Is My Child’s ESY Program Appropriate?
Deciding whether the Extended School Year (“ESY”) program being offered by your child’s school is appropriate is no easy task. However, there are several factors/questions you to consider in making an informed decision on your child’s ESY program:
- What goals will be implemented in the ESY program? During ESY your child should be working on the goals in his or her IEP for each area that he or she is eligible for ESY programming. For example, if the IEP team determines that your child is eligible for ESY related to social skills and reading comprehension, then the goals in his or her IEP related to reading comprehension and social skills should be implemented during ESY.
- What Specially Designed Instruction (“SDI”) will be implemented during ESY? It is important to understand how the School District will be working on the goals in your child’s IEP during ESY, and to ensure that the methodology and SDI implemented during ESY are consistent with the methodology and SDI implemented during the regular school year. So, for example, if the School District is using a particular to instruct your child in reading during the regular school year and the data shows that program to working, the District should be implementing the same program to instruct in reading during ESY.
- Is the District providing related services during ESY? If your child is receiving related services (e.g., speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, etc.) during the school year, it is certainly possible that those related services may be necessary during ESY. At the very least, the fact that during the regular school year, your child required related services to access his or her program, begs the question of whether he or she requires those same related services to access his or her ESY program. In the end, the decision by the team should data driven.
- How long is my child’s ESY program? Many school districts have a standard ESY program that operates a certain number of weeks over the summer, for so many days each week, and so many hours each day. Whether the typical program in your district runs for 3 half days per week for 6 weeks over the summer, or 5 full days for 8 weeks, the specifics of your child’s ESY program must be an individualized decision based on his or her needs. So that if the data suggests that your child requires more than the district’s typical ESY program the district is obligated to provide it.
While consideration of the above factors will hopefully prove helpful in the decision making process, deciding whether a proposed ESY program is never a simple task. Remember that throughout the process you can consult with not only your child’s school team, but with private educational consultants, evaluators, therapists, and teachers, and you always have the right to disagree with ESY programming being offered.