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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Extended School Year Anyone????

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), some students in special education are eligible for extended school services (ESY). The ESY must be provided only if the child’s IEP team determines, on an individual basis, that the services are necessary for the child.

If Johnny’s IEP team determines that he qualifies for ESY services does he automatically have to go? Do his parent’s opinions count? What if his mother does not agree with her child receiving ESY services? Can the school district compel Johnny to participate in ESY services?

Do you think that special education students benefit from ESY services? If the child receives ESY services one summer but does not seem to be benefiting from it, should he/she be granted services the next summer?

This blog was created by Tjasa Korda and Roxane Nassirpour.


Laura M said...

I think that ESY is a great idea if it will help the child. However, I do not believe children should be forced to attend school in the summer if the parents object. ESY should only be mandated when a child has failed and needs to make up the work. What type of services are provided to students in ESY, is it educational or related services? Either way, parents should have the option of finding outside help if they choose.

Tahina said...

If the child is in need of ESY and the argument is presented to the parents with all relevant information (i.e., test scores, examples of other successful ESY students, services included, etc.) then of course, the child should go. It would be for his/her benefit. Why would the parents say NO? Would they dare say that it interferes with the summer vacation? I hope not.

Bottom line, I doubt anyone would deny their child any special services being offered. Especially if the parents have already been made aware they have a special needs child. It wouldn't be fair for the child to be denied this service if it is being offered.

Tjasa said...

“The purpose of the extended school year is to prevent or slow severe skill regression caused by an interruption of special education services during extended periods when school is not in session. It is not to enhance the present levels of educational performance exhibited by children with disabilities at the end of regular school year.”

“ Reasons why ESY services may be needed vary from child to child. Some children may suffer severe losses of social, behavioral, academic, communication, or self-sufficiency skills during interruptions in instruction. This is particularly true during long holiday breaks and summer vacations. The losses suffered may be so extensive that when school resumes, excessive amounts of time are needed to recover (recoup) lost skills, as compared to typical same-age peers.”

Source: http://www.nlc.state.ne.us/epubs/E2480/H033-2003.pdf

Tami said...

I feel that ESY can be beneficial to students. If it is recommended for a child, according to his or her evaluation and assessment, that he or she may attend school through out the summer months, I feel the child should attend. ESY is offered to students to help improve their academic performance, enhancing their life potential.
I feel that if a child is offered the option of an ESY, the parent should not deny this option. However, there are those parents in the world who will have their beliefs of why their child should not attend school through out the summer months. Ultimately, the parents have the final decision of whether or not their child partakes in this option.
ESY is beneficial to students because they will continue to practice skills through the summer, instead of taking a two month break which merely causes regression. Over the months of July and August a student may begin to regress, and when school begins again in September, the child may have to learn skills already learned the previous year. This takes up a lot more time which could ultimately be used gaining new skills and knowledge. ESY is meant to prevent this from happening, and I can only see good arising from an ESY for those students who are eligible for it.

SBartolozzi said...

Coming from working within the Special Education setting for a few years, I believe there are so many benefits to extended time in school. The consistency alone for many students serves a great need to keep them on the track they are going on. I've never seen a parent refuse the offer for ESY because I'm sure they realize the benefit it will have for their child. We had a few children not attend the summer program because of vacations, but never did a parent say that they didn't think their child needed it or could benefit from it.

My school district typically does a month summer program in the summer, where the students receive academics along with special services as well. Even if the summer program is a lighter workload, which it usually is, it still provides the child the chance to continue their routines and keep working on goals that were started in the school year.

I've seen students impacted by a week off or Christmas break, so imagine how that student would act with a full two months of no school? I think the most important point that ESY provides is consistency and an opportunity to maintain what was already learned during the year.

Desiree Antas said...

I think ESY is a great program and that students and parents should take advantage of it if it is offered. Regression is definitely possible and likely during the summer months and it not only affects students with disabilities, but those without as well. I know that when September rolls around it takes me a few weeks even maybe a month to get back into the swing of things. However, I adjust and realize the fun in the sun is over and it is time to get down to work. Students with disabilities might realize the fun is over, but regress so much during the summer that it is much harder for him/her to get back on track in comparison to their peers. For example, what if a third grader who has dyslexia is almost learning how to read in say late May and school breaks in another two weeks. What happens to that child during the summer months? We just tell that child and his/her family, “Ohhhh, don’t worry we will pick up where we left off in September?” That is ridiculous! These programs are in place for a reason and a parent who doesn’t take advantage of it is only doing a disservice to their child.

Angelica said...

