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Safe & Supportive Schools

Safe and Supportive Schools Commission

The Safe and Supportive Schools Commission (Commission) was created by An Act Relative to the Reduction of Gun Violence. Chapter 284 of the Acts of 2014 was signed into law by the Governor on August 13, 2014 (House Bill 4376).

Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
Safe and Supportive Schools Commission - First Annual Report (December 2015)

Commission Responsibilities

  • (i) Make recommendations to the ESE board on updating, improving and refining the framework and the self-assessment tool;

  • (ii) Identify strategies for increasing schools' capacity to carry out the administrative functions identified by the behavioral health and public schools task force;

  • (iii) Propose steps for improving schools' access to clinically, culturally and linguistically appropriate services;

  • (iv) Identify and recommend evidenced-based training programs and professional development for school staff on addressing students' behavioral health and creating safe and supportive learning environments;

  • (v) Identify federal funding sources that can be leveraged to support statewide implementation of the framework;

  • (vi) Develop recommendations on best practices for collaboration with families, including families of children with behavioral health needs; and

  • (vii) Examine and recommend model approaches for integrating school action plans, required under subsection (e), with school improvement plans and for using the framework to organize other school and district improvement processes.

Also:

  • Consult with and solicit input from various persons and groups, including, but not limited to other state agencies and any other parties or entities the Commission deems appropriate; and

  • Prepare and submit Annual Reports to the legislature by the end of each December outlining Commission activities and appropriate recommendations, with related drafts of legislation necessary to carry out such recommendations, if any. The first three reports shall include recommendations regarding topics related to ii-v above.


Relationship to Behavioral Health and Public Schools Framework


Safe and Supportive Schools Defined

(Section 1P) … Schools that foster a safe, positive, healthy & inclusive whole-school learning environment that:

  • enables students to develop positive relationships with adults and peers, regulate their emotions and behavior, achieve academic and non-academic success in school and maintain physical and psychological health and well-being; and

  • integrates services and aligns initiatives that promote students' behavioral health, including social and emotional learning, bullying prevention, trauma sensitivity, dropout prevention, truancy reduction, children's mental health, foster care and homeless youth education, inclusion of students with disabilities, positive behavioral approaches that reduce suspensions and expulsions and other similar initiatives.


Current Members

Last Name (Alphabetically Listed)First NameDistrict / Agency RepresentedTitle
AmadorAndriaMA School Psychologists Association (MSPA)MSPA President; Boston Public Schools - Assistant Dir., Special Education & Related Services - Comprehensive Student Support Services
BennettRachelle Engler MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE)Commission Co-Chair (ESE Designee); ESE Director of the Office of Learning Supports and Early Learning
BrownDonna M. MA School Counselors Association (MASCA)MASCA Executive Secretary
BurdSara Reading Public Schools, Practitioner of the FrameworkReading Public Schools District Administrator of Support Services
CamachoKristineMA School Psychologists Association (MSPA)MSPA Vice President; Brookfield Elementary School School Psychologist
ColeSusan MA Advocates for Children (MAC)Commission Co-Chair (Selected by Commission Members); MAC Senior Project Director, Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative
CristianiAngelaAmerican Federation of Teacher- MassachusettsAFT; Boston Teachers Union (BTU) Political Director
DiehlWilliam MA Organization of Education Collaboratives (MOEC)MOEC Board of Directors Regional Representative; Collaborative for Educational Services Executive Director
DohertyJohnMA Association of School Superintendents (MASS)Superintendent, Reading Public Schools
HolmesEllenMA Association of School Committees (MASC)MASC Regional School Committee Chair; Ashburnham-Westminster Reg. School Committee Member
KellyAmyMA Elementary School Principals Association (MESPA)Newton Public Schools District Leader of Social and Emotional Learning
KohlerTaraMA Secondary School Administrators Association (MSSAA)Principal, Fairhaven HS
LipperKatherineSecretary of Education (EOE Designee)General Counsel, MA Executive Office of Education
PearrowMelissaUniversity of MA - Boston, Former BHPS Taskforce Member and Tool Developer/EvaluatorAssociate Professor of Counseling and School Psychology, College of Education and Human Development
PerilloJulieMA Teachers Association (MTA)Teacher, Grade 4, Manthala George Jr. School, Brockton PS
SilverAnneParent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL)PPAL Director of Operations
StyerJudithMA School Nurse Organization (MSNO) MSNO President; Framingham Public schools Director of Health and Wellness
WhiteheadRichard MA Administrators for Special Education (ASE)Dracut Public Schools Director of Student Services


