Extended School Year (ESY) is not the same as summer school. Summer school is optional and is offered at the discretion of districts, whereas ESY is a mandatory extension of special education services during breaks in regular instruction.
Although the specific reasons vary from student to student, the need for ESY arises when it is determined the student: 1) requires a significant amount of time to recoup a previously acquired skill or knowledge following an extended break from instruction and/or services; 2) the pupil is at a critical learning period and interrupting instruction and/or services will severely jeopardize the student’s ability to benefit from their program of specialized instruction; or 3) the break will prevent a student who is in a functional curriculum from attaining or maintaining self-sufficiency skills that allow for personal independence.
All students, disabled and non-disabled, experience regression during breaks in instruction. For the purposes of ESY Services, regression is a decline in the performance of a skill or acquired knowledge, as specified in the annual goal(s) of the student’s IEP, that occurs during a break in instruction.
A student’s ability to regain the skill performance or relearn the acquired knowledge to approximately the same level that existed just prior to the break in instruction.
Regression/recoupment is significant when the recoupment period is longer than the length of the break in instruction. For example, to be considered significant, the time needed to recoup/relearn a skill in the fall would need to be greater than three months—the length of the summer break.
Those functional skills necessary for a student to achieve a reasonable degree of personal independence as identified in the annual IEP goals for a student requiring a functional curriculum. Self-sufficiency goals include such areas as: toileting, eating, dressing, muscular control, personal mobility, impulse control, maintaining stable relationships with peers and adults, basic communication skills and functional academic competency.