Summer School Information, and Clarification on Extended School Year (ESY), Compensatory and Recovery Services

Revised: May 11, 2021

Summer School Information, and Clarification on Compensatory, Extended School Year and Recovery Services
As families look ahead to summer planning, the Office of Special Education (OSE) wanted to provide clarification on summer programs as well as services for students with disabilities, including extended school year services, compensatory services, and recovery services.

PreK and Elementary Summer School Programs
Effective May 10, 2021, all PreK and Elementary students with Extended School Year (ESY) and/or Recovery Services on their IEPs, as well as PreK and Elementary students who attend countywide special education programs (PreK Special Education Programs, MIPA, Life Skills, Interlude, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, and Communication) will automatically be registered to attend summer school unless parents/guardians opt out, and may attend either the full in-person model or a full-distance learning model for the 4 week duration of the summer strengthening program.

Secondary Summer School
More detailed information about secondary summer school programming will be shared with parents and guardians the week of May 17th.

Extended School Year, Compensatory and Recovery Services
As you may recall from previous IEP meetings, Extended School Year (ESY) Services are considered during each annual IEP meeting.

The Virginia Department of Education has provided guidance during this unusual year that states: “While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides for compensatory services when there is a denial of free appropriate public education (FAPE), the compensatory services offered by Virginia school divisions to address a loss of services due to COVID-19 should be referred to as COVID recovery services.”

In order to be prepared to engage in conversations and make collaborative decisions with your IEP team, we wanted to provide you with information about and distinctions between ESY and Recovery Services, along with a comparison chart and answers to frequently asked questions.

Summer School Programs
Arlington Public Schools (APS) summer school programs are designed to provide summer strengthening programs for certain students in PreK – 12 (including secondary schools/programs for students through age 21).


Extended School Year Services
In order to receive a free, appropriate public education (FAPE), some students with disabilities may require a program of special education and related services in excess of the normal school year. In general, ESY refers to special education and/or related services provided beyond the normal school year of a school division for the purpose of providing FAPE to a student with a disability. Factors to be considered when determining the need for ESY services include:

  • regression/recoupment
  • degrees of progress
  • emerging skills/breakthrough opportunities
  • interfering behaviors
  • the nature and/or severity of the disability
  • special circumstances or other factors

ESY may be provided when IEP teams decide that the benefits gained during the school year will be significantly jeopardized without ESY, i.e. the student will lose what has been learned.

ESY is included in Virginia statute and regulations. ESY services are not a substitute for COVID Recovery services and cannot be used in their place.


Recovery Services

Recovery Services are not intended to replace all instruction since March 13, 2020, but may be needed to overcome lost instruction and lack of progress toward goals and objectives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The determination of COVID recovery services is made by the IEP Team after a careful review of student performance and data including pre-COVID closures, student participation and performance during COVID closures, and performance upon return to school. This means that IEP Teams will need a period of time to gather data on student performance and assess skills in relation to pre-COVID closure and learning rate compared to peers.

Reasons for lack of progress may include lack of in-person instruction; inability to provide needed modifications or accommodations at home; parents unable to assist with instruction; and/or child could not benefit from virtual instruction.

IEP teams should be convened when there is a lack of expected progress as noted by parent concern, data collection, reevaluations, etc.

Distinctions between Extended School Year (ESY) Services and COVID Recovery Services

