October 2021 Norfolk SEPAC Parent Newsletter
Updated: Oct 6
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
Tara Oliveto, Special Education Team Chairperson
Alicia Whitehead, Lead Preschool Teacher
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.)
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 https://sepactrunks.eventbrite.com 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 NorfolkSEPAC@gmail.com.
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: www.2021holidayphotos.eventbrite.com
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 www.norfolksepac.org
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
Parent Workshop: Parent's Rights in Special Education (Topic 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
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.
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 smile.amazon.com . This option is also now available inside the app in your settings!