With summer quickly coming, parents are beginning to wonder whether they should have put more thought into an extended school year back in September. This is often something that is put into an IEP before the school year starts. While it may not be right for all special education students, it can be the perfect way for some struggling students to catch up with their peers and keep their foundation of learning solid throughout the summer. While extended school year, or ESY, programs most often happen in the public school setting from June through August, they can actually be formatted in many ways to allow for the greatest good for any particular student. Here are a few things that all parents of special education students should know about ESY before they determine if it is right for their children.
First, ESY may or may not be in one’s local public school. While many public school districts do offer regular school programs, the exact services given should match with the student’s needs. For example, some students may do better with continuing behavioral therapy throughout the summer while others may need social stimulation. Parents may be able to find other ESY programs throughout their communities and even in local private schools.
Second, ESY can be used for a variety of needs. Of course, it can be used to create a firmer academic foundation. It can also be used for continuing occupational or speech therapy. It may be used to help students solidify a skill that they were in the process of learning at the end of the school year, or more frequently, it is used to prevent regression during the summer.
Finally, discussion about an ESY should occur with every IEP meeting to ensure that no student is left behind his or her peers. If school officials or teachers do not bring this subject up, parents should always ask about and discuss their concerns. Parents are encouraged to collect and store progress data about their children throughout the school year to help all parties involved make a wise decision.