David at WMSummer is approaching and its time to think about Extended School Year (ESY) for your student with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Extended School Year (ESY) is a service available to children with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).  Parents who believe their child should be offered ESY services need to begin negotiating with the child’s IEP team as soon as January of the year the parents are seeking extended school year services.

In Colorado, the law provides that a school shall provide extended school year services ONLY IF the child’s IEP team determines those services are necessary to provide the child with a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Free appropriate public education has a malleable definition that can be argued in several different ways.  This can lead to disagreements between parents and other members of the IEP team.

If you believe your child needs and deserves extended school year services and the child’s IEP team disagrees, you may have Federal case law on your side. 

At least two Federal courts found several factors to be considered when deciding whether a child is eligible for an extended school year.

Factors in these two cases include:

  • Regression and recoupment – is your child likely to regress over the summer and be unable to regain those skills in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Degree of progress toward IEP goals and objectives.
  • Interfering behavior.
  • Areas of your child’s curriculum that need continuous attention.
  • Availability of alternative resources.

When negotiating with your child’s IEP team, remember extended school year laws vary across states.  Even the two Federal cases mentioned above didn’t come up with the same factors for deciding whether a child is eligible for an extended school year.  Because there is no clear answer across the country, your child’s team may be more willing to listen.

Remember, never take legal advice from members of your child’s team or school personnel. They are not lawyers and may not be giving completely accurate information.  Please contact a professional attorney to handle your questions.

If you are being denied Extended School Year services or Individualized Education Program and you believe your child is eligible, contact us for assistance on how to proceed.

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