ESY stands for Extended School Year, and it is available to special education students. ESY may require the student to enroll in other programs in addition to the traditional 180 day school year.

Is ESY Available to All Students with Disabilities?

No, neither federal nor state law requires ESY to be available to all students with disabilities. Instead, ESY eligibility is determined on a case by case basis.

How Is Eligibility for ESY Determined?

The requirements for eligibility for ESY vary according to state. The most common method of determining eligibility relies on an assessment of the individualized education plan (IEP) objectives. The IEP team, consisting of parents, teachers, administrators and other interested parties, typically determines if ESY is necessary to achieve the objectives of the IEP.

When Is ESY Needed?

ESY is needed in cases where a student will experience, or is expected to experience, substantial regression in learning skills and difficulty regaining those skills if the extended program is not provided.

What Factors Do Schools Consider when Deciding whether to Offer an ESY Program?

Schools consider several factors when determining eligibility for ESY. These factors include:

  • The severity of the student’s disability – students with more severe disabilities are more likely to regress and have a harder time
  • The student’s age
  • Degree of self-sufficiency
  • Emerging skills – a student with a disability may suffer significant regression if he is in the process of learning a new skill, such as reading, when the school year ends.
  • Interfering behavior – a student who suffers from behavioral problems that interfere with his ability to learn, may need ESY to ensure that he does not regress and resume the negative behavior

What Kinds of Programs Does ESY Provide?

ESY provides a great range of programs that may help your student maintain his learning skills. Some of the most common types of programs include:

  • Summer school
  • Home consultation to help parents learn how to provide academic support and prevent regression
  • Summer camp with an emphasis on maintaining learning skills
  • Private school programs

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

If you have questions or concerns about your child and ESY, you may want to speak with a lawyer experienced in education and schools. A government lawyer can tell you more about you and your child’s rights to ESY under IDEA and can offer you assistance in protecting those rights.