October 2019 Parent Newsletter
Updated: Oct 8, 2019
We loved seeing everyone at the NPS Open Houses! Check out our Rack Card for a list of upcoming events during the school year! We have lots of activities planned for fall - get all the details inside!
Mark Your Calendars for these Upcoming Events!
Monthly SEPAC General Meetings
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! Beginning in October, we will meet on the first Tuesday of every month and all meetings are open to the public!
Location / Time
Norfolk Public Library,
2 Liberty Lane
2019 Meeting Dates
Tuesday, November 5, 2019 (Combined with Basic Rights, see below for details)
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
1st Annual Friends of SEPAC Freeman-Kennedy Great Pumpkin Stroll
Pumpkins, Costumes, and a Showing of "It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown"
A FREEMAN-KENNEDY FAMILY EVENT
Wear Your Costumes
Bring Your Own Carved Pumpkin (please light with battery operated tea lights - NO FLAMES Please!)
Refreshments for purchase
Halloween Stroll through the Pumpkins and voting for best pumpkin carving! Winner to be announced on the FK Morning Show on October 24th!
Cost: $10 donation* per family in advance or at the door.
Please RSVP and Register by Oct 18th:
Buy tickets in advance at www.fkpumpkinstroll.eventbrite.com
* 100% of the donations during these Fundraising events go directly to supporting free SEPAC parent and student events and programming. During the 2018/2019 school year SEPAC was able to provide over $2,000 in donations and programs for parents and students in the Norfolk community thanks to your participation and donations!
Friday, October 25, 2019
5th Annual Friends of SEPAC Trunk or Treat for Pre-school - 3rd Grade
Come join us for a fun Halloween event - Friends of SEPAC volunteers will decorate their cars and bring Halloween treats to share - Bring your families, wear your costumes and get ready for a fun night of trick or treating with the NPS school community!
Please RSVP and Register by Oct 18th: https://sepactrunk.eventbrite.com
We are looking for 20 volunteers! Volunteers will decorate their trunk for Halloween and will provide treats of their choice. Please RSVP via https://trunkvolunteers.eventbrite.com no later than October 9, 2019.
Date: Friday October 25, 2019
Time: SEPAC Families Only: 5:30 PM
All Pre-K - 3rd Grade Families: 5:30-7 PM
Place: H. Olive Day School Rear Parking Lot
232 Main Street, Norfolk, MA
Cost: $10 per family
Allergy Alert: A peanut free section for Trunk or Treating and an allergen free “trade your treats” booth for other allergies (e.g. dairy) will be available. Here children can bring their candy bags after trick or treating and trade any candy they can’t eat due to allergies for other, allergen free candies. (Dairy, soy, nuts, and egg will be avoided in these candies). If your child has specific restrictions outside of these, please reach out to NorfolkSEPAC@gmail.com and let us know.
* 100% of the donations during these Fundraising events go directly to supporting free SEPAC parent and student events and programming. During the 2018/2019 school year SEPAC was able to provide over $1,500 in donations and programs for parents and students in the Norfolk community thanks to your participation and donations!
Tuesday November 5, 2019
Parent's Rights in Special Education
Basic Rights: Evaluation and Eligibility
Presented by The Federation for Children with Special Needs and in conjunction with King Philip, Norfolk, Plainville, and Wrentham Schools
Norfolk Public Library
2 Liberty Lane
Time: 7-9 PM
NPS Special Education Spotlight
This month we would like to spotlight a key member of the Special Education team at NPS. Special Education Team Chair - Tara Oliveto, M.Ed.
Please share a bit about your professional background and when you began working in the Special Education System.
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Boston College and working in that field for four years, I switched gears and continued my education at UMASS-Boston in a School Adjustment Counseling Graduate program. Upon graduation, I worked in the Brockton Public Schools for eight years as an elementary School Adjustment Counselor. During this time I enrolled in UMASS-Boston to pursue an additional masters degree in School Psychology. Once my coursework was finished, I was fortunate to be able to take the following nine years off and be a full-time mom to my now 12 year-old son and 10 year-old daughter. After being home for nine years, I took several long-term substitute positions in local towns as a School Psychologist. Three years ago, I was in the Wrentham Public Schools as a Team Chair/School Psychologist and two years ago I worked as a School Psychologist in Westwood.
