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Special Education Programs & Services

Extended School Year Services (ESYS) are special education services that are provided to a child with a disability beyond the normal school year. ESYS is provided in accordance with the IEP at no cost to the parent or child. 281--Iowa Administrative Code 41.106

Any services provided beyond the regular school year by the LEA and/or AEA constitute an ESYS program when the following conditions are met:

  • The IEP team has made an individualized determination that there is a need for such services to insure an appropriate education for a student with a disability.
  • The need and the services are documented in the IEP.
  • The services are accessed or provided by a public educational agency.
  • The student’s progress is monitored by appropriate special education personnel.

Iowa has developed standards that may be used by IEP teams in deciding whether ESYS is necessary to provide FAPE or an individual student. They are:

  • goal areas of concern;
  • the “regression-based” ESYS standard; and
  • the “rare and unusual circumstances” ESYS standard.
  • other considerations

Extended School Year Services Brochure

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Goal Areas of Concern

First and foremost, there must be a goal area where there are significant concerns regarding skill acquisition or maintenance of skills during a break in services. These goal areas should represent skills essential to the progress of the student.

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Regression-based Standard

Regression refers to the failure to maintain an acquired skill in an identified goal area of concern as a result of an interruption of special education instruction or support services in an IEP goal area, to the extent that an unreasonable period of reteaching as determined by the IEP team will be required to regain previous competence.

In applying this standard IEP teams should consider the following:

  • ESYS may not be limited to children who have actually experienced serious regression,
  • the information considered may not be limited to empirical data, but must encompass all relevant data,
  • consideration must be given to whether the child’s disability is such that he or she cannot reasonably suffer an significant regression, and
  • for any IEP team using a nine-week recoupment period it must be interpreted flexibly in light of the needs of the individual child
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Rare and Unusual Circumstances Standard

Rare and unusual circumstances refer to situations where failure to provide a service will result in the permanent loss or severely limit the pupil’s capacity and potential to acquire skills needed for the student to benefit from FAPE. In most cases, ESYS shall provide for the acquisition of a skill and prevent the anticipated permanent limitation.

In applying this standard, IEP teams should consider the following:

  • ESYS is provided when the student is in a “critical stage” of development-when there is a “window of opportunity” that will be lost if services are not provided.
  • ESYS is provided when ESYS will significantly enhance a student’s ability to function independently.
  • ESYS is provided when continuous or year-round treatment is an integral part of the methodology deemed to be appropriate for the student.
  • ESYS is provided when there are special needs for services arising out of a student’s individual circumstances.
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Critical Questions

The three standards can be addressed specifically by the IEP team if the team answers the following critical questions:

  • Will acquisition of maintenance of the skill significantly enhance the student’s ability to function?
  • Does the skill represent a barrier to continuous progress or self-sufficiency?
  • Is there significant information that leads the team to believe that there would be a regression of skills necessitating extended recoupment time is ESYS is not provided? (Although nine weeks or more has been considered “extended recoupment time,” the IEP team should determine on an individual basis what is realistic for each student.)
  • If the student has not yet experienced regression, does the IEP team believe the serious potential for regression exists?
  • Is the student at a critical stage in development where the “window of opportunity” will be lost if the student does not receive services?
  • Is continuous or year-round treatment an integral part of the methodology deemed appropriate for the student?
  • Are there unusual circumstances which are a possible factor for ESYS?

If the IEP team answers “yes” to any of the above questions, then ESYS should be given serious consideration. However, an answer of “yes” does not mean the student is in need of ESYS, but it does mean that the IEP team needs to carefully consider the information in their review.

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If a decision to provide ESYS is made, the agreed upon services should be documented on the IEP

Each IEP is marked with “Yes” or “No” on the Extended School Year Services section on the Services page.

  • If “Yes”, then services must be described
  • If “No”, (describe the option to say no at the time, but meet again at a time appropriate to make the decision)

Prior Written Notice must be given at the following times:

  • When a student has been determined to need ESYS by the IEP team
  • When a parent requests ESYS, but the other IEP team members decide ESYS are not warranted
  • Other considerations
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