Is your child eligible for summer services?
Do you know if your child is eligible for summer services? If you assume he or she is on the list, you may discover too late the opposite is true.
It’s essential to follow up with the school now to find out your child’s status, before final decisions are made.
Spring is when administrators plan summer staffing and determine the needs of students for summer services, or Extended School Year services (ESY).
What is ESY?
The goal of ESY is to provide students with disabilities special education services over the summer to prevent regression and provide special education students a Free and Appropriate Public Education. Special education law requires ESY for qualified students.
ESY also includes related services, such as social skills, speech, occupational therapy or physical therapy, as may be required by your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
On the ESY list?
How do you find out if your child is on the list for ESY? First, check your child's service delivery grid in the IEP. Next, email or call the school’s special education director or team chair to request a team meeting in the near future. Have your data ready, in case the team is leaning toward declining ESY for your child.
How is ESY eligibility decided?
In a perfect world, ESY determination is made at your child’s annual review, no matter when it is held. The regulations say the determination must be made at annual meetings. It may be appropriate to discuss the details of these services closer to the end of the school year, but the go/no go decision is to be made at the meeting.
The school district should continually collect quantifiable evidence year round to help determine whether your child is a risk for regression, should there be a gap in specialized services. In other words, documentation that, without summer instruction, the child will not retain the skills he worked hard to acquire during the school year.
Unfortunately, the above scenario just doesn’t happen as often as it should. We've found most Cape Cod area school districts persuade parents to table the discussion until the spring, saying it is hard to determine until closer to summer months.
If you need evidence that your child’s progress will not be retained over the summer, compare last year’s June progress report to this school year’s fall benchmark testing.
Bring that data to the team meeting to show that, without instruction, a significant gap and regression would occur in your child’s learning when returning next fall.
It’s important to know that lack of data does not necessarily eliminate the possibility of your child receiving ESY services
Of all parts of the special education process, we find that ESY requires the most regulatory knowledge and familiarity with the child and his learning challenges.
At Cape Cod Advocate, our years of experience bring strong understanding of the regulations as well as deep familiarity with individual learning challenges. We have relationships with the schools and know the requirements needed to individualize services.
If you are concerned about your child’s eligibility for summer services, or if he has been found ineligible, call or email us immediately for assistance. Time is of the essence!
If he's on the ESY list
If your child is identified by the school as a student requiring summer services, you may choose whether or not to accept the services. Either way, it is imperative to communicate your decision with the school or your advocate. If you do plan on utilizing those services, complete and return any forms the district has sent and touch base with them to confirm dates, times and locations. If anything is different from what is contained on your child’s service delivery grid, you should contact the school, or your advocate.
Important documentation Toward the end of summer services, be sure to ask the service providers to draft a written summary of what your child completed over the time period. This document could assist in making your child’s case for services next year, if needed.
Declining ESY If you have decided NOT to participate in summer services, we recommend sending a letter to the district, politely waiving the services. Much like with a party invitation, an RSVP is important.
Hold your school district accountable for your child’s summer services! Start the process now, to uncover the school’s view of your child’s eligibility. If you disagree with their findings, contact us for guidance and expertise.