Might Your Child Need Extended School Year Services?

May 7, 2021 | Disability Legal Services of Indiana

With the end of the school year approaching, many parents are discussing extended school year (ESY) services with their child’s case conference committee (CCC). If you are one of these parents, we have important information. And if you are not familiar with ESY, you’ll definitely want to read on.

ESY services are special education and related services provided to a student with a disability:

  • beyond the school district’s normal school year or instructional day;
  • in accordance with the student’s IEP;
  • and at no cost to the parent or student.

ESY services must also meet the standards of the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).

All public schools must make ESY services available, as necessary, to provide free and appropriate education (FAPE). The student’s CCC decides if such services are necessary. Each student’s IEP must also contain language specifying whether the student needs ESY services. If your child’s CCC has not discussed these services and you feel your child might need them, remember you have the right to call a CCC meeting to discuss this issue.

Determining whether a student needs ESY services can be difficult. The IDOE, therefore, wrote a guidance document to assist CCCs. It was updated in March of 2020, just as the pandemic closed schools and turned our focus to many other education challenges. Therefore, most parents might not be aware of the updated document: IDOE ESY Technical Assistance Document - March 2020.

When CCCs evaluate the need for ESY services, the focus is often on the following two factors from the guidance document: 1.) regression/recoupment of skills; and 2.) the break-through of a critical skill. However, parents should know the IDOE specifies that special circumstances unique to an individual student can determine the need for ESY services. The IDOE explains consideration of special circumstances on page 8 of the guidance document and provides examples on the second page of the decision-making form at the end of the document. The IDOE acknowledges, however, that there can be no exhaustive list of special circumstances a CCC might consider.

As we finish this unusual school year, where some students learned remotely, some in-person, and some had to switch between the two, we recognize that our children have had to experience school differently than any other students previously. In addition, many students experienced significant stress due to the pandemic. As you discuss ESY services during your child’s CCC meeting, bring up any unique, pandemic-related factors that have impacted your child’s education this year. Such special circumstances might result in the need for your child to receive ESY services over the summer.

For information about the ESY requirements mentioned in this article, see 511 IAC 7-32-39, 511 IAC 7-36-4, 511 IAC 7-42-6(f), and the IDOE ESY Technical Assistance Document. As always, if you have education-related questions or concerns regarding your child with a disability, feel free to contact us via phone: 317.426.7733, via our website: DLSI, or complete an application for assistance online at: DLSI Application for Services.

The statements contained herein are provided for informational purposes, are not to be considered legal advice, and should not be construed to form an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact an education attorney.