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Student and Family Support (SFS)

Massachusetts Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems: 2020-2021 Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network (CoIIN)

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The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in partnership with the Massachusetts School Mental Health Consortium (MASMHC) is pleased to offer an opportunity for district teams to engage in a learning collaborative during the 2020-2021 school year. This opportunity is facilitated by the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH), and will focus on establishing comprehensive school mental health systems in Massachusetts and in other participating states. State team planning members will also include representatives from the Departments of Mental and Public Health (DMH and DPH), parent and youth leaders, and more.

What is a Comprehensive School Mental Health System (CSMHS)?

A Comprehensive School Mental Health System (CSMHS) is defined as school-district-community-family partnerships that provide a continuum of evidence-based mental health services to support students, families, and the school community. A CSMHS:

  • Provides a full array of tiered mental health services
  • Includes a variety of collaborative partnerships
  • Uses evidence-based services and supports

What are the benefits of participating in the state CoIIN for Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems (CSMHS)?

District teams will be provided with access to professional development, technical assistance, and ongoing coaching as they work to pilot practices to support the establishment of a CSMHS. Staff from NCSMH, in conjunction with DESE and MASMHC, will facilitate convenings (in-person and virtual) to foster cross-collaboration between districts, highlight best practices for school mental health implementation, and support teams in developing and implementing action plans that are supported by continuous quality improvement practices. District teams will also receive training and coaching in conducting a formal needs assessment to determine priority areas of growth and relative strengths using assessments and processes that have proven results.

How can participation support districts' response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

This collaborative will support district efforts to plan for and respond to the mental health needs of students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. This opportunity can help bolster district efforts to establish plans for responding to critical incidents during school closure, engage in remote behavioral and mental health services (including telehealth), support families in addressing needs related to social determinants of health, and respond to concerns related to traumatic grief. This initiative will leverage a network of districts contending with similar concerns, and state and national partners positioned to provide resources and coaching, to help ensure quality practices and strategies are adopted and implemented. Additionally, guidance will be provided to district teams in drafting approaches to comprehensively address the mental health needs of students and families in preparation for the reopening of schools, an undertaking that will require adaptivity and innovation in order to ensure the various needs of families and students are accounted for and addressed comprehensively.

Where can more details be found?

Some details about the commitment needed from participating districts are provided on this site expectations overview Download PDF Document. Note that participating districts will also be asked to submit monthly data Download Word Document (to the degree it is available), to inform the learning process. (Thirty minute information sessions were also held on May 29 and June 1, 3, 4, 15 and 17, 2020.)

Applications were due online June 30, 2020 (questions can be viewed on the Word version Download Word Document). Many thanks to all applicants and to the many who expressed interest — we will look for ways to provide additional learning opportunities throughout the year. You can use this online interest form if you would like to receive information about additional related opportunities as they arise.

Participating districts

Congratulations to the six districts selected to participate in this Massachusetts Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems (CSMHS): 2020-2021 Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network (CoIIN)! The confirmed participating districts from across the state are as follows: Belchertown Public Schools, Berkshire Hills Regional School District, Boston Renaissance Charter Public School, Burlington Public Schools, New Bedford Public Schools, and Randolph Public Schools.

Questions may be directed to DESE's Office of Student and Family Support via or 781-338-3010.

Last Updated: August 24, 2020

Contact Us

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

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


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