Prior Written Notice

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Prior Written Notice

What is a prior written notice?

Prior written notice means written statements from the school district that inform the parent(s) about recommendation(s) relating to the initiation or change in the identification, evaluation, educational placement of the student or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the student. 

When must a school district provide the parent(s) with prior written notice?

The school district must give the parent(s) prior written notice a reasonable time before the district proposes to or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, educational placement of the student or the provision of FAPE to the student.  If a proposed action by the school district requires parental consent, the district must give prior notice at the same time it requests the parent's consent. 

Are there language requirements of prior written notice ? (34 CFR §300.503(c)1) (8 NYCRR §200.5(a)(4)2)

The notice must be written in language understandable to the general public and provided in the native language of the parent(s) or other mode of communication used by the parent(s), unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.  If the native language or other mode of communication of the parent(s) is not a written language, the school district must take steps to ensure that:

What information must be included in each prior written notice?

At a minimum, each prior written notice must include the following:

The notice must also inform the parent(s) of their right to address the Committee, either in person or in writing, on the appropriateness of the Committee’s recommendations.

A district must, specific to the subject of the notice, include additional information in the prior written notice to the parent and, in some instances, attach or enclose other documents which must be provided to the parent at the same time that the prior notice is given to the parent. 

Additional information to include in the notice:

In addition, for preschool students:


The district must provide the parent(s) with a copy of the NYSED’s Parent’s Guide to Special Education in New York State (or a locally developed handbook) as soon as practicable after the student has been referred for evaluation to the Committee.  The handbook may, but is not required to be provided to the parent(s) at the same time as prior written notice. 

Initial provision of special education services during the months of July and August

A statement that written consent of the parent(s) is required prior to initial provision of special education services in a 12-month special service and/or program.

Declassification of a school-age student

A statement identifying declassification support services, if any, that will be provided to the student, and/or the student’s teacher(s), for up to one year.