What are extended school year services (ESY)?
ESY services are special education and related services for children with disabilities provided beyond the normal school year, in accordance with the child’s IEP, and at not cost to the parents.
How do I know if my child qualifies?
The IEP team determines if your child qualifies for ESY services. The need for ESY services must be determined on an individual basis and are necessary for the provision of FAPE. Several factors are looked at to determine the need:
The need must be documented through formal and informal evaluations provided by the district and/or the parents.
- Does the student regress in critical areas and then require a significant amount of time to recoup those skills?
- The loss of the critical skills may result or will result in one of the following during the first eight weeks of the new school year:
- Placement in a more restrictive environment;
- Significant loss of acquired skills necessary for the child to appropriately progress in the general curriculum;
- Significant loss of self-sufficiency in self-help skills areas are evidenced by an increase in the number of direct service staff and/or the amount of time to provide special education or related services;
- Loss of access to on-the-job training or productive employment as a result of regression in skills; and
- “Severe or substantial regression” means that the child has been, or will be, unable to maintain one or more acquired critical skills in the absence of ESY services.
- The IEP must determine the reasonable period of time for recoupment of acquired skills on the basis of needs identified in the child’s IEP.
It has been determined that my child is eligible for ESY, what’s next?
Once your child qualifies for ESY services the IEP team will then develop goals and objectives for ESY based on your child’s current IEP. According to TEA transportation services are to be considered and offered if this service is needed in order for the child to benefit from ESY services.
The IEP team rejected ESY services and my child lost critical skills and failed to recoup them.
If after a reasonable period of time your child has failed to recoup critical skills lost over the summer, then you can request an ARD meeting and the IEP team must reconsider the child’s current IEP if the child’s loss of critical skills interferes with its implementation.
My child’s school has not offered ESY services and I believe my child will benefit from it.
First, review your child’s file and see if there is evidence to support your request for ESY services. If there is evidence that supports your request call an ARD meeting to discuss ESY services as early in the Spring semester as possible. Expect resistance from the school. Be sure to include the evidence to support your request.
An IEP meeting must be held no later than 30 days after the evaluations for determination of eligibility for special education and related services are complete and no less than annually for students currently receiving special education and related services.
You should get a notice of the meeting from the local education agency (LEA). This notice must include the purpose of the meeting, the time and location of the meeting, who will attend the meeting, information regarding the rights of the parties to invite other individuals to attend and information regarding transition service, when applicable.
- The Purpose of the Meeting: What will be discussed at the meeting (some examples below):
- Transition Services
- Review Current Information
- Services for the next IEP/School Year
- Extended School Year Services (ESY)
- Review Existing Data
- New Evaluations
- Consider changes to Accommodations/Modifications
- Consider changes to Behavior Intervention Plan
- Consider changes to Schedule of Services
- Discuss participation in State/District Assessments
- Time and Location: The school must notify you of the time and location of the meeting. They must do so early enough that you have the opportunity to attend. They must schedule the meeting at a mutually agreed upon time and place. If the time they have listed on the notice is not convenient for you, you have the right to request that the meeting be re-scheduled to a time that is convenient for you. If you cannot attend the IEP meeting, the LEA must use other methods to ensure your participation including individual or conference calls or video conferences.
- Who Will Be in Attendance: They must list everyone who will be attending the IEP meeting.
- Required Members of the Meeting:
- The parent(s) of the child.
- Not less than one regular education teacher. You can invite some or all of your child’s regular education teachers to attend if you think their subject area is going to be discussed.
- Not less than one special education teacher or where appropriate one special education provider. You can invite some or all of your child’s special education teachers/providers to attend if you think their subject or area of expertise is going to be discussed.
- Representative of the LEA.
- Someone who can interpret the evaluations.
- At the discretion of the parent or LEA, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel.
- This can include a friend, advocate, your child’s doctor or therapist, case manager through DARS, DADS or other service providers. If your child has moved up to the next school, you can even invite someone from the previous school who knows your child best to provide input.
- Where appropriate, the child.
- Interpreter: The LEA must take whatever action is necessary to ensure that you understand the proceedings of the IEP meeting. This includes arranging for an interpreter if you are deaf or if English is not your native language.
- Required Members of the Meeting:
- Inform Parents:
- Of their and the LEA’s right to invite other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child.
- That the determination of the knowledge or special expertise of any individual invited must be made by the party who invited the individual to the meeting.
- If the child is transitioning from Part C services, at the initial IEP team meeting under Part B that an invite, at the request of the parent, must be sent to the Part C service coordinator or other representative of the Part C system.
- Transition Services: No later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16 or younger if determined appropriate, the notice must:
- State the purpose of the meeting will be to consider postsecondary goals and transition services for the child;
- That the LEA will invite the child; and
- Identify any other agency that will be invited.
- Having the IEP Meeting Without the parent(s): The LEA can have the IEP meeting if they have been unable to convince the parent(s) to attend. They must keep records of their attempts, such as:
- Detailed records of telephone calls made and results of the calls.
- Copies of correspondence sent to the parents and any response received.
- Detailed records of visits made to the parent’s home or place of employment and the results of those visits.
Do you request a coordination of services meeting prior to the start of the school year? If you don’t I would encourage you to do so. Send a letter or e-mail to your child’s principal or the person who coordinates your child’s IEP/504 Plan meetings and request an informal meeting with your child’s IEP team and teachers prior to school. While waiting for the date to be set, prepare a packet to present to the school. In this packet include:
- An update of your child:
- Medicine changes;
- Behavior changes;
- Any major life altering evening (move, death in family, divorce, etc) that may cause problems at school; and
- If your child has meltdowns:
- What triggers them
- What is working
- What has not worked
- Your child’s strengths
- What your expectations of the teacher are:
- How to communicate with you
- Notifying you of:
- behavioral issues
- late/missing assignments
- Provide them with information on your child’s disability
At the meeting encourage the team to ask questions of you regarding your child. You can ask questions that you may have regarding the implementation of any of the goals or behavior plans at this time. You can also ask the teacher how he/she runs their classroom and their expectations concerning your child. This meeting will serve as a gauge as to how your chid’s teacher is going to react to your child and how much they know about your child’s disability. Convey to them that you look forward to working with them as a team in the upcoming school year. It is after this meeting that you can make a written request for additional training for your child’s teacher or based on what the teacher said, request a teacher that would work better with your child.