child's first and most important advocate.

Wright's Law.  All About IEPs.  Harbor House Law Press, 2010. pp. 105-110.

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