Administrator’s Corner: What is an extended school year?

Published 3:00 pm Friday, April 19, 2019

Administrator’s Corner by Tami Alphs

Tami Alphs


ESY; what is it? 

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Extended school year, or ESY, is the summer programming we provide for our special education students who qualify for these services. It is not the same as summer school.

ESY is:

• Based on individual student needs and specific skills important to maintaining overall progress. 

• Designed to maintain skills. 

• Discussed and determined on an individual, case-by-case basis by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan team. 

• A team decision that is discussed at IEP meetings and determined by data collected on student progress. 

ESY is not:

• To provide education beyond what is described in IEP goals and objectives.

• Based on student programming or placement — rather, students qualify based on their needs and work on IEP goals.

• Required for convenience of school or parents.

• Considered in order to help advance students in relation to peers.

There are three ways for a student to qualify for these summer services:

• Regression/recoupment: A significant decline in skills that are specified in a student’s goals on their individual education program and the ability to regain those skills after the break. (Takes longer than the break for students to recoup those skills)

• Self-sufficiency: The functional skills necessary for a pupil to achieve a reasonable degree of personal independence as typically identified in the annual IEP goals. Example of these types of skills include eating, dressing, toileting, physical mobility, muscular control and basic communication, among others. 

• Unique need: The IEP team otherwise determines, given the pupil’s unique needs, that ESY services are necessary to ensure the pupil receives a free, appropriate public education.

All students with disabilities who receive services through an IEP must be considered for ESY. Consideration is based on individual needs of the child including data and IEP goals and objectives.

Tami Alphs is the director of special services for Albert Lea Area Schools.