What is Extended School Year ("ESY") services? ESY is additional special education and related services for pupils with disabilities that supplement the normal school year and are provided as part of a FAPE. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), extended school year (“ESY”) services must be provided if the student’s IEP Team determines that the services are “necessary” to ensure a Free and Appropriate (“FAPE”) to the student.
In Arizona, each school district and charter school must make ESY services available to all students with disabilities for whom such services are necessary. Your child is eligible for ESY if the IEP Team determines ESY is necessary for your child? ESY is necessary for your child if the benefits your child gained during the regular school year would be significantly jeopardized without educational services provided over the summer school break. ESY is necessary if your child would experience “severe or substantial regression” if he or she is not provided with educational services over the summer months and the regression would result in substantial skill loss of a degree and duration that would "seriously impede" your child’s progress toward educational goals. Eligibility is based on data: retrospective data, such as past regression, and the rate of recoupment, or predictive data when empirical data is not available. Predictive data may be proven by expert opinion, based on a professional individual assessment.
ESY is NOT, however, to be provided as a day care or respite care service, a program to maximize the academic potential of pupils with disabilities, or a summer recreation program for pupils with disabilities.
For a student with a disability currently enrolled in special education, eligibility for ESY services shall be determined no later than 45 calendar days prior to the last day of the school year. For Arizona, count back 45 days from the last day of this school year, and that is when you should be receiving your notice whether your child is eligible for ESY. Make sure there is data to support that decision, and make sure you are part of that decision. Schools are having their spring breaks now. Make sure to ask the IEP Team for the data taken before the spring recess and after to determine if your child has regressed and what it will take for your child to recoup. That data will help assess whether educational services are necessary for your child over the summer. But if you don’t want ESY, that is your right. Student participation in an ESY program is not compulsory.