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Safe & Supportive Schools

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Safe and Supportive Schools Commission

The Safe and Supportive Schools Commission (Commission) was created as part of the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework Law (Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 69, section 1P), through An Act Relative to the Reduction of Gun Violence. Chapter 284 of the Acts of 2014 was signed into law on August 13, 2014 (House Bill 4376).

Download MS WORD Document
Safe and Supportive Schools Commission - Second Annual Report (December 2016)
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 Associate Commissioner, Student and Family Support
BrownDonna M. MA School Counselors Association (MASCA)MASCA Executive Secretary
BurdSara Reading Public Schools, Practitioner of the FrameworkReading Public Schools Director of Social Emotional Learning
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
LipinksiMichelleRepresentative of Mass. Recovery High Schools with expertise in adolescent substance use disordersPrincipal, Northshore Recovery High School
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 5, Louis F. Angelo School, Brockton PS
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

2017 Commission Meetings:

If planning to attend meetings, please email achievement@doe.mass.edu. Details will be added below, once confirmed.

Full Commission Meetings:

  • Mon., January 23, 2017 (Hilton Garden Inn, 59 Andrews Parkway, Devens: 10am-1pm)
    Download MS WORD Document
    Minutes (1/23/17)

  • Wed., March 22, 2017 (ESE, 75 Pleasant St., Malden: 10am-1pm)
    Download MS WORD Document
    Draft Minutes (3/22/17)
    Download MS WORD Document
    Interim Report on Family Engagement (focus group highlights)
    Download MS WORD Document
    Interim Report on Administrative Function Capacity (interview highlights)

  • Fri., May 12, 2017 (Hilton Garden Inn, 59 Andrews Parkway, Devens: 10am-1pm)

  • Fri., June 2, 2017 (28 Lord Rd., Suite 130, Marlborough: 10am-1pm)

  • Note: there will not be a meeting on June 26

  • Wed., August 2, 2017 (Harvard Law School in Cambridge: likely 10am-3pm)

  • Tues., October 3, 2017 (28 Lord Rd., Suite 130, Marlborough: 10am-3pm)

  • Wed., November 15, 2017 (ESE, 75 Pleasant St., Malden: 10am-1pm)


Subgroup Meetings:

  • Thurs., January 12, 2017 (ESE, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, 2-4pm) — Volunteer subgroup planning meeting — to inform a draft 2017 work plan proposal

  • Mon., March 13, 2017 - Framework Interview Training (28 Lord Rd., Suite 130, Marlborough: 2–3pm)

  • Tues. May 2, 2017 - Equity Lens Interview Subgroup (28 Lord Rd., Suite 130, Marlborough: 2–4pm)

  • Wed., May 3, 2017 - Substantce Abuse Prevention Lens Interview Subgroup (28 Lord Rd., Library Room - Suite 125, Marlborough: 1-3:30pm)

  • Thurs., May 4, 2017 - Substantce Abuse Prevention Lens Interview Subgroup (6 Everett St., WCC 4105, Cambridge: 9-11:30am)

  • Wed., May 10, 2017 - Bullying Prevention Lens Interview Subgroup (112 Sohier Rd., Beverly: 12:30-2:00pm)


Contact Information

Rachelle Engler Bennett, Commission Co-Chair (ESE Designee); Associate Commissioner, Student and Family Support (SFS), 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: June 16, 2017
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