Extended School Year
The provisions of IDEA require schools to provide Extended School Year (ESY) services for those children with disabilities who require such services to ensure an appropriate educational program. All children with disabilities who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be considered for ESY.
All children "regress" - lose progress, forget, and revert to previous behavior - to some extent between school years and during school breaks. When an IEP team considers a student with a disability eligible for extended school year services, they must first determine whether a child's regression would likely be substantial, and whether the child would require greater than usual time to recoup, to get back to the level the child had achieved before a break in service. In nearly all cases, projections of summer regression-recoupment are to be made based upon data gathered during school breaks.
Decisions about ESY programs are to be made on an individual basis, taking into consideration the unique needs of the child. These are situations where the nature of the student's disability and other factors would be considered in the ESY eligibility process. Other factors which are considered when making a decision about ESY include:
1. Nature and/or severity of disability
2. Degree of progress (if progress is very slow, student may need ESY services in order to continue to make progress)
3. Emerging skills/breakthrough opportunities (e.g. student just beginning to communicate, accomplish self-care skills, read or write)
4. Interfering behaviors (e.g., student's behavior has an impact on his or her ability to make educational progress)
5. Special circumstances (e.g., student missed significant amount of time because of illness, surgery, or other personal circumstances; student at risk of more restrictive placement; student moving from restrictive placement to inclusive program, etc.)
Extended School Year services are available only to students with disabilities who meet the eligibility criteria for ESY. It is not a "one size fits all" program. ESY is individually designed by the IEP team to prevent substantial regression in those critical skill areas that are likely to be impacted by an extended summer recess. Critical life skills may include but are not limited to: self-help, social skills, emotional support, physical mobility, communication, assistive technology, academics and vocational skills.