Extended School Year (ESY) Toolkit

Extended School Year (ESY) Toolkit

Extended School Year (ESY) Toolkit

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Steps to Request Extended School Year Services from School Districts

Step 1: Understanding ESY

School districts must provide students with IEPs with a free, appropriate public education, or FAPE. A FAPE means special education and related services that are provided to a student without charge, meet appropriate standards, and conform with a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).

A student’s IEP team will determine whether the student needs ESY. Not all students who have IEPs are eligible for ESY. ESY may be necessary for some students to receive a FAPE.

ESY includes special education and related services. ESY services are provided free of charge. ESY services are documented in the student’s IEP. ESY services must be individualized to the student, and provide a student FAPE in the least restrictive environment.

ESY is provided when a school is typically not in session, such as during the summer. ESY services:

  • are not “summer school” and must be “educationally based,” that is, related to your child’s IEP goals and services; and
  • do not include child care or respite care; it is meant to help your child reach minimum levels, not to have them surpass their peers.

In California, a student with an IEP is eligible for ESY services if:

  1. The student’s disabilities “are likely to continue indefinitely or for a prolonged period”;
  2. An interruption in the student’s educational program may cause regression;
  3. The student with a disability has limited ability to relearn skills, known as recoupment capacity; and
  4. The above factors make it “impossible or unlikely” that the student with a disability will attain self-sufficiency and independence without ESY services.

However, the “lack of clear evidence” of the above factors may not be used to deny a student ESY if the IEP team determines the need for such a program and it is written into the IEP.

Step 2: Ask Yourself Questions About Your Child’s Needs and Whether They Need ESY

Ask yourself:

  1. Will my child lose critical skills without continued support and teaching?
  2. Will it take a long time for my child to regain those skills – longer than it would take a child without a learning difference?
  3. Has my child had difficulty retaining skills over shorter breaks, including any gaps in education because of COVID-19 school closures or distance learning?
  4. Does my child need continual reinforcement or reminders to keep their skills during the regular school year?
  5. Is my child beginning to master an important skill that a break in services threatens progress on that skill?

Step 3: Collect Information About Your Child’s Needs/Skills

Before the IEP meeting, you can write down your observations of your child – inside and outside of class time. You can look at progress reports on IEP goals, grades, and/or assessments of your child in the past months. Gather information that helps show the IEP team how your child’s educational programming will be interrupted without ESY, such as information that shows your child:

  • Is likely to lose critical skills or regress;
  • Is on the verge of a breakthrough or obtaining a “crucial skill” (such as toileting, calculating, verbalizing);
  • Is likely to have their learning disrupted if there is an interruption in services;
  • Has behaviors that interfere with their education;
  • Has specific areas of the curriculum that need continuous attention;
  • Has not made enough progress toward a goal, which will prevent them from receiving meaningful benefit over the next school year;
  • Has made little or no progress; and/or
  • Has any other special circumstance.

You may want to be prepared to share with the IEP team:

  • Any challenges your child experienced during remote/distance learning;
  • Any lack of access to other resources and supports; and/or
  • Any services and supports that you are unable to provide to your child at home because you are not trained to provide those services, like speech and language.

Step 4: Make a Decision to Request ESY Services for Your Child

After asking yourself questions and reviewing information about your child’s needs and skills, you can decide whether you want to request the IEP team to provide your child with ESY services. If you would like to ask the IEP team for ESY services, request an IEP meeting in writing. A template letter is provided below to help you get started. School districts must hold an IEP meeting within 30 days of a parent’s/guardian’s request.

If you do not want to ask the IEP team for ESY services, no additional steps are taken.

Step 5: Attend the IEP meeting and Explain Why Your Child Needs ESY

At the IEP meeting, explain to the IEP team why your child needs ESY. Bring any documents, like progress reports, grade cards, and assessments, to the IEP meeting. These documents can help show the IEP team how your child’s educational programming will be interrupted without ESY.

The IEP team should make a decision on whether to offer ESY services to your child. If the IEP team agrees to offer ESY services to your child, make sure you ask questions about the school district’s ESY program. Ask about dates and times of the ESY program, how instruction and related services will be provided to your child during the ESY program, and the location of the ESY program. Also ask information about transportation to and from the ESY program. ESY services are offered through the student’s IEP. You will need to consent to ESY services for your child to receive these services.

If the IEP team does not offer your child ESY services, you have a few options. You can file a due process complaint against the District with the Office of Administrative Hearings. Please refer to Chapter 6 of DRC’s Special Education Rights and Responsibilities Manual for more information: https://serr.disabilityrightsca.org/. You can also request the school district to hold an IEP meeting within the first 30 days of the next school year. At that IEP meeting, you can explain any regression your child experienced because they did not receive ESY services. You can also request ESY for the following year for your child. Template letters are provided below to help you get started.

