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What Does Your Extended School Year Program Look Like?

School bus 2 Extended School Year, or ESY is a hot topic in special education. Programs vary dramatically from state to state and school district to school district. Use the comments section to share your ESY experiences - good, bad or ugly.

In our town, my children have a four day program, from 8am - 1pm beginning July 7th and ending August (I typed autism and had to delete it, as usual with any word that begins with "au") 13th. We keep familiar staff, though not all. They are in their school year building, for familiarity. Your turn. KS



If you look up IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Act which was revised in 1997 just about everyone of your schools is probably breaking the law in some fashion. You should get a hold of your procedural safe guards. Your child's school has to give them to you if you ask for them, or you can just look them up on the internet by state. Schools are not aloud to just tell you no, or we cannot do that. They can't tell you, your child doesn't qualify for ESY because she doesn't have the right disability. They have to give you a written notice telling you what they have refused and why. You also have the right to refute anything they say. When it comes to extended school year they are suppose to consider more that regression. It is suppose to be completely individualized.

Leslie Moran

It would be helpful if comments would always mention which state they are from. Also helpful would be child's diagnosis, e.g., mild PDD thru severe autism, as recommendations are/ should be individualized.


we had to request that it be added to his IEP. Here in California he will attend a 5 day/wk, 4 hr/day program at a different school with different teachers and will be lumped together with kids with different needs. He will get his ST and OT though, in fact I plan to arrange to come just during therapy time. I think the rest of it would be counter-productive for him.

A. V.

CT is looking good here, wow. My 5yo daughter will have her third summer (June bd) of 6 wks of ESY, 9-1, M-F, with ST, OT, and PT slightly less frequently than during the school year (but more than last summer); this year she'll be on the bus because she's finally ready enough for me to allow it. This schedule means a 2-wk break from school before and after summer school which is just about right.


My son will go to ESY for six weeks, four mornings a week, with the same peers from the regular school year. His usual, excellent speech therapist as well as the best autism teacher in the entire school (which has an outstanding self contained as well as inclusion program during the regular year) will be working this summer - in fact, if his application to teach summer school wasn't selected, the autism teacher was planning to volunteer. At the end of the day, my son will self administer his enzymes, then eat his organic, gfcf, preservative free, school lunch. (I believe school lunch is free in the summer although usually he pays the same as anyone else.) I could not ask for a better school program. Where? you might be's a Chicago public school.


We are back with the school district since being out for 5 years. I feel a little guilty saying that my child will be in her NPS from July 1 through July 29th, from 8:30 to 3:00. She has been out of school for a year though, so I do feel it is fair to get her acclimated prior to the official start of the school year. She is nervous, but excited to be around kids again.

E.T.'s Mom

Speech therapy, 30 minutes a day, twice a week, for the month of June. Honestly, though, it's ok with me. The special ed program here is a joke. They lump all the special ed kids age 3-14 into one room (small school). The last year my son went, he was the youngest child in the room by 5 years. (He was 3, the next youngest was 8 and the others were 12-14.)I went in to observe an evaluation and the older kids were either coloring or learning to crochet. Yep, THAT will help them later on in life...... Also, despite the fact that several kids desperately need intensive physical and occupational therapies, they are offered only on a consultation basis. Why? Because there is only one (public)place (that the school has a contract with) here that offers pediatric therapies and they refuse to come out to the school for more than evals and consults every 3 months. So, we get to pay for PT and OT out of pocket.


lol, spec ed school my ds attended for pre k said 'we don't do that here'.


No ESY for my son in Utah. He would have to show significant regression over Christmas or Spring Break to qualify.


Extended school year? ESY? What is this thing you speak of? Seriously, I do know what it is and we do have it at our school I am told. Although, Sam hasn't qualified since his first year of preschool some 5 and 1/2 years ago and I know of only one child who actually receives ESY every year.



