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Does my child need an extended school year?

Written by  Mariann Crincoli, Esq.

An extended school year (ESY) refers to educational programming beyond the required 180-day school year for students with disabilities who are eligible. Although every student with a disability who has an individualized education program (IEP) must be considered for ESY, not every student is eligible for ESY. The determination, like all other programming decisions for students with disabilities, must be made annually on an individual basis by the IEP team. Parents are a valuable member of the IEP team and must be part of this decision-making process.

Several factors must be utilized by the IEP team in making a determination about whether a student is eligible for ESY. First, significant consideration should be given to the possibility that a student will regress if skills are not carried over beyond the traditional school year. In other words, if an interruption in the receipt of educational services would cause a student to regress and would require significant time to recoup, ESY is likely appropriate.

Other factors that the IEP team should consider include:

• The nature and severity of a child’s disability;

• The ability of the child’s parents to provide educational structure in the home, behavioral and physical impairments;

• The ability of the student to socialize with nondisabled peers, the student’s vocational needs and the availability of alternative resources.

Critical to the determination about whether a student should receive ESY services is parental and teacher input, and assessment of a student’s progress relative to IEP goals and objectives. A student is not required to fail to be deemed eligible for ESY services. If a parent disagrees with the determination about the provision of ESY services, legal recourse is available.

If you are concerned about your child’s assessment, please feel free to reach out to SGW for an initial consultation to discuss your child’s educational rights.

Mariann Crincoli, Esq. has worked in both law firm and in-house settings over the last 20 years. For the past decade, she has passionately devoted her practice to education law matters, including counseling clients in the areas of special education, student discipline and harassment, intimidation and bullying, constitutional issues, residency, employment and personnel matters, and contract matters. Ms. Crincoli previously represented mentally incapacitated persons, as well as premier hospital systems in guardianship matters. She has also recently published articles regarding special education residential placements and religion in public schools.

Ms. Crincoli received her law degree from Seton Hall University and her undergraduate degree from Seton Hall University where she graduated summa cum laude. She is a member of the New Jersey Bar Association and is admitted to practice law in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.