SEPAC 2022 Elections

Thank you for taking the time to provide support to each other and to strategize about the future of our SEPAC community. Our December meeting was extremely productive! Here are some quick and important takeaways:

We will be holding elections for the following SEPAC leadership positions in the coming weeks. The open positions are described below.

If you are interested in running for one of these positions, please email prior to our January 21, 2022 meeting. The candidates will be announced at the January 21st meeting. We encourage everyone, including newcomers, to run for a position! 

We will hold the election via Survey Monkey between January 25, 2022, and February 15th, 2022, and will announce the results at our February 18th, 2022 meeting.

We also decided that moving forward:

  • Monthly meetings should be used as a time for community connection and support.
  • Events with speakers should occur once or twice a year.
  • Breakout groups for different campuses would be helpful.
  • We will circulate a spreadsheet for SEPAC members to share profiles voluntarily so that people can connect with those with similar profiles when specific support is needed.
  • New leadership will work with the SEPAC community to continue to develop strategy moving forward

Please know the goal is not to become overly bureaucratic, but rather to promote representative leadership focusing on advocacy and support. 

December 2021 SEPAC Meeting

We had hoped to facilitate a hybrid in-person/virtual meeting in December, but due to the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, have decided to host the meeting online. Please email to ensure you are on the SEPAC distribution list to receive meeting details, including login info.

The meeting is scheduled for next Friday, December 17th, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. We hope to see you there!

Welcome Back to SEPAC

Dear SEPAC Community,

We are excited to begin the 2021-2022 school year with each of you. Please mark your calendars now for our monthly SEPAC meeting. We will be meeting the third Friday of every month from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.. For the time being our meetings will be virtual. In order to receive login information for the meetings, please make sure to opt in to our SEPAC email distribution list by emailing

Our first SEPAC meeting of the year will take place on September 17, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. and will include updates from the special education staff from each of the Dover-Sherborn campuses. We hope to see you then! Additional dates for the year can be found on our SEPAC calendar.

May 2021 SEPAC Meeting

Executive Function:
Supporting our Students’ Skill Building from Childhood Through Adolescence
Presented by Sophie Bellenis, OTD, OTR/L
Friday, May 14th at 10:00 a.m.
Please email for Zoom info.

In this presentation, Dr. Sophie Bellenis will explain executive function as it relates to success with both academics and life skills. By examining executive function through a developmental lens, she will review tips and strategies to help children and adolescents build up skills in the home. Additionally, she will review some of the executive function demands that present during transitional periods of childhood. Finally, Dr. Bellenis will discuss executive function skills that should be targeted before leaving secondary education to help students be successful with their post-secondary plans.


Dr. Sophie Bellenis is a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist in Massachusetts, specializing in educational occupational therapy and functional life skills development. For the past eight years, her work has primarily been split between children and adolescents on the Autism Spectrum in the United States and marginalized children in Tanzania, East Africa.

Dr. Bellenis graduated from the MGH Institute of Health Professions with a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, with a focus on pediatrics and international program evaluation. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association, as well as the World Federation of Occupational Therapists.

Dr. Bellenis has worked for the Northshore Education Consortium and the Salem Public Schools providing occupational therapy services across vastly different educational settings. She also has experience working at the Northeast ARC Spotlight Program using a drama-based method to teach social skills to children, adolescents and young adults with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and related social cognitive challenges.

Internationally, Dr. Bellenis has done extensive work in Tanzania collaborating with fabulous Tanzanian professionals from a few different non-profit organizations. She has spent significant time working with the Tanzanian Children’s Fund, Asali Project and How to Draw a Lion providing educational enrichment and support. She has also spent time working with The Plaster House, a post-surgical, pediatric rehabilitation center, in Ngaramtoni, Tanzania.

Dr. Bellenis currently works as part of NESCA’s transition team and offers educational occupational therapy assessment, consultation and virtual coaching. Additionally, she is the program manager for NESCA’s Real-life Skills Program, providing community- and home-based coaching for functional skill development. She believes that individual sensory needs and visual skills must be taken into account to create comprehensive educational programming.

February Meeting Information

Our February meeting is right around the corner! It is our hope that the content will provide helpful strategies as we all continue to balance the realities of a pandemic with the educational and developmental needs of our students. Please feel free to invite others to join this timely presentation.  (Please email sepac@doversherborn for Zoom link information.)

Parent-Friendly Tips for Managing Behavior in a COVID-19 World
Presented by Lisa Gurdin, MS, BCBA, LABA
Thursday, February 11, 2021
9:00 a.m. (note earlier start time)

Since last March, families have had to deal with so many unexpected challenges due to COVID-19. With children now home for over five months, any demands and unknown situations can cause behavioral outbursts that are disruptive and frustrating. And, with what seems like constantly changing variables related to school reopening, the anxiety and stress for both parents and children only seems to be rising. Given this reality, it is integral that parents have the tools they need to anticipate and plan for transitions, new expectations, and unusual school experiences and social interactions. In this workshop, we will discuss parent-friendly proactive strategies to prevent and manage challenging behaviors and encourage the development of important life skills, such as self-advocacy, independence, and coping skills.  

Ms. Gurdin has been working with students, families, and school-based professionals as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst in Massachusetts since 2001. She currently consults with school teams on behavioral interventions and evaluations for students with special needs and provides parent training. Ms. Gurdin is also a Part-Time Lecturer at Northeastern University and the ACE Coordinator for the BCBA Roundtable at EDCO Collaborative. In her role as ACE Coordinator, she coordinates and presents continuing education workshops for local school-based behavior analysts. For several years, Ms. Gurdin worked as the Clinical Coordinator for LABBB Collaborative. In this role, she supervised a team of BCBAs, provided clinical oversight, managed home-based programming, consulted with school teams on complex cases in LABBB member districts, conducted staff trainings, and provided ongoing consultation to classrooms across the collaborative.