There are more than 19,000 students enrolled in the School District of Philadelphia who have been identified as having a disability. Each one is legally entitled to have their Individual Education Plan (IEP) team, with their parents, consider their need for Extended School Year services and develop an individualized service plan accordingly.
In October 2014, we filed a class action lawsuit against the School District of Philadelphia for violating federal law by unilaterally assigning uniform ESY services to students with disabilities without making individual determinations.
On January 31, 2017 the District entered into a settlement agreement agreeing that ESY services will not be predetermined or limited to the services offered in the School District’s planned summer ESY programs. The District agreed to:
• Discuss each student’s ESY needs at every IEP team meeting and document the grounds for ESY determinations.
• Determine each student’s ESY programming based on that student’s individual needs, as opposed to automatically assigning students to the District’s pre-scheduled summer ESY program.
• Train special education directors, special education liaisons, special education teachers, and other district personnel in the District’s obligation to make individualized ESY determinations.
• Share data about the District’s ESY services with the Public Interest Law Center over the next three years.
• Improve communications with parents over the next three years.
• The District will offer two ESY trainings to parents each year – one in fall and one in spring.
• Parents will receive ESY Services Notices during February report card conferences. These notices explain that ESY must be discussed at every IEP Team meeting and also explains the data used for ESY determinations. See the ESY Services Notice here.
• The District changed the ESY Transportation Form to explain that transportation is determined on an individual basis for those children who receive more, fewer, or different services than the services offered through the District’s scheduled summer program. See a copy of the ESY Transportation Form here.
• The District updated its website to include relevant information on ESY. A link to the District’s webpage on ESY is here: http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/s/oss/2014-esy-extended-school-year
Examples of ESY service delivery models that may be outside of the District’s planned summer program include additional hours of supported services, take-home instructional materials, behavioral training for parents or program staff, and services contracted through community agencies or APSs. And ESY is not just for summer services; some children have needs that require services during other school breaks. For more details on the law surrounding ESY and the settlement agreement with the District, see the video, below.
Complaints about ESY in the Philadelphia School District may be directed to the District through your Special Education Director and Ms. Abena Osei at Esy@philasd.org. If the District is not addressing ESY issues brought to their attention, please contact the Law Center at (215) 627-7100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions about ESY services? Watch this presentation by attorneys on Extended School Year Services and the ESY lawsuit:
Specific topics within video:
1. ESY services overview: Definition of ESY (3:53)
2. Individuals with disabilities act (IDEA) and Pennsylvania status (6:37)
• Entitlements of parents
• Issues in Pennsylvania
3. Determining eligibility – Overview (7:49)
4. Determining eligibility, Regression (8:52)
5. Determining eligibility, Recoupment (12:24)
6. Determining eligibility, Regression and recoupment in regard to IEP Goals and activities (13:42)
7. Determining eligibility, Interruption of potential mastered skills (14:47)
8. Determining eligibility, Achieving self sufficiency and independence (16:05)
9. Determining eligibility, Withdrawal from academics (18:09)
10. Determining eligibility, Severe disabilities (19:32)
11. Factors for IEP team to consider (20:19)
12. NOREP and PWN for ESY services (31:16)
13. ESY is not provided for… (33:47)
14. ESY programing – description (35:27)
15. ESY program design and Individualization (36:45)
16. Location (37:15)
17. Disagreements about ESY services (38:19)
18. ESY services post-21 years of age (41:10)
19. ESY services post-21 years of age continued (41:36)
20. Pendency? The right to stay in place (41:50)
21. Approved private school (APS’s) (43:50)
22. Questions (45:05)
Presentation 2: Settlement
1. CH.,et,al. V. the school district of Philadelphia (1:03:47)
2. Complaint (1:07:26)
3. Scope of the case (1:07:41)
4. The agreement (1:09:37)
5. Significant terms of agreement (1:10:57)
6. Individualization of ESY determination (1:13:29)
7. Individualization of ESY services and parent questions (1:14:42)
8. Individualization of ESY services continued (1:30:24)
9. IEP format (1:30:27)
10. Service delivery model (1:31:18)
11. Notices to parents (1:32:24)
12. Trainings (1:37:20)
13. Data each September (1:42:01)
14. Monitoring and management (1:44:16)
15. Questions (1:51:53)