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Extended School Year: Why and When?

posted Apr 30, 2011, 11:43 AM by Diane Willcutts   [ updated May 2, 2012, 7:03 AM ]


Extended School Year services (ESY) are IEP services that are provided outside the regular school year that are needed to provide a student with a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  

The Planning and Placement Team (PPT)—which includes parents--must decide each year whether or not a student requires ESY services to support appropriate progress.  

Whether a child requires ESY services is not a clear-cut decision, and there is often confusion about when this should occur.  E.g., in his 1/10/2002 memo to special education directors, George Dowaliby, then Chief of Connecticut’s Bureau of Special Education, stated: 

A clarification note regarding the provision of extended year services is necessary at this time.  Parents are reporting to the Bureau that some school districts limit the analysis of a child’s eligibility for extended school year services to a regression/recoupment criterion.  This is not a correct application of the June 1, 1996 memo distributed to school districts or of the current case law that addresses this issue. . .There are both regression and nonregression factors which must be considered in determining whether or not a child may be eligible for extended school year services.  They are: 

The nature or severity of the student’disability (nonregression);         

The student is likely to lose critical skills or fail to recover these skills within a reasonable time as compared to typical students (regression/recoupment);         

The student’s progress in the areas of learning crucial to attaining self-sufficiency and independence from caretakers (nonregression);         

The student’s stereotypic, ritualistic, aggressive or self-injurious interfering behaviors prevent the student from receiving some educational benefit from the program during the school year  (nonregression); or         

Other special circumstances identified by the IEP team such as: the ability of the student to interact with other non-disabled students; the areas of the student’s curriculum that need continuous attention; the student’s vocational needs; or the availability of alternative resources.

And from Pages 58 and 59 of the State's Guidelines for the Identification and Education of Children and Youth with Autism:

How do we determine if a child with ASD requires ESY?

This determination should be based on the specific needs of the student. Although it is always an individual PPT decision, the state has provided guidelines based on case law decisions for determining ESY services (see Appendix III-A). There is a likelihood that ESY services will be needed during the summer months, due to the very nature of ASD. Some factors to consider when making this decision include: regression, the severity of the child‘s disability, the existence of behaviors that might interfere with the student‘s ability to benefit in the educational setting during the school year, and the student‘s progress of learning self-help skills critical to attaining independence.

As with all IEP services, ESY must target the student’s unique needs, and ESY is provided without cost to parents.   


The federal IDEA regulations state:

§300.106 Extended school year services. 

(a) General.

(1) Each public agency must ensure that extended school year services are available as necessary to provide FAPE, consistent with paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(2) Extended school year services must be provided only if a child’s IEP Team determines, on an individual basis, in accordance with §§300.320 through 300.324, that the services are necessary for the provision of FAPE to the child.

(3) In implementing the requirements of this section, a public agency may not—

(i) Limit extended school year services to particular categories of disability; or

(ii) Unilaterally limit the type, amount, or duration of those services.

(b) Definition. As used in this section, the term extended school year services means special education and related services that—

(1) Are provided to a child with a disability— 

(i) Beyond the normal school year of the public agency; 

(ii) In accordance with the child’s IEP; and 

(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))

Additional resources:

Connecticut's 2007 Topic Brief on ESY and the 2005 Guidelines for the Identification and Education of Children and Youth with Autism are attached, below. has lots more information about ESY here.

Diane Willcutts,
May 2, 2012, 7:01 AM
Diane Willcutts,
Apr 30, 2011, 7:01 PM