Texas: M-F, 7:45 - 12:45, 3-4 weeks. "Social skills" and learning about feelings. It's held at the local high school (nice). DS thinks he's in High School now. Then we'll have 4 *thirty minute* sessions over 2 weeks of one on one tutoring. At the ARD I explained that thirty minutes will barely be enough time to transition there and out. I also asked if he's in "Fourth Grade" (they skipped him a grade to be with his age appropriate peers) and reading on a First Grade level (thanks to a year stuck in the behavior room and zero educational intervention, why can't we have an educational ESY? *crickets.* Thanks to our crummy Governor and our "9 Billion Dollar rainy day fund* DS is *just* number 9, 987 on the CLASS waiting list for State services. I think a tutor is in order for the rest of the summer.


Oh, my (then) non-verbal preschooler did not "qualify" for ESY services. They said he did not "regress" over a 2 week Spring Break period, therefore would not "regress" over the school year break.

F**king ridiculous. If my child had qualified, they were prepared to offer him one hour of ST a week for a month.

Early intervention, my ass!

Michelle Wandrack

Runs from June 28th to July 23rd. Four hours per day. At a different school. Different teacher. Busing provided per his I.E.P. Won't get Speech or OT while there. All disabilities together. Mimimal that the school district can do. With California's budget crisis I'm surprised they even have it period. Next year I will be paying for my son's bus transportation because there's no money in the budget!


My son gets a 6 week program. It runs 5 days a week and is a full school day. He will get limited speech, ot and pt. Reading some of the others, I will not complain.

Kym Grosso

Our district, in PA, typically offers a canned academic leaning program which they provide inhouse. Usually we do not take it because it is not appropriate, and have opted for private tutoring.

This summer; however, they are offering an acting social skills camp. And while it is still offered inhouse, it is much more promising. I am hoping my son enjoys it. He is also getting tutoring via ESY during the month of August to help with reading.

I am keeping my fingers crossed! :-)


Our ESY sucks this year....two weeks, M-F, 8-12.....this is our first year of ESY through public school and not through early intervention.

Yet last year my older son had a six week summer school for Title 1 (different than ESY), M-F, 8-12....that is completely cut and there is no Title 1 summer school at all this year. Purpose of me posting this is I can't believe my younger son who has ASD is getting less summer school than my older son did last year :/

Jennifer Flinton

Here in the Round Rock, Texas Independent School District, my ASD son gets 2 hours of ESY, 4 days a week, for 5 weeks. The kids, ages Kindergarten through 5th grade, are all lumped together into one, generic special needs classroom at one elementary school (not the one he normally goes to). Some kids go from 8 - 10 am and others from 10 am to 12 noon. Luckily this summer, the teacher who agreed to work ESY is the same one who will be his teacher for the next 3 years, so it is a nice way for them to get to know each other.

Very few kids are approved for ESY here - they have to have shown clear, documented regression or be very, very far behind in some critical area, like self-help skills or behavior (this is why my son qualifies).

Back in the Olympia, WA school district where we moved from, all ASD kids automatically got ESY (except they just called it summer school - I never heard the term ESY until I moved here to Texas). And if I remember correctly, it was for 3 or 4 hours per day, 4 days per week, for 5 weeks.


6 weeks, Mon-Fri 8:10 - 1:15 ish; Busing; SLP, OT. Same behavior therapists as school year, not the same SLP, OT. ESY is centralized into one school so not our home school. We are in Connecticut


Our campus is closed during the summer; last year we were offered but declined ESY (OT, PT, speech) through L.A.U.S.D. 4 weeks, 4 days 8-12, but at a different school far from our home. This year, due to budget cuts (they cut the last week of the school year, too), we were not offered any ESY. I have not asked around to see if anyone else is doing it, or if the dedicated special needs campuses in our local district are to remain open for ESY.


My son is in a private placement. Summer hours are M-F 9am-3pm (with the exception of Wednesday, he is off at 2pm) This begins June 28 thru Aug. 6. There are 2 days off for the 4th of July holiday. He will continue to work at his IEP goals and will receive speech and OT.

