Special Education Extended School Year Programs
Sutton Public Schools
Policies & Procedures
This document represents the Sutton Public Schools policy and procedures regarding the provision of extended school year programs. The policy and procedure details the criteria used by a team for individually determining the need for ESY programming. To ensure the consistent staff implementation of its ESY policy the Sutton Public Schools trains all staff involved in team evaluations to implement the ESY policy and procedures.
All children “regress” – lose progress, forget, and revert to previous behavior – to some extent between school years. It must be determined whether a child’s regression would likely be substantial, and whether the child would require greater than usual time to “recoup” –to get back to the level the child had achieved before a break in service.
Extended School Year programs may not be limited to children with special needs in certain program types (e.g., substantially separate settings) or to children with certain types of special needs. Decisions about ESY programs must be made on an individual basis, taking into consideration the unique needs of the child.
The Massachusetts Department of Education interprets a child’s difficulties with “recoupment” to be an aspect of “significant regression”. Specifically, significant regression and recoupment consist of the following inter-related elements:
- the loss of performance levels that were attained before a break in service,
- the child’s limited learning rate, which lengthens the amount of time the child requires to review and/or relearn previously attained objectives, and
- the fact that the time for that child to accomplish such recoupment is greater than the period of time the school district allows all other children for review and/or relearning. (i.e., seven to nine weeks)
Any discussion regarding needed ESY programming must take into account the child’s history of significant regression and limited recoupment capability. In other words, a child team must look backward and forward when considering the need for ESY programming.
In addition to significant regression and/or limited recoupment, courts have set forth other ESY criteria to be applied by a team as follows:
- the degree of the child’s impairment
- the parents’ ability to provide structure at home
- the child’s specific rate of progress
- the child’s specific behavior and/or physical problems
- the availability of alternative resources
- the child’s ability to interact with non-disabled children
- the specific curricular areas in which the child needs continuing attention
- the vocational and transition needs of the child
- whether the service requested is “extraordinary” rather than usual in consideration of the child’s condition.
Only when all factors are considered together by the child’s team can a determination be made as to how much service will be offered.
When there is no previous record of a child’s substantial regression after a significant break in service, a team should still consider the need for an ESY program if the following circumstances are present:
- there is a significant lack of progress in meeting short-term objectives over two marking periods, resulting in little or no progress made over the school year,
- there are significant regression/recoupment problems over short-term vacation periods or other breaks in the school year, and/or
- the unique nature of any specially designed instruction or related services due to the disability of the student requires such extended school year programming
Since proposed ESY programming must take into account the probability of substantial regression, school districts should ensure that special education service providers maintain quantitative and qualitative data regarding the child, including anecdotal records on the rate of both learning and relearning, as well as a child’s attainment of IEP goals and objectives.
Extended School Year programs may include special education and/or related services and must be specified on the IEP, Since ESY services are proposed in order to avoid substantial regression, the portion of the child’s IEP for ESY services may differ somewhat from the portion of the IEP that governs the provision of services for the regular school year. Such differences may be separately described on an additional IEP service delivery grid that specifies that specifically outlines the proposed extended school year services and their duration and frequency. The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs has indicated:
It is…reasonable for an extended school year IEP to concentrate on:
1. the areas in which the child may experience regression, or
2. skills or programs that are not academic but are needed so that regression does not occur in academics.
(Citation omitted) Myers, EHLR 213:255.
As in regular school year placements, the principles of least restrictive environment (LRE) apply to the provision of ESY services. (OSEP policy letter, December 18, 1989)
Federal special education regulations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA) do provide for “recreation programs” as related services. Therefore, an ESY program may consist of, or include, a recreation program. As with all special education services, educational goal(s) and objectives for a recreational program must be included in a child’s IEP. Note, however, that state special education regulations indicate that camping or recreation programs provided solely for recreational purposes and with no corresponding IEP goals or specially designed instruction shall not be considered extended year programs.
The Sutton Public Schools’ Special Education Extended School Year (ESY) programs are not “summer school”, therefore the district can not categorically refuse to consider ESY programs because the district does not offer “summer school” to all children.
At least once annually the child’s special education team must consider the need for an extended school year program and record its determination on page six (6) of the IEP. A team’s determination regarding the need for an ESY program must be made on an individual basis.
The child’s team must not put off a determination to offer ESY programming until the end of a break in service (i.e., summer vacation). The team must consider the need for such services prior to the beginning of the break in service by anticipating whether substantial regression and problems with recoupment will occur in the absence of ESY services. ESY programs should be a continuation of the education benefits that are available to a child during the regular school year and should be consistent with the child’s IEP goals and objectives addressed throughout the regular school year, however, they don’t necessarily have to be the same services delivered at the same frequency as provided during the school year.
The ESY services described in an IEP will be provided at no cost to the child’s parent(s).
Parents and school personnel should contact Mr. Richard J. McInerny, Director of Pupil Services at (508) 832-7752 and/or the Department of Program Quality Assurance Services (781) 338-3700, if further clarification is needed on the topic of Extended School Year Programs.