The Ins and Outs of An ESY Program


Heading to the beach? Looking forward to longer, slower days? Planning to teach ESY?

For many special education teachers, the answers here are: check, check, check!

When a traditional school year ends though, what comes next for students with moderate to severe disabilities? For many, an ESY program is an important part of their IEP that helps ensure they continue making progress on key skills.

ESY services are designed to help eligible special education students:

  • Maintain academic and social progress
  • Prevent loss of learning time and/or regression
  • Bridge any gaps that may occur due to a lengthier break from regular school hours.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires school districts to provide ESY services to eligible students with disabilities if it is deemed necessary to meet their individual educational needs.

Eligibility for ESY is determined on an individual basis and is based on the goals and objectives outlined in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Generally speaking, eligibility is based on whether a student will lose significant skill progress over a longer break (regression), AND take a significant amount of time the following school year to relearn said skills (recoupment).

Structure of an ESY Program

An ESY program can be similar to traditional school in terms of the structure and types of activities offered.

The activities and services offered in an ESY program may vary depending on the needs and goals of each individual student as determined by their IEP. However, here are some examples of what this may look like:

  • Academic instruction: Students may receive instruction in core academic domains such as ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies, to help maintain their skills and prevent regression.
  • Social skills: ESY programs may laser in on social skills development, such as communication, teamwork and problem-solving.
  • Recreational/leisure activities: Recreational activities, like sports, art and games that  promote physical health, socialization and relaxation may be included in an ESY program.
  • Support services: Students may continue to receive support services during an ESY program, like speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy, to maintain progress made during the traditional school year.
  • And, more – like life skills training! Cooking, self-care or managing finances are all life skills that may be taught during an ESY program to help students work toward greater independence.

ESY programs are not a requirement despite eligibility. Parents/families can choose to participate or decline the program for their child if they don’t think that the services are necessary.

Ultimately, special education teams, along with families, will weigh all of the options and make an informed decision based on the individual needs of each child.

Where TeachTown Comes In…

For the last few years, TeachTown has been offering its active enCORE customers access to its ESY program, and this year is no exception.

enCORE is a K-12 standards-based, adapted core curriculum that provides students with moderate to severe disabilities with access to the general education curriculum.

With accessibility beginning on May 15, 2023, this year’s enCORE ESY is a 4-week summer school curriculum centered around the theme: Summer in My Community.


After week one’s theme, Summer in My Community, the curriculum topics are flexible. Educators can teach the additional 3 themes in any order they choose:

  • Ways to Learn
  • Ways to Explore
  • Ways to Contribute

For enCORE Elementary, Middle and High School, each week’s content will have newsletters, mini-lessons, worksheets and teacher- and student-led technology-based lessons.

For specific details about each component, click here.

enCORE drives a 69% student growth rate between pre- and post- test scores!, while ensuring all students have equitable, inclusive access to an adapted core curriculum.

If you’re interested in learning more about enCORE and its ESY Program, request a demo and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.

Back to Posts