Leslie Phillips

Our school district normally distributes an ESY brochure which states the dates and times it will occur. This is completely contrary to the notion that special education services are "individualized". How can a canned program, predetermined in scope, content and length possibly be individualized? The quality varies depending on the classroom teachers from decent programming to mediocre babysitting.


this year I declined the offer the staff made me in our annual IEP meeting... after the last year experience I don't think I'm going to send my son to "summer school" again... yes, it is convenient for me because I can go different places while he is safe and "out of my way"... but for him it was a nightmare!! 4 weeks, a different school, different teacher, different class mates, lots and lots of anxious kids (I count more that 100 children with disabilities attending and 30ish buses every morning) By the time my son was starting feeling comfortable, the program was over...

not again, not for him.... poor kid!


Our kids are all lumped together at one school. The only teacher for the kids in my daughter's group is the teacher who has abused her in the past so NOT GOOD! We negotiated Home instruction due to the past abuse (poor other kids though). Without that she's be up a creek without a paddle, even worse than the regular school year crap!


I live in RI with 3 special needs children. My 11 yr. old in 5th grade has ASD. He has been denied ESY for many years. When he was in pre-school and Kindergarten, it was not even an issue-he automatically was approved. He has been denied since then. I fought "tooth and nail" for him to go in 1st and 2nd grade ESY. He regresses every summer, but he is still denied and they tell me to send him to a summer social skills group at $700.00 a pop, but the school dept. refuses to pay for it. (It is not covered by insurance) Paperwork was sent last year to the Special Ed. Dept. for my son to attend a special needs camp-It sent on a desk ignored. My 4 yr. old with developmental delays(yet to be diagnosed with Autism) goes to ESY from July 12th-August 20th for 4 hours a day. School ends this Thurs. (But I'm sure he will get denied ESY once he is out of Kindergarten, also) I have a 9yr. old son(with many diagnosis) who doesn't have an IEP but a 504 plan(I fought for an IEP, but was repeatedly denied) so I have a better shot at winning the lottery on that issue. Basically for many years, I have been fighting for basic educational rights on many issues. I go to these IEP meetings stating to "the team"(which I do not feel that I am part of) that all I'm asking for them to do is what is required by law. SO HERE'S TO SUMMER- AND SITTING ON THE BEACH WITH MY SON WHO WILL BE THE ONE SCREAMING BECAUSE HE IS AFRAID OF SAND!!!! :) (But remember: he will also be the one who was denied ESY.)


Monday through Friday 8-noon(ish)
Same teacher and aides, same classroom. I wish it were a week longer, but I'm happy that the class and instructors are the same.


july 6- 29
8:30am-11:30am, mon-thur. Except start date on tue, due to 4th. We are in junior high this year so it will be at different location. At a junior high. We will see how this staff is, will be our first year at this location. They try and have the same staff every year.


My son is 3, so this will be our first experience with ESY (doesn't start until July). Just 4 weeks, 3 hrs a day, 4 days a a different school than he's been attending. He's non-verbal & I WILL be driving him to school myself.

In the fall, he'll go to yet another new school (he was in an "overflow" preschool class, due to moving into the state & a late birthday....UGH). I sure hope ESY & his next preschool class are BETTER about communicating about his day. This year has been....disappointing, as far as the preschool experience (comparing it to his teacher/class where he first started preschool, at age 2 1/2, in a different state). We love where we live now, but it's been an adjustment for all. There aren't many things I miss about VA....but his therapists & preschool teacher there were awesome.

Cathy R.

My son is at a private school (read: out of district placement not Exeter Academy). so of course they have an ESY program. It has progressed in the 4 or 5 years he's been there from glorified babysitting (or worse - we almost pulled him twice) to a program that they've declared will attempt to continue to move children forward in their goals, not just attempt to avoid backsliding. They added swimming and horseback riding last summer. 6 weeks M - Th from 8:30 to 2p.

I look forward to the summer that I have BOTH my kids home with no summer school.... a girl can dream. An since I'm dreaming big, I'll dream of hitting the lottery so I won't have to work that summer either...

L Land

I think I've mostly repressed my memories of ESY. But I have not forgotten being told that they couldn't write notes home because they didn't have any paper! I some how don't think they did much!! The 49th (?) state in education, Georgia, where we are thankful for that 50th state so we are not last.

