Not Thinking of Summer? It’s Time to Start…Planning for ESY!

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Virginia is knee deep in snow. Kids are sledding, not swimming.

But for parents, it’s time to think about summer and what extended services your child will need when school ends.

Extended School Year (ESY) services are special education and/or related services provided beyond the usual school year. ESY is not limited to the summer months. Your child may need these services during the summer and throughout the year in order to receive FAPE.

If you have not already started, plan now for ESY services for your child.

Get Prepared

When your IEP team meets, you should be prepared to request needed services and be able to defend your position.

  • Review the criteria for ESY
  • Get your state regulations and standards for ESY – they vary from state to state
  • Learn the legal requirements for ESY
  • Collect data about your child’s performance (academic, functional, behavioral)
  • Document what happens when your child has a break from school

ESY Criteria and Standards

Federal courts describe different standards. Don’t allow the school to refuse ESY only on the regression-recoupment standard.

ESY can be used to recoup regression or to catch your child up to where he should be. ESY is a team decision, not a unilateral decision by the school.

There are other factors that IEP teams should consider when making decisions about ESY.

  • Regression and recoupment – Is your child likely to lose critical skills or fail to recover these skills within in a reasonable time?
  • Degree of progress your child is making toward IEP goals and objectives
  • Emerging skills/breakthrough opportunities – If your child is learning a key skill, like reading, will a lengthy summer break cause significant problems?
  • Interfering Behavior – Does your child’s behavior interfere with his ability to benefit from special education?
  • Nature and/or severity of disability or physical problems
  • Vocational needs
  • Special circumstances that interfere your child’s ability to benefit from special education

More Resources and Caselaw

Extended School Year (ESY)

IDEA regulation about ESY at 34 CFR § Section 300.106

Sample Letter to request information from your school about ESY

  1. I read most of your information, and try to find answers on your website when I encounter a difficult situation with a school. Besides being an advocate for my son who has a disability, I also help parents advocate for their own children with and without disabilities.
    Today at an IEP meeting I came across something new in the IEP document. This is the first time this year I have seen this, in the area of ESY services. It’s written out as follows:
    “Consideration of Reading-Based Extended School Year Services”
    Does the student meet the following criteria?
    ☐ Yes ☐ No Age 7 or above
    ☐ Yes ☐ No Not demonstrating phonological awareness and ability to use letter sound
    The rest is the same, my question- Is this a new update on ESY?

    • This would appear to address a rule specific to your state. It appears that your state has a rule about providing reading instruction to any students above or below 7 that is struggling with reading. So IEP teams must consider this rule.

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