Commission Meetings

2016 Commission Meetings:

  • Wednesday, January 20, 2016 (Reading Public Schools, Arthur W. Coolidge Middle School, 89 Birch Meadow Drive — please park across the street: 10am–1pm)
    Minutes Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document

    Handouts: Agenda Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
    Proposed 2016 Work Plan Timeline Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
    SaSSC Work Plan Draft Proposal - Strategic Objective One Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
    SaSSC Work Plan Draft Proposal - Strategic Objective Two Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
    SaSSC Work Plan Draft Proposal - Strategic Objective Three Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document

  • Tuesday, March 15, 2016 (Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square, Banx Room: 10am–1pm)
    Agenda Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document
    Minutes Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document

  • Wednesday, May 11, 2016 (ESE 75 Pleasant St., Malden: 10am–1pm)
    Agenda Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document

  • Wednesday, June 15, 2016 (Worcester Technical High School, 1 Skyline Drive: 10am–1pm)

  • Wednesday, August 10, 2016 — summer retreat (likely Cambridge — details to be confirmed: 10am–3:30pm)

  • Wednesday, October 5, 2016 (likely Worcester — details to be confirmed: 10am–1pm)

  • Monday, November 14, 2016 (Newton Public Schools — details to be confirmed: 10am–1pm)


2016 Working Group Meetings:

  • Work Group on Initiative/Alignment Integration (Strategic Objective 2): Feb. 16, 2016 (73 Mt. Wayte Ave., Perini Building — 2nd floor, Framingham: 10am–12pm)
    Minutes Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document

  • Work Group on Framework/Tool Refinement and Info. Gathering for Recommendations (Strategic Objective 1): March 4, 2016 (William James College, 1 Wells Avenue, Room 214, Newton: 4–5:30pm)

    Minutes Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document

  • Work Group on Initiative/Alignment Integration (Strategic Objective 2): March 9, 2016 (ESE, 75 Pleasant St., Malden: 10–11am)

  • Work Group on Framework/Tool Refinement and Info. Gathering for Recommendations (Strategic Objective 1): March 25, 2016 (NU Cafe, 335 Chandler St., Worcester: 10am–noon)

  • Work Group on Initiative/Alignment Integration (Strategic Objective 2): April 21, 2016 (ESE, 75 Pleasant St., Malden: 10am–noon)

  • Additional work group meetings will be posted here once confirmed.


2015 Commission Meetings:

  • December 19, 2014 (ESE 75 Pleasant St., Malden: 2–4pm)

  • March 20, 2015 (ESE 75 Pleasant St., Malden: 1–3pm)

  • May 7, 2015 (Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square, 10am–12pm)
    Minutes Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document

  • July 22, 2015 (Harvard Law Library, Cambridge: 10am–3:30pm)
    Minutes Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document, Next Steps Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document, Flip-Chart Notes Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document

  • October 2, 2015 (ESE, 75 Pleasant St., Malden: 1–4pm)
    Minutes Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document

  • November 18, 2015 (Newton Public Schools, 100 Walnut Street: 10am–1pm)
    Minutes Download PDF Document  Download MS WORD Document

2015 Working Group Meetings:

  • Working Group on Strategies for Schools' Administrative Capacities/Integrating with Other Requirements: Sept. 12, 2015 (120 Highland Avenue, Needham: 9–11am)
  • Working Group on Training/PD/Evaluation: Sept. 17, 2015 (Bolling Building, 2300 Washington St., Roxbury: 9–11am)
  • Small Group on Tool Feedback from School Users (Assabet Valley Collaborative, 57 Orchard St., Marlborough: 2–3:30pm)
  • Working Group on Improving Access to Services / Family Collaboration: Oct. 2, 2015 (75 Pleasant St., Malden: 12–1pm)
  • Working Group on Training/PD/Evaluation: Oct. 15, 2015 (443 Warren St., Ste. #2, Dorchester: 9:30–11:30am)
  • Workplan Proposal Drafting — small group meeting: Dec. 16, 2015 (82 Oakland Rd, Reading Public Schools: 12:15–2:45)
  • Workplan Proposal Drafting — Part II — small group meeting: Dec. 30, 2015 (82 Oakland Rd, Reading Public Schools: 10:00am–2:00pm)

Contact Information

Rachelle Engler Bennett, Commission Co-Chair (ESE Designee); Director of the Office of Learning Supports and Early Learning (OLSEL), renglerbennett@doe.mass.edu / 781-338-3205.

Susan Cole, Commission Co-Chair (Selected by Commission Members); MA Advocates for Children (MAC) Senior Project Director, Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, scole@law.harvard.edu / 617-998-0107.



Last Updated: Jun 15, 2016
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