Extended School Year (ESY) Services COVID Recovery Services
What are the services, and why are they provided? Special education and related services are provided beyond the normal school year if the IEP team decides that the benefits gained during the school year will be significantly jeopardized without ESY, i.e., the student will lose what has been learned. Services needed to overcome lost instruction and/or lack of progress toward goals and objectives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What factors should the IEP team consider in determining whether services are required? Key factors in considering ESY include: regression, recoupment, degree of progress, emergent skills, behaviors, severity of disability, other factors. Factors include regression or rate of progress during the school closure or virtual learning period (i.e. inability to support IEP goals virtually, lack of engagement when the student typically participated prior to March 13, 2020).
What period of time does the IEP team need to consider? ESY decisions are based on the last agreed upon IEP, and upon data and information collected during that period which indicates that the student requires services beyond the normal school year to receive FAPE. Consider the impact of implemented services (or lack thereof) on IEP goals from the beginning of the school closures on March 13, 2020 to the present date. Data from before 3.13.20 should be used as baseline data.
What type of data and information should the IEP team consider? Focus on IEP goals, data and evidence for progress on IEP goals that have been determined to be “critical life” skills. A careful review of student performance and data on skills and rate of progress for IEP goals including pre-COVID closure, student participation and performance during COVID closure and during virtual learning, and performance upon return to school/hybrid.
When would services be provided? ESY services are an extension of the current school year, and are often provided during APS summer school program dates but can also be offered outside of those dates. Recovery services will be provided from July 6 – July 30 for elementary students, and July 6 – August 6 for secondary students. During the 21-22 academic year, Recovery Services may occur before or after school hours, or be embedded in the school day when appropriate.
Are services addressed in Virginia statute/ regulations? Yes No, but guidance is provided
Where can I find VDOE guidance on services and IEP Team responsibilities and decision-making? VDOE ESY Guidance VDOE Recovery Services Guidance

 NOTE: Students may be entitled to both ESY and COVID recovery services, but the services cannot be provided concurrently. Students can receive recovery services during summer school if they are not receiving ESY services at the same time.

Additional FAQs
What happens next?
The need for ESY services will continue to be considered during each annual IEP meeting. The IEP team must determine that the student has not met, or shows regression, on their IEP goals listed as critical life skills by answering essential questions to consider the following areas: regression/ recoupment; the degrees of progress; emerging skills or breakthrough opportunities; interfering behaviors; the nature and/or severity of the disability; and/or special circumstances or other factors.
When considering ESY, the IEP Team will determine which goals will be designated as ESY goals.
To determine the need for Recovery Services, the IEP team will collect data to determine if a student may not have met their IEP goals or regressed since March 13, 2020 due to the virtual learning environment, including inability to access the internet. If the data indicates that the IEP Team should consider recovery services, or if the Parent/Guardian or another team member requests a meeting, the IEP Team will meet to consider the need for recovery services.
Decisions on whether a specific student requires Recovery Services, as well as the duration and type, will be based on the student’s individual circumstances. Considering all factors in the decision-making process, including the duration of recovery services, will help support decisions. All 4 decisions are based on information from those knowledgeable about the student, including the Parent/Guardian. IEP Teams should prioritize which goals to work on this summer.

If Recovery Services are recommended for my child this summer, can they be provided during the summer school program?
Yes, but not at the same time as ESY Services are being provided.

If both ESY and Recovery Services are recommended for my child this summer, what might a schedule look like?
IEP Teams and case carriers will work collaboratively with families to schedule services. One example might be that a student would attend summer school this summer and receive ESY services during the summer school program, and stay to receive Recovery Services after the regular summer school hours.

What if the IEP Team determines that my child requires recovery services, but I would prefer to wait until after the summer to begin services?
If the IEP team agrees on Recovery Services, and the Parent/Guardian requests the student needs a break over the summer, the team can agree to start services at a later date (i.e. in September or October of the upcoming school year).

How will IEP Teams calculate time, duration and frequency of Recovery Services?
It is recommended that IEP Teams calculate the time, duration and frequency of Recovery Services to correspond with nine-week reporting periods as much as possible. Various forms of data regarding progress will be reviewed by IEP team members on a regular basis each quarter. Once Recovery Services have been agreed upon, implemented and delivered, the Case Carrier will contact the Parent(s) to inform them that Recovery Services are complete. Parent(s) may want to reconvene the IEP team if they would like to consider either additional Recovery Services or a continuation for another nine weeks.

Where can I learn more?
Parents can contact their child’s case carrier, or contact the Parent Resource Center at 703.228.7239 or Additionally, Virginia’s Parent Education and Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) has created a helpful document with additional information.