Extended School Year Program

Our Center’s outdoor environment makes this program a unique, non-traditional educational program that is appropriately structured to encourage each student to explore the world of learning. The program is six weeks and meets the summer or extended year component of the Individualized Educational Plan for students aged 4 to 22 years old.







The Paul Center Extended School Year (ESY) Program serves students ages 4 to 22 who have moderate to severe developmental and cognitive disabilities. The program provides the summer/extended year component of the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) for students meeting the criteria. Student groups are developed by age, learning needs, and social skills. Individual learning styles and needs are accommodated within each group.

Student IEP goals and objectives are used in the planning of instruction. Curriculum Supervisors and licensed Special Education Teachers are responsible for the implementation of instruction consistent with the stated summer goals in student IEPs and profiles. Teachers develop lesson plans to address academics, while supporting communication, cognitive, fine and gross motor, social, and behavioral needs. Support staff are available to assist their students throughout the program day to provide program consistency and follow-through. Our 16 acre campus is set up to encourage learning in a variety of unique indoor and outdoor environments, including the cabin areas, Barrett Student Center, Nature Trails, and in-ground pool.


Applications for The Paul Center Extended School Year program are available year-round.  Applications can be submitted by school districts, human service agencies and individual families.  We strongly encourage families to work with the Student’s School Placement Team throughout the admissions process.

Student admission will be considered when completed application and all supporting materials are submitted to The Paul Center. The following materials are used in determining program acceptance:

  • Completed application
  • Copy of current signed Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)
  • Most recent Progress Report
  • Summer goals identified in either the IEP or an amendment
  • Physical exam and immunization record

When necessary, the following considerations may be used to determine if the Extended School Year program will be an appropriate fit for the student:

  • An intake interview for new students
  • Appropriateness of our program in meeting the student’s needs
  • Staffing requirements to meet the student’s needs
  • Confirmation of program funding by the school system or other source



Individual and small group lessons are designed to address specific goals identified in each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and prevent regression of previously learned skills. Time is spent on reinforcing the students skills and seizing “teachable moments” to introduce new skills, when appropriate.


Communication and Group Skills

Communication and interaction are very important life skills. The Extended School Year Program focuses on the development and extension of communication skills, throughout all activities. Following directions, sharing, turn taking, problem solving, and building independence and self-advocacy are key skills targeted throughout campus. Every activity is planned to foster and promote communication and social skills.


Activities of Daily Living and Life Skills

Daily Living and Life Skills are introduced and practiced in the context of the students daily schedule. Daily Living skills include dressing, grooming and hygiene, self care, and executive functioning. Life Skills are embedded throughout campus, including a specially designed vocational block where students partake in activities such as gardening, cooking, recycling and managing the Paul Mart shop.


A variety or enrichment activities are scheduled to augment the instruction design under the direction of the classroom teacher. The following activities are offered:


Adapted Physical Education

Adapted Physical Education naturally stresses gross motor and physical coordination, visual-motor perception and sensory integration. It also supports interactive play by developing game guidelines, following directions, promoting turn taking, and teaching appropriate competitive behavior.


The World Around Us

Students explore the wonders of nature on the 16-acre campus, while staff incorporate fine and gross motor skills, sensory integration, communications skills, and tactile and visual perceptual skills. Students have opportunities to investigate unique areas such as the nature trail and frog pond.


Art Expression

Art Expression fosters creativity and self-esteem, while supporting students fine and gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination, sensory-motor integration, as well as color, shape, and pattern recognition. Students practice skills such as communication, sharing, choice making, self-advocacy, and task completion. Art projects introduce students to a large variety of tactile and visual materials, often using recyclables or materials reflecting our outdoor environment to enhance student awareness of the world around them.


Water Safety and Swimming

During pool sessions, staff support students with motor skills, ADL’s, communication, and social interaction skills, in addition to basic water skills and safety under the guidance of the program lifeguards.


Music and Movement Expression

Creativity and self-expression are fostered through singing, dancing, playing instruments and listening to music individually and in groups. Social communication skills and group collaboration are addressed through these fun activities and games!


Speech and Language

Speech and language services, if included in the Individual Education Plan (IEP), is provided to students from licensed speech pathologists, or from graduate speech pathology interns under the Licensed Speech Pathologists supervision. Sessions are in half-hour segments, individually or in small groups, up to twice a week. If additional time is needed, arrangements can be made with sending school districts. The Paul Center’s Speech Therapist works with students to improve speech, language, social communication, and cognitive-communication. Services are driven by the students IEP Speech and Language goals and benchmarks.


Occupational Therapy

The Paul Center has a full-time Licensed Occupational Therapist on campus to provide up to two half hour sessions a week to students whose IEP indicates these services or consultations. Within these sessions, the licensed Occupational Therapist assists children in gaining independence and new skills through implementation of self-regulation strategies and self-advocacy. With guidance from IEP goals, the therapist designs and implements programs, with focus on the students’ strengths, in order to improve inclusion and accessibility.



The Paul Center’s Licensed School Psychologist works collaboratively with the students, staff, schools and families to ensure students are receiving optimol services when in sessions. The Psychologist works with students to cope with challenges that may arise on campus or events outside campus that impede their academic performance and personal development.

The Psychologist services students through individual or small-group counseling sessions and social groups, driven by the IEP services and goals as well as providing support to students requiring in-moment interventions. The Paul Center’s Psychologist is specialized in addressing the mental health and behavioral needs of The Paul Center students.


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Ready to join our extended family? We have many programs for young people. Click here to learn more and fill out an application!

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