top of page

October 2021 Norfolk SEPAC Parent Newsletter

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

What's in the October issue:

Getting to Know SEPAC - Learn about SEPAC and what it means to be a member

Upcoming Events - Scroll for more details about our upcoming Fall events

Getting to know the Norfolk Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC)

Want to know more about us?

The Norfolk SEPAC is run by Norfolk parents and provides a great support system for families with all types of needs. We offer educational presentations, resources, information on the IEP process, and opportunities for parents and students to connect in a supportive and inclusive environment.

A SEPAC is a public body which serves as an advisor to the School Committee on matters that pertain to the education and safety of students with disabilities. In addition, the SEPAC has a duty to meet regularly with school officials to participate in the planning, development and evaluation of the district’s special education programs.

What does it mean to be a member?

The SEPAC is a self-governing body (creates its own by-laws and operational procedures) and is open to all parents of children with 504s and IEPs and any other interested parties.

A SEPAC is different from a PTA, PTO or School Council – it does not represent families from one school, but serves all families of children with special needs from the entire school district. You are automatically a member if your family accesses supports in school and lives in the Norfolk school district.

Who can I reach out to?

If you have questions, need support or would like to get involved, please reach out through any of the below ways.

Connect with any of our board members below:

Co-Chairs: Jo-Anne Gilbody and Karen Murphy

Chair of Technology: Taiese Hickman

Chair of Operations: Mike McCarthy

Chair of Finance: Karen Mazzola

Secretary: Kayla Costa

Chair of Marketing: Melissa Cyr

Fundraising Coordinator: Sarah Logie

Board Members: Stefanie Durniok and Jianmei Bai

If you would like to hear more or get involved in the Norfolk SEPAC, please consider attending our monthly meetings or one of our upcoming events listed below.


Fall Meetings and Events


SEPAC Virtual General Meeting with Special Guests Tara Oliveto and Alicia Whitehead

October 14, 2021

Special Guests:

Tara Oliveto, Special Education Team Chairperson

Alicia Whitehead, Lead Preschool Teacher

Event Description:

Join us as we welcome Mrs. Oliveto and Mrs. Whitehead to our October meeting to discuss their responsibilities, including coordinating special education Team meetings, and to answer questions. Please submit any questions here in advance.

The rest of the meeting we will discuss upcoming programming, opportunities to volunteer for events, or sharing information about how to get involved.

Location: Click Here for Zoom Link (All meetings are being held virtually until further notice.)

Time: 7:30pm

7th Annual Norfolk SEPAC Trunk or Treat for Pre-school - 3rd Grade

Come join us for a fun COVID-friendly Halloween event! Please note you only need to purchase 1 ticket per family. Costumes are highly encouraged for all attendees. Masks are required. Trunks will be for viewing only and we will be giving out Treat bags at our registration tent at the start of the trunk loop. This is a walk-through event this year!

Please RSVP and Register by Oct 22nd:

We are looking for 20 volunteers! Would you consider hosting your "trunk" for our trick-or-treaters? The Norfolk SEPAC is looking for volunteers to decorate their cars for our annual Trunk or Treat Event. We are also looking for small businesses to participate: i.e. a creative "candy monster" donation, music vendors, arts and crafts. Please RSVP via no later than October 8, 2021.

Date: Friday October 29, 2021

Time: SEPAC Families Only: 5:30 PM

All Pre-K - 3rd Grade Families: 6:00-7:30 PM

Place: H. Olive Day School Rear Parking Lot

232 Main Street, Norfolk, MA

Cost: $12 per family

Allergy Alert: Allergen free treats (dairy, soy, nuts and egg will be avoided in these candies) will be available. Please indicate you would like the allergen free treats during registration. If your child has specific restrictions outside of these, please reach out to us at



Holiday Family Photo Sessions

Once again Norfolk SEPAC will be offering holiday family photo sessions with photography by Leah Romig Photography. Only 2 spots left! Please sign up at:

Place: Sweatt Beach on Lake Pearl, Wrentham, MA

Time: Saturday, November 6th, 2021 12-4pm

Cost: $125 per Family

15 Minute Session - 5 Retouched Digital Images

For more info visit

SEPAC Virtual General Meeting

November 11, 2021

Event Description: Join the SEPAC Board for an informal meeting to discuss upcoming programming, volunteer for event committees, or get information about how to get involved! We meet virtually (via Zoom) on the second Thursday of every month and all meetings are open to the public. (All meetings are being held virtually until further notice.)

Location: Click Here for Zoom Link

Time: 7:30pm

Parent Workshop: Parent's Rights in Special Education (Topic TBD)

November TBD

Presented by The Federation for Children with Special Needs and in conjunction with King Philip, Norfolk, Plainville, and Wrentham Schools

Location: Link will be provided upon registration

Time: 7:30pm


A Spotlight on Jessica Pepple, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Jessica Pepple began in this new role on Monday, May 17, 2021. In this newly created position, she will lead the King Philip Regional, Norfolk, Wrentham and Plainville Schools’ efforts to build organizations based on equity, inclusion and belonging for all students, their families, staff and community members.

The creation of this new position was made possible due to the continued efforts of the districts’ Equity Committee, which has worked since the summer of 2019 to address diversity and equity issues in all communities.

In this position, Mrs. Pepple will seek to create alignment and continuity between districts as they pursue the goal of creating more equitable, just, and inclusive learning environments. She will report directly to the four district superintendents and will be a part of the regional administrative leadership team.

We had Jessica Pepple as a guest at our recent September monthly meeting where she shared her thoughts on her new role and possible objectives. In her first few months, she has been on a listening tour with various stakeholders within the King Philip school district and will be hosting an information night to present her findings in early October. We plan to stay connected with Jessica as she continues her work.


SEPAC Books of the Month

I’m Like You, You’re Like Me: A Book About Understanding and Appreciating Each Other

By Cindy Gainer/ Illustrated by Miki Sakamoto

This book celebrates some of the many ways people can be alike and different, from skin and hair color to body size, ability and family composition. The story emphasizes that children have the ability to help others feel accepted and welcomed, and that kindness and cooperation make everyone feel good.

Rainbow Joe and Me

By Maria Diaz Strom

This colorful book introduces a girl named Eloise, who

loves painting and mixing colors. She befriends her neighbor, Joe, who is blind. Joe shows Eloise how he experiences color, helping her see the beauty of the world in a whole new way.

It’s Okay to Be Different By Todd Parr

This simple, bright book takes children through a long and validating list of things that are “okay,” including wearing glasses, needing help, talking about your feelings, being adopted and feeling proud of yourself.

Mixed Me!

By Taye Diggs

Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

In this lyrical story, Mike is a confident boy with great hair who likes to go fast. His parents are different colors and sometimes that confuses his peers. But Mike knows that the world is full of flavors and textures, and that he came out “just right

Norfolk SEPAC Library Display and Book List

As a reminder, we are partnering with the Norfolk Public Library to obtain and feature our monthly SEPAC Book of the Month! Stop by the NPL to borrow a copy.

If you're looking for more reading recommendations, check out more of the books we love.


Support Norfolk SEPAC on Amazon Smile!

Donate as you shop! Norfolk Special Education Parent Advisory Council is now an available charity on Amazon Smile. Help us provide educational and supportive programming to the Norfolk Community by selecting us as your Amazon Smile charity at . This option is also now available inside the app in your settings!

59 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Norfolk First Responders - Safe Children Info Session

Officer Mike Milano and Sgt. Joe Choiniere from the Norfolk,MA Police and Lt/Paramedic Mike Findlen from the Norfolk Fire - MA joined the Norfolk SEPAC for a discussion about procedures around emerge


bottom of page