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December 2019 Parent Newsletter

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

Happy Holidays from the Norfolk SEPAC!

We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season! We are grateful for our community's participation in our fall events and we look forward to providing more parent resources and family events this month and in 2020.

Read on to learn more about the following:

  • An exciting opportunity for a Social Skills Parent Training Program being offered exclusively to Norfolk SEPAC families by Dr. Carolyn Kuehnel from Kuehnel Psychological Associates!

  • A Spotlight on NPS' new Special Education Teacher, Carly Siebert


A special Thank You to Leah Romig Photography for a wonderful Christmas Tree Farm Photo Shoot!

We hope all families enjoyed their photo session! If you didn't get a spot in November, we will also be hosting a a spring photo shoot in May 2020!

Mark Your Calendars for these Upcoming Events and Programs!

Parent Training and Support Group on Elementary School-Aged Social Skills

New in 2020! Kuehnel Psychological Associates will provide a 3-session parent training course (9 hours of training) on social skills for children with Social Skills challenges.

During this new program being developed exclusively for Norfolk SEPAC parents, Dr. Kuehnel will spend 9 hours with participating families over three evening sessions providing tactical training on how we as parents can support our children as they navigate specific social interactions during their elementary school years. Dr. Kuehnel taught a similar course for many years at the Integrated Center for Child Development (ICCD) in Canton and had exceptional results from the program.

Read on below in our Parent Education section to understand why parent involvement in skill generalization is so important!

Course Details:

Dates: Mondays, 1/27/2020, 2/10/2020, 2/24/2020

Time: 6:30pm - 9:30pm

Subsidized Cost to Families: $90 per family for the full program. We encourage, but do not require, that all parents in a family relationship attend this program. Cost is per family, not per person. Please note: This is not an event for children. We ask that only parents and caregivers attend.

Family Commitment: Families are asked to commit to attending all three course sessions.

Content will include specific instruction on a selection from the following topics:

  • Trading Information

  • Two-Way Conversations

  • “Slipping In” to Conversations/Activities

  • Exiting Conversations/Activities

  • Electronic Communication (typically best for older students)

  • Taking “No” for an Answer (Handling Rejection)

  • Choosing Appropriate Friends

  • Appropriate Use of Humor

  • Get Togethers

  • Good Sportsmanship

  • Handling Disagreements

  • Rumors and Gossip

  • Handling Teasing and Embarrassing Feedback

  • Avoiding Bullying

  • Changing a Bad Reputation

Sign up by 12/20/2019 and you can include a request for a specific topic or topics you would find most helpful!

Monthly SEPAC General Meetings

Event Description: Join the SEPAC Board for informal meetings to discuss upcoming programming, volunteer for event committees, or get information about how to be involved! We meet on the first Tuesday of every month and all meetings are open to the public!

Location / Time*

Norfolk Public Library

2 Liberty Lane

Community Room

7:00 p.m

* Note Location Change for December meeting below

Upcoming Meeting Dates - Mark your Calendars now!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - SEPAC Holiday Social at Eagle Brook! (See Below for Details)

Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - Combined with a presentation from Brain Fit Academy, see below for details)

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Brain-Fit Academy - Parent Presentation on Food Sensitivities and Gut Health

Please join us for this supportive and enlightening presentation to help you understand how food sensitivities may be contributing to your child’s challenges and what the next steps may be.

Date: Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Location Details

Norfolk Public Library

2 Liberty Lane, Community Room


SEPAC Teacher Spotlight

This month we would like to spotlight a key member of the Special Education team at NPS. Special Education Teacher - Ms. Carly Siebert MS.Ed

Please share a bit about your professional background and when you began working in the Special Education System.

During my time at Westfield State University where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education with a concentration in reading, I worked as a teacher at an early childhood pre-school for two years. After completing my undergraduate degree, I began my career as a Special Education Teacher at the New England Center for Children for three years. While at the New England Center, I had the pleasure of working with students of all ages with various severities of Autism and behavior disorders. During this time, I completed my Master’s degree in Education. Once my coursework was finished, I was fortunate to be offered this current position with Norfolk Public Schools as a Special Education Teacher.

What does your role include?

My role includes collaborating with other classroom teachers and specialists to provide an integrated plan for developing the academic, behavioral, and social plans for our students. I modify teaching methods to target the unique learning needs of each of my students by setting goals, assessing their progress and conducting observations. I am very driven to help each of my student’s reach their highest potential to be successful both in and out of the classroom and for developing relationships with families.

What is your favorite part about working in the Special Education system?

My favorite part about working in the Special Education system is all the learning and the milestones that take place no matter how small! Every little step of the way counts. I am willing to do anything for our students to overcome their challenges. I love being part of an amazing and dedicated team of professionals that love helping others and stopping at no end to teach our students in a way that is meaningful to them.

What is your favorite pastime?

My favorite pastime is spending time with my family and friends. I also love going camping and going to Maine and getting lost in a good book.


SEPAC Parent Education - Parent Involvement in Skill Generalization

For children that need support generalizing skills they may learn in school, therapies, or special education, research shows that parents are an invaluable part of this process, even when not present during the actual lessons. Numerous researchers have documented benefits of having parents that know how to scaffold social interactions and support their children throughout their daily lives. Some benefits include:

  • Repetition and Rehearsal Increases: Many skills require numerous repetitions before a child is able to spontaneously use the skill independently. Typically, children receive only a few hours per week of direct instruction on any particular skill and extra practice at home is critical to skill development.

  • Skills are generalization in a child's natural environment: While the child learns specific skills and practices them in a distraction-free environment during private therapy or special education, parents can incorporate repetition of these skills in environments where children will ultimately need to perform these skills on their own. This repetition can facilitate spontaneous use of these skills more quickly with fading adult support.

  • Eased frustration and problematic behaviors: Children and parents can speak the "same language" and responses to behaviors can mirror the same approach taken during all parts of a child's day. This consistency can lead to less frustration on both the parent and the child creating a less stressful environment for all involved.

When your child is receiving specialized services, you should always feel comfortable reaching out to your child's therapist to ask for details on what your child learns during the session so that you can help support them at home. This helps you advocate for our child across all aspects of their day and share successful strategies with other influential adults in your child's life.


SEPAC Book of the Month

I Believe in Myself (Mindful Mantras Book 6)

Believing in yourself can be hard.  Here is a secret: all people, not just kids, wonder if they are good enough, strong enough, or fast enough at some point in their lives. Everyone wonders if they'll be up to the challenges life presents. 

Boost your child or students' self-confidence while reading about Poppy. See how she handles situations that make her feel BIG emotions and learns to believe in herself.

Emotions are tricky and hard to handle when you're small, and kids need our help! Help them learn emotional regulation now, to benefit them later.

Since teachers and parents have the most difficult and important jobs, this book comes with free resources for both! Simply go to to get them.


Our Mission

The Norfolk Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) strives to collaborate with and advise the school committee and administration to continually improve the education opportunities for all children in and outside of our school district. We promote improved education and success for students with disabilities, ensuring they receive equal access to education opportunities within our school and community. The Norfolk SEPAC provides a network for parents of children with disabilities to access resources, gain support, and share ideas. SEPAC encourages families to be involved in all district policy discussions.


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