What does your role include?
My role includes scheduling and chairing all special education Team Meetings for Kindergarten through Grade Six. I chair most special education meetings and this affords me the opportunity to work alongside special education and general education staff. While a great deal of my position is procedural and assisting the district in meeting mandated special education timelines, I am highly invested in developing relationships with families that will allow us to work cooperatively to support the needs of special education students in Norfolk.
What is your favorite part about working in the Special Education system?
My favorite part of working in Special Education is all the on the job learning that takes place! Everyone is so collaborative and engaged in making sure the school works for all students. I love how the entire Norfolk Public School System is so invested in their students.
What is your favorite pastime?
My favorite pastime is spending time with my family and watching my children participating in the activities that they love. I also love going to the beach and getting lost in a good book.
SEPAC Parent Education
Integrating Social Skills Training into Everyday Life - Inside Out
In their article in the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, Rachel Hopf, M.S., CCC-CF and Krsitei Brown Lofland, M.S. CCC-A describe how the Disney Movie Inside Out integrates many social thinking concepts that can help all children become more socially savvy. The authors reference additional researchers who have stated that intentional watching (and starting, stopping, rewinding as needed to make connections) can be a great way to share concepts with children in a way that keeps them engaged and interested.
Beginning with a basic understanding of the five different emotions represented in the movie, children can become aware of their own displays of these emotions and how others may view them by connecting experiences they've had to the way each character responds in situations. For example, "Remember when you feel like you didn't want to climb that tree with your friend? Well, that's Fear keeping you safe." Or "Remember when we were on the playground and you got very angry because someone wouldn't share? You looked like Anger then!." Reflecting these images back to times when they felt certain ways can help them begin to identify their own emotions and thoughts. This begins the basic understanding of Theory of Mind, or the ability to understand someone else's perspective. For more advanced thinkers, this understanding becomes paramount when learning that our mind can generate thoughts that create feelings, but if we don't like how we feel, we can choose another emotion to take charge and change these thoughts to something we like better.
The movie goes on to include many visual literal interpretations such as "train of thought," "brain freeze" and "things that get stuck in your head." As children get older, the concepts of "experiencing two emotions at once" and how emotions can help us process situations and move forward can be noted throughout the movie. Pausing and discussing how the main character "Riley" handles different social situations and observing how each of the emotion characters reacts in her head can help break down social responses into components that children can relate to. As parents we can scaffold those interactions by helping children understand the more complicated nuances as they play out.
Read the full article here: https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/using-the-movie-inside-out-to-teach-social-thinking
Check out these fun books that help reinforce these concepts:
Join us on October 7th to learn more ways to support your children's social skills at home and in the community when we hear from Carolyn Kuehnel of Kuehnel Psychology Services in the Freeman Kennedy Cafeteria at 7pm. Register Here
Additional Resources Recommended by Ms. Kuehnel:
SEPAC Books of the Month
For the Kids:
Captain Tommy, by Abby Ward Messner
Part of the iCare Book Library at Norfolk Public Schools
More than a delightful story, Captain Tommy teaches understanding and kindness. Tommy goes to "space camp" and meets John, a boy who seems "spaced out" and different from other children. The camp counselor makes Tommy the captain of the spaceship, and gives him the job of getting John to interact with the other space-kids. After several attempts, Tommy succeeds, and John shows everyone how to climb a "space pole" and slide back down. The kids are impressed, and John becomes a true part of the group, no longer "lost in space."
Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism
By Barry M. Prizant
Autism therapy typically focuses on ridding individuals of “autistic” symptoms such as difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating, sensory challenges, and repetitive behavior patterns. Now, Dr. Barry M. Prizant offers a new and compelling paradigm: the most successful approaches to autism don’t aim at fixing a person by eliminating symptoms, but rather seeking to understand the individual’s experience and what underlies the behavior. Instead of classifying “autistic” behaviors as signs of pathology, Dr. Prizant sees them as part of a range of strategies to cope with a world that feels chaotic and overwhelming. Rather than curb these behaviors, it’s better to enhance abilities, build on strengths, and offer supports that will lead to more desirable behavior and a better quality of life.
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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