Prior Written Notice

PWN aspire pans pandas

Prior Written Notice (PWN) is a written explanation of why the district proposes or rejects a change to a student’s IEP. This includes if you want to challenge the district’s refusal to evaluate the student for an IEP. Remember, you are an active member of the planning team; you must fully understand decisions made by the district team and have the ability to challenge their decision. Therefore, having a complete PWN must be part of the IEP record to maintain an informed paper trail. Requesting PWN can be done during an IEP and any discussion outside of the IEP. If you ask for PWN outside of a PWN, ask for it in writing. (See example letter)

If the district denies your request to make a specific change or your request not to implement the district’s proposed change to the student’s goals, placement, services, or supports, make sure to include this in the PWN. One reason you want any rejection of your request/s noted in PWN is that if over time, it is clear the district is not supporting the student appropriately by not implementing these changes, you will have documentation.

If you disagree with the district’s decisions explained in the PWN but do not challenge it with an appeal, they will implement the proposed changes on the date stated in the notice. The Procedural Safeguards Manual provides options to appeal the district’s decision. You must make appeals no more than two years after you, the parent/caregiver knew or should have known about the proposed action or rejection except in the case of educational placement changes. You must file an appeal regarding a district’s placement decision and invoke Stay Put before the implementation date indicated in the PWN. Stay Put is a provision in the IEP that keeps the current IEP as is until specific disputes are resolved.

See Sample Letter to Request PWN

When to Receive PWN

As per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), you should receive PWN when the school district does the following:

  1. Proposes to change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement
  2. Proposes to change how the district will provide the student with Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
  3. Refuses to change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement
  4. Refuses to change how the district provides FAPE

What PWN Must Include

As per IDEA, PWN must consist of 7 things: 

  1. The action the district refused or proposed
  2. Why they proposed or refused the action
  3. Description of assessment, procedure, or report to support the decision to propose or refuse the action
  4. A statement they shared a copy or how to get a copy of official procedural safeguards for their child with a disability
  5. Additional resources to help the family understand safeguards
  6. Report of what other options the team considered and why they rejected the action
  7. Description of additional factors to support the district’s proposal or refusal

More Information on PWN

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