Friday, March 6, 2015

Extended School Year ("ESY")

Federal law requires each public agency (public school district and charter school) to ensure that extended school year ("ESY") services are available as necessary to provide students with disabilities a free and appropriate public education (a "FAPE").  ESY must be provided if a child's IEP Team determines, on an individual basis, that the services are necessary for the provision of FAPE to the child.  
ESY services are provided during the summer and at no cost to the parents of the child.
In Arizona, ESY determinations are determined no later than 45 calendar days before the end of the school year.   
ESY must be individualized for the student, and thus the IEP Team should consider input from a variety of sources and allow parents to meaningfully participate.  Discussion of ESY takes places during an IEP meeting.  
Factors to be considered in determining whether a student ought to be provided ESY include whether the student regresses during school breaks (for example, does the child regress during fall break, winter break, spring break) and if so, does the rate of recoupment (how fast the child re-learns the information he or she lost during the breaks) require the child be provided services during at least part of the summer so as not to fall so far behind if he or she is not provided services?  Another factor to be considered for ESY is whether the student is at a critical learning stage such that he or she needs to be provided services so that he or she does not lose out on the learning?
Tip for parents:  If the IEP Team last discussed and made a decision about ESY during the earlier part of the school year, the decision may need to be revisited.  You may request an IEP meeting to discuss ESY and revisit the ESY decision.  Do so in the spring, and before 45 days before the end of the school year. 
Parents should also ensure that the ESY program provided is the same as the ESY program that was discussed and described. 

Arizona's Special Education Lawyers

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