CESA 7  Special Education letterhead


April 10, 2012

TO: Sp. Ed. Teachers
FR: Nissan B. Bar-Lev, Director of Special Education
RE: Update on Extended School Year (ESY) Services

This memorandum includes the following information regarding ESY services*:

    1. Federal IDEA and State regulations describing ESY responsibilities.
    2. ESY in plain language: what it is, and what it is not.
    3. Glossary of ESY key terms.
    4. When and how should an IEP Team consider ESY Services for students?
    5. Factors and key questions to be considered by the IEP team in determining students’ eligibility for ESY services.


A. Federal IDEA and State Regulations describing ESY Responsibilities.

    CFR 300.309

  1. (a) General.
    1. (1) Each public agency shall ensure that extended school year services are available as necessary to provide FAPE, consistent with paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
    2. (2) Extended school year services must be provided only if a child's IEP team determines, on an individual basis, in accordance with § 300.340-300.350, that the services are necessary for the provision of FAPE to the child.
    3. (3) In implementing the requirements of this section, a public agency may not—
      1. (i) Limit extended school year services to particular categories of disability; or
      2. (ii) Unilaterally limit the type, amount, or duration of those services.
  1. (b) Definition. As used in this section, the term extended school year services means special education and related services that—
    1. (1) Are provided to a child with a disability—
      1. (i) Beyond the normal school year of the public agency;
      2. (ii) In accordance with the child’s IEP; and
      3. (iii) At no cost to the parents of the child; and

      (2) Meet the standards of the SEA.
      (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(1))

    State Statute:

    Chapter 115.77(lm)(b):
    "A local educational agency shall demonstrate: [that it] makes available a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities."

B. ESY in plain Language: What it is, and what it is not.

What ESY is:


What ESY is not:


C. Glossary of ESY Key Terms.

EXTENDED SCHOOL YEAR SERVICE(S) - The provision of special education and/or related services beyond the normal school year.
REGRESSION -A decline to a lower level of functioning demonstrated by a decrease of previously attained skills that occur as a result of an interruption in educational programming.
RECOUPMENT - The ability to recover or regain skills at the level demonstrated prior to the interruption of education programming.
TRADITIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL - Summer programs designed for special and/or general education students. These programs are voluntary and optional and provide enrichment or reinforcement activities. Summer school is not required to provide a student FAPE. ESY service(s) could be provided in combination with an existing summer school program as appropriate and as designated in a student's IEP.
CRITICAL POINT OF INSTRUCTION OR EMERGING SKILL - The point at which a student has almost mastered the skills in an instructional sequence. As the need for ESY service(s) is made, the IEP team must determine that a break in instructional programming would result in the loss of significant progress made toward the acquisition of a critical or emerging skill.
SEVERE REGRESSION - This occurs when the amount of time required to relearn skills or behaviors becomes so significant that it interferes with the gains made during the school year. Since most students experience some regression over extended breaks, a significant increase in the recoupment period must exist in order for regression to pose a significant threat to the gains made during the school year.
CRITICAL OBJECTIVES -Essential elements needed for the achievement of projected IEP goals.
INTERFERING BEHAVIORS - Behaviors such as stereotypic, ritualistic, aggressive, or self-injurious behavior(s), targeted by IEP objectives that would have prevented the student from receiving some benefit from his or her educational program during the regular school year, or whether the interruption of programming for this (these) interfering behavior(s) is likely to prevent the student from receiving benefit from his or her educational program without ESY service(s).


D. When and How Should an IEP Team consider ESY Services for students?

    1. Based on DPI Bulletin No. 96.01, the local school district is not required to consider extended school year services for every child at every IEP team meeting. However, when an IEP team member raises the ESY issue, then the IEP team must determine whether the child requires extended school year services in order to receive a free appropriate public education.
    2. Since The IEP team considers all appropriate factors in determining whether the progress a student has made during the regular school year will be significantly jeopardized if the student is not provided ESY services, These IEP meetings must take place toward the later part of the regular school year (typically, during the months of April or May).
    3. If ESY services are needed in order for the student to receive a FAPE, the student's IEP must include the specific special education and related services to be provided during the extended school year, and the frequency, location, amount, and duration of those services. In addition, the IEP must include goals and short-term objectives or benchmarks to be addressed during the extended school year.
    4. The IEP team should consider all relevant information relating to the student receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The IEP team should not use a single criterion (such as regression-recoupment) to determine the necessity of ESY.
    5. If the student needs ESY service(s), the IEP team should identify the IEP goals and objectives to be addressed. Decisions regarding service(s) must be based on the student's individual needs and not be dependent on existing programs.
    6. ESY service(s) should emphasize the maintenance of existing skills and development of emerging skills as indicated on the IEP.
    7. The provision of ESY service one-year does not guarantee service(s) for succeeding years. The need for ESY service(s) must be determined on an annual basis.
    8. ESY service(s) must be provided by qualified personnel.
    9. ESY service(s) must be individually designed rather than determined solely by the severity and/or category of disability.


