Are Your IEPs Ready for Summer?
As the end of the school year approaches, many IEP teams are examining whether students need extended school year services (“ESY”) over the summer break in order to receive FAPE. IEP teams should consider determining whether or not ESY services are necessary. Here are a few guidelines to assist your teams in making such determinations:
- Base decisions on multiple criteria, rather than a single factor. Specifically, consider other factors in addition to the likelihood of substantial regression and amount of time to recoup lost skills such as: the nature and/or severity of the disability, child’s rate of progress, behavioral issues, or other special circumstances.
- Obtain the information needed to make an informed decision such as: teacher observations, benchmark measures, progress toward goals/objectives, evidence of regression following a break, and evidence of difficulty recouping information and/or skills following a break.
- If ESY services are determined to be necessary, clearly identify the provider, beginning and end dates, frequency, duration and location of the services in the IEP.
- Do not unilaterally limit the type, amount, or duration of ESY services.
- Remember that ESY services are not limited to particular categories of disability.
Ensure that ESY services are provided in the least restrictive environment – that is with general education peers to the maximum extent possible. However, there is no requirement that an LEA create a general education summer school program in order to satisfy the least restrictive environment requirement. Furthermore, a full continuum of services is not required for ESY services.