Mark L. Olson

ESY at my daughter's special needs school in Las Vegas runs July 1-29 (except the 4th) and is her normal schedule 7:15am to 1:37pm with her regular teacher, classmates and programming. We also continue to get door-to-door transportation from the district and it will be the same driver and aide we had all year. The regular school year ends June 16 and resumes in late August.


In Georgia, it is pathetic and not worth it with the school system.
We have a great nonprofit organization that has summer camp and uses volunteers from the local university (typically students in teaching). The camp does everything and will try to work on IEP goals but the skills are built in to the activities. If your child needs 1:1 which most do as they may be in wheelchairs, they get 1:1.

It is not just autism but all disabilities which is important for having a community where disabled kids and teens can go and feel great about themselves. Some kids are only severely physically disabled but it is nice because they add the positive cognitive (or NT) to the mix. There is no bullying, stares, or teasing like they get in school all year as anyone who even goes there is booted after counseling.

My child gets 1:1 but I still send two therapists, one medically trained to stand-by for the medical emergencies, and the other who knows my child well from home to be around to make sure that communication is not an issue or problem. The camp is 200.00 per week (with discounts for volunteering) and scholarships. Most people do not bring therapists and the school district will usually pay for the camp if what they offer is not appropriate. We do not bother anymore as it is a PIA.


3 weeks 5 days a week for 3 1/2 hours a day.


I'm in MD and ESY, while they do try, is basically babysitting. It runs from July 5-30, M-TH 8 to Noon. You choose 3 or 4 "important" goals (I thought they were all important) from the IEP to focus on. It's not perfect but it beats nothing and it allows me some one on one time w/ my other child during the summer.


We live in Florida our ESY program is 6/21-7/28 8am till noon Monday thru Thursday. Our daughter will receive 90 minutes of slp and 30 minutes of o/t per week. It is an IVE class 3-5 year olds not sure who is teaching but I've been told 9-12 students one teacher and one aid. If I had known it would be that many students and a teacher and aid that don't have to have asd training I would have requested asd class with one teacher two aides and seven kids. In Florida teachers aren't required to have asd training unless 100% of students in class are asd. Found that out at an ESE meeting something not mentioned during IEP meeting.


Summer time:
I always let the kids chill out.
Then in the evenings we would read for pleasure, something that was just too much for them during the school year. That is they were too tired or busy for it.

One summer we read all dog stories.
We also taught them how to raise a garden.
How to ride and care for their horse.
Just to be around the extended family, and be around farming chores and not be so tired.

Tanners Dad

Our summer school seems like an unorganized mess. We were not told where or when ESY would take place until the last minute. Three locations were discussed. It was supposed to be 8 - noon four days a week. The first day the bus returned to our house at 11:30 AM. Thank God I was home. Still have not gotten a good answer for the missing half hour.

We had to find our own aide. The classroom is made up from students from at least four districts. A principal organizing the program told our aide what she will be paid. Now a week into the program the home district has come back & told her she will be paid just about 1/2 of what the other aides in the same classroom are getting. What a mess... Any Ideas. Our Aide is ready or may be forced to quit, since she was banking on the extra money. Is this even legal? As if we have enough to worry about... Very timely question for us. TannersDad Tim

Maurine Meleck

Ugly--programs were limited before and now with the money crunch it's even worse. Joshua's had no ESY program since he was 5. In the great state of SC--if you are verbal-you can pretty much forget summer program.
When I tell them he doesn't retain what he learned in the school year--over the summer--they tell me it doesn't count if he never learned it in the first place. In the beginning we fought like crazy for summer help and lost. No money to carry the fight to the end Regular school year better though. Maurine


4 weeks - 3 hours a day - 4 days a week.

Important to note:
Summer is the time when schools do maintenance like painting, laying new carpet and spraying for bugs exposing our kids to a tremendous amount of toxins. Please talk to your schools and find out what maintenance is planned and when. Its also a great time to talk to them about options for non-toxic paints and cleaners!

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