A flowchart visually showing the steps in the previous section.

 

Disability Rights California’s Special Education Rights and Responsibilities Manual

DRC’s Special Education Rights and Responsibilities Manual, or SERR Manual contains several sections about extended school year, or ESY, services. Here are the SERR Manual’s specific sections that talk about ESY services including some updates:

 

Know Your Rights

You can also print out this Toolkit for easy reference when you go to your IEP meeting.

  1. You have the right to meaningful communication and participation in your student’s education process. 
    *regarding placements, services, supports, IEP, 504 plans, ESY, summer school.
  2. You have the right to ask any questions, address any concerns you may have about the process and your student’s education, as many times as needed to understand what is going on.
  3. You have the right to ask to see the schools, district policies.
    *Request in writing.
  4. You have the right have someone attend the meetings with you, for support. *Friend, Relative, Dr, Therapist, Case Worker, etc.
  5. You have the right to request as many meetings needed to address your student’s education. *Request in writing.
  6. You have the right to take notes and have them attached to any of the meeting notes and documents.
  7. You have the right to audio record the IEP meeting.
    *Request in writing at least 24 hours before the meeting.
  8. You have the right to request assessments.
    * Request in writing.
  9. You have the right to request Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) if you do not agree with the assessment outcomes. * Request in writing.
  10. You have the right to think things over before signing.
    * Remember services cannot begin until signed. But old services if applicable will continue.
  11. You have the right to agree to some parts and disagree with others.
    * Be as specific as possible to what you agree with and what you do not.
  12. You have the right to file Due Process/ Compliance complaint.

 

Letter Templates

To Request ESY and an IEP Meeting

If you have made the decision to request ESY services for your child (Step 4), the next step is to ask the IEP team for ESY services. You should request ESY and an IEP meeting in writing. This template letter helps you ask for ESY and an IEP meeting.

Template Letter - English (rtf)
Template Letter - Spanish/Español (rtf)
Template Letter - Korean / 한국어 (rtf)
Template Letter - Chinese / 中文 (rtf)
Template Letter - Vietnamese / Tiếng Việt (rtf)
Template Letter - Khmer / ភាសាខ្មែរ (rtf)
Template Letter - Russian / русский (rtf)
Template Letter - Tagalog (rtf)
Template Letter - Hmong / Hmoob (rtf)
Template Letter - Armenian / հայերեն (rtf)
Template Letter - Arabic / عربى (rtf)
Template Letter - Persian, Farsi / فارسی (rtf)

To Disagree with ESY Denial and Request IEP Only

If you have already requested ESY services and your child’s IEP team determined that your child does not qualify for ESY services, Step 5 outlines some of your options. Below is a template letter that helps you put in writing that you disagree with the IEP team’s denial of ESY and that you request an IEP meeting for the following fall to discuss compensatory education.

Template Letter - English (rtf)
Template Letter - Spanish/Español (rtf)
Template Letter - Korean / 한국어 (rtf)
Template Letter - Chinese / 中文 (rtf)
Template Letter - Vietnamese / Tiếng Việt (rtf)
Template Letter - Khmer / ភាសាខ្មែរ (rtf)
Template Letter - Russian / русский (rtf)
Template Letter - Tagalog (rtf)
Template Letter - Hmong / Hmoob (rtf)
Template Letter - Armenian / հայերեն (rtf)
Template Letter - Arabic / عربى (rtf)
Template Letter - Persian, Farsi / فارسی (rtf)

To Disagree with ESY and FAPE Denial and Request for IEP Meeting

If your child has been denied ESY and also appropriate services during the school year, you can use this template letter to

  • disagree with the District’s denial of ESY,
  • document the services that your child missed during the school year, and
  • request an IEP meeting to discuss compensatory education.

Template Letter - English (rtf)
Template Letter - Spanish/Español (rtf)
Template Letter - Korean / 한국어 (rtf)
Template Letter - Chinese / 中文 (rtf)
Template Letter - Vietnamese / Tiếng Việt (rtf)
Template Letter - Russian / русский (rtf)
Template Letter - Khmer / ភាសាខ្មែរ (rtf)
Template Letter - Tagalog (rtf)
Template Letter - Hmong / Hmoob (rtf)
​​​​​​​ Template Letter - Armenian / հայերեն (rtf)
​​​​​​​ Template Letter - Arabic / عربى (rtf)
​​​​​​​ Template Letter - Persian, Farsi / فارسی (rtf)