PRIOR WRITTEN NOTICE
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Informing Parents of IEP Team Actions
Parents must receive written notice when a district or AEA proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or placement of a child or the provision of a free appropriate public education.
A Prior Written Notice:
- Provides information on what actions the LEA/AEA is proposing/refusing
- Must be given to parents after the IEP decision and prior to the implementation of the proposed/refused action
- Allows parents time to respond to the changes
Information Required in Prior Written Notice
The prior written notice must include the following information:
- A description of the action proposed or refused by the agency
- An explanation of why the agency proposes or refuses to take the action
- A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the agency used as a basis for the proposed or refused action
- A statement that the parents have protection under the due process provisions of special education and, if this notice is not an initial referral for evaluation, how the parent may obtain a copy of the description of the procedural safeguards
- Sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of the laws and rules
- A description of other options that the IEP team considered and the reasons why those options were rejected
- A description of other factors that are relevant to the agency’s proposal or refusal
- The notice requires parents to be informed where they can get a copy of the procedural safeguards
Prior written notice will be provided to the parent(s) via a written letter, form, or email (per parent request and signed consent to receive electronic communication).
In Iowa, the Consent for Full and Individual Initial Evaluation and the Consent for/Notice of Reevaluation forms have been designed to document both prior written notice of the proposed evaluation and parent consent.
Prior written notice must be written in language understandable to the general public and provided in the parent's native language or another mode of communication unless clearly not feasible.
If the parent’s native language or other mode of communication is not a written language, the public agency must ensure and have written evidence that both the:
- Prior written notice was translated orally by other means into the parent’s native language or another mode of communication
- Parent(s) understood the content of the notice
When a PWN is Required
Whenever an IEP team designs a new plan for a learner, there is a change in service provision and current needs for FAPE are articulated. Because of this, in Iowa, a Prior Written Notice is required for each IEP.
Examples of when a PWN is NOT Required
Examples of actions and refusals not requiring Prior Written Notice:
- The Consent for Full and Individual Initial Evaluation and the Consent for/Notice of Reevaluation forms have been designed to document both prior written notice of the proposed evaluation and parent consent. Therefore, a separate Prior Written Notice is not required at the time of receiving consent.
- The Consent for Initial Service is a stand-alone form that must be completed prior to the delivery of special education services for an eligible learner. Therefore, a separate Prior Written Notice is not required at the time of receiving consent.
- Change of qualified service provider
- Change in location of service not controlled by school agency:
- Foster care
- Parent relocation
- Change in location of service which does not change service:
- Different classroom
- Age/grade-appropriate movement (peer promotion to middle/junior/senior high)
Prior Written Notice Resources
Find more information regarding prior written notice, including translations of the PWN, on the Resources page.