45 Prior Written Notice (PWN)


Chapter Revision Date:

The law requires that parents be provided with a written notice anytime district staff either proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of a student. In general, forms have been developed which meet the legal requirements for prior written notice. For example, the referral form, the assessment plan and the IEP are used when the district proposes a particular action.

There are instances, however, in which a written notice is required because the district proposes or refuses an action, or because the parent/guardian has requested something. This notice is called "Prior Written Notice to Parent of Proposed or Refused Action." (PWN)

45.1 Examples of When a PWN is Required

In the examples listed below, the parent has requested a particular action occur and district staff has determined that a response is required. These are sample situations and not exhaustive.

  • The parent wants their child assessed for special education. District staff disagrees that there is an area of suspected disability.
  • The parent requests a particular assessment tool or instrument be used that district staff do not feel is needed in order to adequately and appropriately assess the student in all areas of suspected disability.
  • Parent requests extra, or 1:1 tutoring or a 1:1 aide
  • Parent requests a non-public school placement
  • Parent revokes of all special education services

45.2 Directions for Completing the PWN

The law requires that specific content be included in a PWN. A blank template has been created which covers all the required information. (Forms/Links)

  • The case manager, school psychologist or administrator should complete each section of the form, providing an adequate explanation of the district's position.
  • A copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards must be included when the PWN is sent to the parents/their representative.
  • While the law does not prescribe a timeline in which the PWN must be provided to the parent, a general 15 day timeline is best practice.
    • For a refusal to conduct an assessment to determine special education eligibility, the required 15 day timeline to respond to parent's request for an assessment means that the PWN must be provided within the same timeline. Likewise, if the district proposes to conduct an assessment after a parent requests it, the 15 day timeline applies because the parent requested an assessment.
    • For other responses to parent requests, best practice is to provide the PWN to the parent within 15 days, but no longer than 3 weeks.

Contact your district level support person for assistance with writing the PWN and for templates for common requests and responses. Templates are samples only and must be edited to suit the unique circumstances of the proposal or refusal that is the basis of the PWN.