Special Education » Extended School Year

Extended School Year

Extended school year services (ESY) means the individualized extension of specific special education and/or related services that are provided to a student with a disability beyond the normal school year of Somerset County Public Schools, in accordance with the IEP, at no cost to the parents or guardians, and that meets the standards of the Maryland State Department of Education. Extended School Year services are only necessary to FAPE when the benefits that a student with a disability gain during a regular school year will be significantly jeopardized if he/she is not provided with an educational program during the summer months. Somerset County Public Schools may not limit extended school year services to particular categories of disability or unilaterally limit the type, amount, or duration of those services.


ESY is not simply the extension of the school year, an automatic summer school placement, or a summer enrichment program.  Additionally, not every student with a disability requires ESY.  In reality, there may be a relatively small number of students with disabilities eligible for ESY.


At least annually, the IEP team shall determine whether the student requires the provision of extended school year services.  This determination should be made early enough in the school year to allow the parent sufficient time to exercise their procedural safeguards rights if they disagree with the proposal made by the IEP team.  However, it should not be made so early as to not have sufficient information in order to make an informed decision. If an annual IEP meeting is held before there is sufficient information to make an informed decision about ESY, the IEP team may choose to defer the decision.  If ESY is deferred, another IEP meeting must be held later in that same school year to examine the information and make a decision concerning ESY.


In determining the student’s eligibility for ESY, the IEP team shall consider:

  • whether the student’s IEP includes annual goals related to critical life skills;
  • whether there is a likelihood of substantial regression of critical life skills caused by the normal school break in the regular school year and a failure to recover those lost skills in a reasonable time;
  • the student’s degree of progress toward mastery of IEP goals related to critical life skills;
  • the presence of emerging skills or breakthrough opportunities;
  • interfering behaviors;
  • the nature and severity of the disability; and
  • special circumstances.

The IEP team is to consider each factor independently to determine the impact on the student’s ability to receive educational benefits from the program. In the consideration of the need for extended school year services, this standard must be individually applied to each student. The IEP team shall determine whether the benefits the student with disability gains during the regular school year will be significantly jeopardized if that student is not provided with an educational program during a normal break in the regular school year.



If the IEP team determines that a student meets the criteria to receive ESY services, the IEP team will identify the goals and services that will need to be implemented during ESY.  The following information is documented on the current IEP:

  • specific goals and objectives that require ESY services,
  • the type(s), amount(s), and duration of special education and related services(s), including transportation needed to meet the ESY IEP objectives,
  • the least restrictive environment in which ESY services can be provided to meet the ESY IEP goals and objectives, and
  • the amount of time the student will participate with nondisabled peers.

Parents/guardians have the right to accept or decline ESY services.


Because ESY services are uniquely designed to meet the individual needs of a student with a disability, it is necessary to emphasize that extended school year services are:


  • not a mandated twelve (12) month service for all students with disabilities;
  • not a child care service;
  • not necessarily a continuation of the total IEP provided during the regular school year;
  • not intended to teach new skills, or to increase progress on instructional objectives;
  • not required to be provided all day, every day, or each day during the normal school break;
  • not an automatic program provision from year to year;
  • not a service limited to or available by only broad categories of disabilities, or
  • not a service to be provided to maximize each student’s potential.