Section 13: Prior Written Notice
While Prior Written Notice (PWN) is not part of the IEP, it is closely associated with decisions made by the PPT regarding the special education identification and IEP development processes. The purpose of PWN is to provide written communication to the parent whenever the district proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, educational placement, or provision of FAPE to a child. This notice must be provided after a school district makes a decision and 10 school days before action is taken on that decision, unless the school district and the parent both agree to waive the 10-day notice.
A separate PWN document must be created for each proposed or refused action related to identification, evaluation, educational placement, or provision of FAPE to a child. The notice must also be provided in the native language of the parent or other mode of communication used by the parent unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.
Actions typically proposed by the district include: conducting an initial evaluation, conducting a three-year reevaluation, determining the student is or is not eligible for special education and related services, implementing an IEP, revising an IEP, changing placement, adding or discontinuing specific services, and exiting from special education.
The top of the PWN document has three sets of check boxes to quickly identify why the notice is being issued:
◻ The District is proposing to
◻ The District is refusing the request to
◻ an evaluation
◻ an educational placement
◻ the provision of FAPE (IEP)
A resource guide on how to complete the checkboxes for common actions (proposed or refused) can be found in the Prior Written Notice (PWN) Actions Proposed/Refused Reference Guide.
The PWN will also include:
- A description of the proposed or refused action;
- The reason for proposing or refusing to take action;
- A description (including the date) of each evaluation procedure, assessment, or report the district used as a basis for the proposed or refused action;
- The date the action will take effect (See “Timelines” section below);
- Other options the PPT considered and rejected (if any), and the reason for rejecting the other options; and
- Any other factors that are relevant to the PPT decision.
Information on how the parent can obtain a copy of the Procedural Safeguards and whom they should contact for assistance with understanding the provisions of the IDEA is also included on the notice.
PWN must be provided after a school district makes a decision and 10 school days before action is taken on that decision, unless the school district and the parent both agree to waive the 10-day notice
The Bureau of Special Education guidance is as follows:
- The first (and preferred) option is to give the parents the completed PWN at the PPT meeting. This allows the action such as the implementation of the IEP to take place within a reasonable timeframe; this would include implementation the next school day if both the parents and district agree. Document the parent’s agreement to waive the 10-day waiting period and the agreed upon implementation date on the PWN document. If the parents are provided with the PWN at the meeting, but do not agree with the proposed or refused actions, then the reasonable timeframe for implementation of the IEP is ten school days from receipt of the PWN. The complete IEP, if not provided at the PPT meeting along with the completed PWN, must, in all cases, be sent to the parents within five school days.
- If the PWN is not given to the parents at the PPT meeting, the second option is to send the IEP, with the PWN, to the parents within five school days. For example, if the PPT takes place on a Monday, then the IEP, with the PWN, must be sent by the following Monday (five school days). Parents must receive the PWN at least ten school days prior to the action taken effect, so in these cases no action will be taken until 15 school days after the meeting unless the parents and district agreed to an earlier IEP implementation date.
Adherence to these timelines is mandatory.