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Prior Written Notice

A prior written notice of the meeting must be given to parents when:

  • Initiating or changing the educational program or placement of the child
  • Or when refusing to initiate or change the educational program or placement of the child

Prior Written Notice must be given at least five school days in advance of the actions that the school proposes or refuses to take, unless a shorter time period is agreed upon. [34 CFR §303.503 – Prior notice by the public agency]

Counting Five School Days
In counting school days, the day the notice of action (PWN) was sent is not counted as part of the five school days. Begin counting with the next school day.

Example:
If a notice was sent following an Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee meeting on Friday, March 4, 2022, you would not count March 4th. 

Assuming that all weekdays during the period were school days, then Monday, March 7th would be day one and Friday, March 11th would be day five. If the parent did not agree to a shorter timeframe than the five-school day requirement, then the first school day on which the student's individualized education program (IEP) could be implemented would be Monday, March 14, 2022.


Prior Written Notice Legal Requirements and Best Practices

This resource on prior written notice will review the legal requirements of a prior written notice as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), including: language and timeframe, circumstances that trigger a notice, and content components that must be addressed; and share best practices for completing an appropriate prior written notice.

Click here to download the Prior Written Notice Legal Requirements and Best Practices handout.


§300.503(c) Prior notice by the public agency; content of notice.

  1. Notice in understandable language.
    1. The notice must be—
      1. Written in language understandable to the general public; and
      2. Provided in the native language, as defined in §303.25, of the parent or other mode of communication used by the parent, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.
    2. If the native language or other mode of communication of the parent is not a written language, the public agency or designated EIS provider must take steps to ensure that—
      1. The notice is translated orally or by other means to the parent in the parent's native language or other mode of communication;
      2. The parent understands the notice
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