Our conference Q&A session was a big hit, but not all of the questions could be answered. Let’s take a look at one question we received in the conference evaluation forms. . .
Q: How do you draft effective prior written notices?
A: IDEA regulations define and outline the requirements of prior written notices. Specifically, 34 CFR § 300.503(a) provides that a school district must give prior written notice whenever a school district proposes or refuses to begin or change or the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a child or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a child. The notice must include (1) a description of the action proposed or refused by the agency; (2) an explanation of why the agency proposes or refuses to take the action; (3) a description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the agency used as a basis for the proposed or refused action; (4) a statement that the parents of a child with a disability have protection under the procedural safeguards of this part and, if this notice is not an initial referral for evaluation, the means by which a copy of a description of the procedural safeguards can be obtained; (5) sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of this part; (6) a description of other options that the IEP Team considered and the reasons why those options were rejected; and (7) a description of other factors that are relevant to the agency’s proposal or refusal.
The Department of Education has provided a Model Form for prior written notices that can be downloaded. And, for more on the requirements of prior written notices, Region 13 offers this handy Q&A document.