I feel that ESY is a great start at providing the extra necessary resources to ensure that a child is receiving the education he/she is entitled to. However,like we mentioned in class, the simple fact that a child will have an extended school year during the summer does not necessarily mean that the child will positively benefit from it or learn what is necessary to achieve that particular subject content. I do believe that ESY can be beneficial because it helps students continue their practice of certain skills and it may reduce the regression that occurs during the 2-3 months vacation time. ESY would also allow the students to continue to achieve the goals that were initiated during the beginning of the school year.
If a child is offered ESY services, then I think the parent should take any opportunity available in helping the child overcome their difficulties, especially those concerning academic difficulties which may hinder a child even more. I don't beleive any parent would refuse these services for no reason, but if such a case were to arise, I don't think the school can force the parents or the child himself to participate in ESY. Depending on the child's age as well, the parents have the right to decide whether or not they are in accordance with the IEP's evaluation and assessment.

Jessica S said...

I am totally in favor of ESY for children with special needs, especially if the school indends on doing something worthwhile for them. Information loss over summer vacation is bad enough, especially when we are talking about students who have learning issues to begin with. I think ESY for students who need it is a great idea. Of course, no parent MUST do what the school recommends. But if you think about it, having kids in school more often certainly makes the issue of childcare less of a hassle, if it is an issue. However, I only support ESY for regular ed students if it goes only part of the summer. Someone made a comment about the school year being extended in Europe. And while it is true that Europeans go to school a bit longer than Americans, they too have a substantial summer vacation.I think a break is needed, especially when you're 12 and can pay attention for only 30 seconds at a clip.

Jamie Cowan said...

I agree with all of the supporting comments made for the ESY program. I can relate to Desiree's comment about it being tough to go back to school in September, even as an adult. That transition would be much harder on a child, and especially a disabled child where routines and structure often play a much more important role in their daily functioning. Parents should be provided with all of the information about the ESY and the benefits it will bring their child so they can make an informed educated decision. Unfortuntely there very well may be one or two parents out there that simply do not want to be "bothered" with the school system during the summer months, or for some other seemingly trivial reason choose not to send their child. What can be done about the somewhat neglectful parents, especially if we believe their choice is doing more harm than good?

Melissa said...

I would imagine that a child would benefit a great deal from an ESY program. If a child is receiving special services all year and they are behind, these extra months would provide them with extra time. There are only so many services that are provided throughout the year, and sometimes a child may need more help. If a child regresses significantly when he/she is out of school then they should stay in school longer. If the child is not going to retain what they are taught during the year because they spend a summer away, then they will regress even more when they start school the following year. I don’t think that these services could be mandated by a school district, it should be completely up to the parents. I think that forcing parents to comply with the ESY program would raise a whole lot of controversy. I’m sure many parents would see this as a benefit to their child and would be happy to see their child receive extra help.

Roxane N. said...

I think it is important to note that the Federal Government declined to develop established standards for determining eligibility for ESY. Thus, IEP teams must rely on state standards and judicial precedent.

In a case called Johnson v. Independent School District #4 of Bixby, 1990 (Etscheidt, 2002)the court determined that past evidence of regression/length of recoupement was not a mandatory requirement for ESYS. Also to be considered was the opinion of community professionals in consultation with the parents and the child's situation at home and in his or her neighborhood or community.

However, in Escheidt's (2002) comprehensive review of cases and administrative hearings related to ESYS, almost all decisions were established or denied based an an analysis of regression and recoupement. Other considerations included were student progress during the school year and whether they were in a stage of critical development (ie. 6 year old autistic child in critical stage for speech and language acquisition).

In my opinion, a think a large portion of children in special education will be further behind their peers when the following school year starts. They are going to regress at a more substantial rate than the norm and take longer to recouperate skills developed the previous year. Some states (Texas) only require ESYS if it is believed the kid will take longer than 6 weeks to recoup.

Thus, I believe a large portion of children in special education should be receiving ESYS. IMO it's a no brainer.

Escheidt's article is great and discusses eligibility and how to determine. It's really a 'how to cover your --- for IEP teams'.

Escheidt, S. (2002). Extended School Year Services: A Review of Eligibility Criteria and Program Appropriateness. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 27(3). 188-203.

jesse s said...

I believe that ESY provides a good opportunity for students to get extra help. It is especially important for students with disabilities. WHen a child receives help throughout the school year and it terminates for three months during the summer they are subject to a great deal of regression. This regression must then be dealt with in the fall and the pattern will continue. The child will keep taking two steps foreword and one step back. The case Lawyer v. Chesterfield School Board points out the importance of helping children in their "window of opportunity" which is described by the court in it's statement: "Finally, the evidence provided by expert witnesses indicates that for children who suffer from moderate to severe childhood autism, there is a small, but vital, window of opportunity in which they can effectively learn." If the students do not continue to learn during this window of opportunity there can be severe consequences. Therefore, any parents who does not want their child to receive these services is putting their child at risk to not develop to their true potential. To do so would have a huge negative impact on the child and for this reason parents should not be able to decide against it.