April 2022
By Kimberly Caputo, Esq., Special Education attorney with McAndrews, Mehalick, Connolly, Hulse and Ryan P.C.

ESY 2022 - Tips for Parents and Caregivers

With the spring comes a very important IEP team process: determining whether a student needs “extended school year services” (ESY) and what those services look like. 

ESY services are individualized and available to students with disabilities after the official school year has ended. Every student with an IEP is entitled to a team determination as to whether services over the summer are necessary. 

Remember, parents/caregivers are members of this team and part of the decision-making process. It is also important to remember the ESY consideration process involves (2) decisions: First, is the student eligible, and second, what individualized summer services does the student need?

Every ESY decision must be covered by a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) and a Parent/Caregiver can disagree with either or both of the decisions. 

There are some important ESY “facts” to remember particularly this year as so many students had some level of “virtual” instruction for the 2020-2021 school year and may be experiencing challenges with a return to more traditional instruction. We hope the following is helpful as you consider the ESY process for your child!
Extended School Year “Facts”:

-         Every student with an IEP is entitled to a team review to determine if ESY services are needed. A determination for students with significant disabilities should have already happened as the law requires this cohort of students have ESY decisions completed no later than March 31st each spring.

-         The team review should have already happened for some students and should be well underway for the remaining students. If you did not have an IEP meeting to discuss ESY, you may want to ask for one immediately or contact us for a review of your situation.

-         A student cannot be denied ESY because he/she/they are “high functioning.” ESY eligibility is an individualized decision made each year involving multiple factors and each student’s needs.

-         An ESY IEP meeting should take into consideration ALL the needs of your child – including academic, behavioral, transition and related services (speech; occupational therapy; physical therapy; counseling; vision and hearing support).

-         Transportation to and from ESY must be provided.

-         When ESY is needed it must be “individualized” for each child. A cookie cutter ESY program (i.e. 4 days a week for a set time each day for a total of 6 weeks) may not be appropriate for your child and you can request an alternative be considered.

-         Support like a 1-1 or Personal Care Assistant (PCA) must be available in ESY as well as related services like speech, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.

We know parents and caregivers have a lot on their plates and advocating can be challenging. We are here to help and do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns
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