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If you have any questions regarding extended school year, contact one of our attorneys at (203) 221-3100.

What is Extended School Year?

Summer is well underway, and for many students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), this means participating in Extended School Year (ESY) programs. ESY differs from typical summer school as it provides specialized instruction and related services essential for students to maintain their skills and prevent regression during the extended break from school.

Similar to the rest of a child’s IEP, the ESY program must be personalized to meet the specific educational needs of the student, ensuring progress towards their IEP goals and objectives. It’s important to note that not all students in special education require ESY services. If a child is unlikely to experience skill regression over the summer or can quickly regain previously learned skills after a break, they may not qualify for ESY services.

That being said, a diverse range of Extended School Year (ESY) programs should be offered to qualifying students. School districts cannot restrict ESY offerings to particular subjects or specific disability categories. Although there is often an emphasis on academic subjects like reading and math, your child may also qualify for services such as behavioral support, speech and language therapy, or occupational therapy during the summer. If data gathered throughout the school year indicates a need to reinforce any skills during the summer, it’s advisable to discuss including them in your child’s ESY program with their Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.

ESY Programming and Development

If your child is currently enrolled in an Extended School Year (ESY) program but you feel it may not be suitable for him—for instance, if it doesn’t target the necessary skills or if it mainly covers goals they have already achieved—you should communicate your concerns to your child’s teacher, IEP case manager, or a summer administrator. As children develop and progress, their educational needs can evolve, especially when the ESY program is planned well in advance of summer break. While waiting until June to finalize an ESY program isn’t advisable, planning too early might necessitate revisiting the plan at the end of the school year.

It’s important to know that you have the right to request revisions to your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) and to request additional assessments of your child’s abilities and progress as necessary, ensuring they receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), including during the summer months.

What if I Disagree With My Child’s ESY Placement?

In certain instances, parents may not agree with the school team’s recommendation to enroll their child in an Extended School Year (ESY) program. This could be due to concerns that the suggested ESY program may not be suitable, or because the parents have alternative plans for their child, such as attending a summer camp or gaining work experience. Alternatively, some parents may feel their child would benefit more from a break from school, prioritizing play-based learning and socializing over potential academic regression.

Depending on your child’s specific needs, you may have the right to receive funding from the school district for a summer program of your choice, even if it differs from what is initially proposed in your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). It’s crucial to thoroughly research available summer programs and to engage in detailed discussions with the IEP team about why you believe your chosen program is appropriate to meet your child’s specialized needs during the summer months.

Seeking guidance from an education law attorney or a parent advocate can be beneficial in advocating for the ESY program that best suits your child’s requirements.

Maya Murphy P.C. has proudly been included in the 2024 Edition of Best Law Firms®, ranked among the top firms in the nation. In addition, Managing Partner Joseph C. Maya has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 for his work in Employment Law and Education Law in Connecticut. Recognition in Best Lawyers® is awarded to firms and attorneys who demonstrate excellence in the industry and is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor.

Our firm in Westport, Connecticut serves clients with legal assistance all over the state, including the towns of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Bethel, Branford, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Darien, Derby, East Haven, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Meriden, Middlebury, Milford, Monroe, Naugatuck, New Canaan, New Fairfield, New Haven, Newton, North Branford, North Haven, Norwalk, Orange, Oxford, Prospect, Redding, Ridgefield, Seymour, Shelton, Sherman, Southbury, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven, Weston, Westport, Wilton, and Woodbridge. In addition to assisting clients in Connecticut, our firm handles education law matters in New York as well.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney about a legal matter, please contact Joseph C. Maya and the other experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com to schedule a free initial consultation today.