Statewide System of Support (SSoS)

Turnaround in Massachusetts: How it Works

Statewide System of Support Structure

Since spring of 2017 SSoS has been redesigning its approach to refocus resources on the schools and districts with the greatest need, while also adjusting to reduced staffing and resources. The redesign has been grounded in the principles of equity, consistency, efficiency, quality, and building on strengths. As a result of this redesign, the former Office of District & School Turnaround (ODST) and six District and School Assistance Centers (DSACs) were combined into two regional assistance teams - Coastal and West/Central. These regions are supported by three offices that provide centralized supports for policy development, grants, professional development, networks and convenings, development of tools and resources, research and knowledge base, and identification of high-quality partners. School year 2018-19 was the first year SSoS operated with this new targeted assistance structure.

Monitoring Site Visits (MSVs) and Turnaround Site Visits (TSVs)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) uses two types of site visits to provide schools engaged in the turnaround process with formative feedback on where they are in implementing the four turnaround practices. While the primary purpose of these visits it to give information to schools, the Statewide System of Support uses data from these reports to guide our assistance efforts in districts and schools, and in research on effective practices in turnaround across the state. In all cases, MSVs and TSVs are conducted by vendors selected by DESE through our procurement process.

Turnaround Practices in Achievement Gain Schools Video Series

The work of Achievement Gain schools is highlighted in the following video series. In each video, the school staff and leadership tell their unique turnaround story through the framework of Massachusetts' 'Turnaround Practices' research.

Turnaround Practices Research and Evaluation Reports

Since 2011, the Statewide System of Support has been conducting research on the effectiveness of turnaround strategies in Massachusetts. In 2014, this research indoctrinated the Massachusetts “turnaround practices” as a set of four critical areas of focus for successful turnaround, and since that time we have aligned our state assistance strategy around these turnaround practices and produce a wealth of examples of best practice in each area. The full set of research and resources can be found at this link.

Under-Performing Schools and School Districts (603 CMR 2.00) - Adopted by the Massachusetts State Board of Education: June 16, 1997. Most Recently Amended: October 24, 2006

Read the regulation.

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.