E. Factors and Key questions to be considered by the IEP Team in determining students’ eligibility for ESY services.

Factors to Consider: Areas of Consideration

Type and Severity
  • The degree of impairment
  • The areas of the student's curriculum which need continuous attention
  • The student's vocational needs, whether the requested services are extraordinary for the student's impairment, as opposed to an integral part of the program for those with the student's impairment
Rate of Progress
  • The degree of regression suffered by the student
  • The recovery time from this regression
  • The student's rate of progress (including emerging skills)
  • Critical time to work on an emerging skill
Alternate Resources
  • The ability of the student's parents to provide the educational structure at home
  • The availability of alternative resources
Behavior/ Physical
  • The student's behavioral and physical problems
Other Relevant Factors
  • The ability of the student to interact with students who do not have disabilities

Factors to Consider: Critical Questions

In this section, you will find examples of predictive factors, as determined by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, with critical questions that might be asked to help determine whether the Predictive Factors are relevant in determining eligibility for ESY services. In some cases, examples are provided to further clarify when significant regression could occur and ESY services may need to be provided. These factors are to be reviewed anytime a student is being considered for ESY services.

Type and Severity
  • In what ways does the student's disability and/or intensity of needs impact the maintenance of learned skills?
    • A student with autism has a history of losing skills in the area of communication when structured activities are not provided over an extended school break.
    • A student with TBI has ongoing problems retaining learned skills and needs ongoing practice of these skills to prevent serious regression.
    • A student with multiple and severe disabilities requires very intensive services over the school year by parents and school staff collectively, to make progress on IEP objectives
Behavior/ Physical
  • Are there behavioral or physical factors that negatively impact the student's ability to maintain learned skills?
  • Have there been extended absences that impact ability to maintain learned skills?
  • Have there been major life events that impact ability to maintain learned skills?
  • Have there been significant behavioral challenges that interfere with maintenance of learned skills?
Alternative Resources
  • What community/home resources are already planned or could be available in order for the student to maintain learned skills?
  • How does the parents' ability to provide educational structure at home impact the child's ability to maintain learned skills?
    • A child with a learning disability has a family who is in crisis and therefore is not able to provide ongoing support in reading.
Ability to Interact with Non-Disabled Peers
  • Does the lack of opportunities for the student to interact with non-disabled peers significantly interfere with maintenance of learned skills?
    • A child with multiple disabilities has a goal of developing social initiation skills, but lives in an isolated rural area where no opportunities exist for interaction with typical peers.
  • What community/home support is needed to provide necessary opportunities for this student?
    • A child who is deaf and whose primary mode of communication is sign language has limited opportunities to communicate with others using sign language in the community.
Curriculum That Needs Continuous Attention
  • Are there any objectives on the IEP that require ongoing support in order to maintain learned skills?
  • Are there other elements of the IEP, such as a behavior plan or health care plan, which require ongoing support in order to maintain learned skills?
Vocational Needs
  • Does this student require ongoing support in order to maintain learned vocational skills?
    • A student has a job during the school year with support from the job coach. The question for the IEP team is: Will this student lose the opportunity to maintain learned skills over the summer without the support of a job coach?
Extraordinary Vs. Integral
  • What support/services are essential, as well as reasonable, to meet this student's individual needs in order to maintain learned skills?
    • A district can provide a student with Autism appropriate educational services within the school district, rather than sending them to an out-of-district/state special camp.
    • A district can provide a student with a disability who is reading well below grade level appropriate services within the school district, rather than sending them to a costly out-of-state special reading program.
Child's Rate of Progress
  • How does the length of time that the student takes to learn a skill negatively impact the maintenance of learned skills?
  • Would the interruption of services be detrimental to the student's continued progress?
    • A student with an emotional disability begins the school year with many office referrals. In the course of the year, the number of referrals decreases, but without the benefit of ESY, it can be predicted that the frequency of referrals would escalate to, or near to, the rate observed initially.
    • A student with a perceptual/communicative disability demonstrates peaks and valleys regarding the time it takes to become proficient in a skill. Data collection may not give a true picture of the difficulty the student has, but ESY could provide the prolonged opportunity for maintenance.
Other Relevant Factors
  • Has anything occurred additionally throughout the year that ought to be considered?

* Based in part on CESA 9 DPI IDEA Discretionary Grant and our own previous Memos.

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