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).
Safe and Supportive Schools Commission — Eighth Annual Report — April 2023
Safe and Supportive Schools Commission — Seventh Annual Report — February 2022
Safe and Supportive Schools Commission — Sixth Annual Report — December 2020
Safe and Supportive Schools Commission — Fifth Annual Report — February 2020
Safe and Supportive Schools Commission — Fourth Annual Report — April 2019
Safe and Supportive Schools Commission — Third Annual Report — January 2018
Safe and Supportive Schools Commission — Second Annual Report — December 2016
Safe and Supportive Schools Commission — First Annual Report — December 2015
Attachment: Outlining Principles of Effective Practice for Integrating Student Supports — January 2018
Related to increasing schools' access to clinically, culturally and linguistically appropriate services:
Access to Services: Social Workers — October 2019
Commission Retreat Presentation & Research Brief — Summer 2019
Access to Services: Nurse Leaders — May 2019
Access to Services: MA School Mental Health Consortium Focus Group (MASMHC) — April 2019
Access to Services: VISTA Principal and Superintendent Survey Results — Winter 2019
Access to Services: Superintendent Focus Group (MA Association of School Superintendents) — January 2019
Memorandum on Focus Group Findings (highlights from focus groups with Parents, Parent Partners, Students, School Liaisons, Advocates, Clinicians, and Professionals) — April 2018
Related to students' perspectives:
Slides from presentation to the Commission — April 2019
Students Speak website: discussed at the February 8, 2021 Commission meeting. The website was co-created by Harvard Law School's Law Clinic and secondary school students from a diverse set of schools, communities and backgrounds — who all want to help schools become safe and supportive learning environments. The clinic is part of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI) — a collaboration between Harvard Law School and Massachusetts Advocates for Children (MAC).
Related to effective school practices for collaboration with families:
Interim Report on Family Engagement (focus group highlights) — March 2017
Related to increasing schools' capacity to carry out the administrative functions required to implement the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework
Voices of Leaders: Superintendents and School Committee Members (focus group highlights) — Summer 2017
Interim Report on Administrative Function Capacity (interview highlights) — March 2017
Make recommendations to the DESE board on updating, improving and refining the framework and the self-assessment tool;
Identify strategies for increasing schools' capacity to carry out the administrative functions identified by the behavioral health and public schools task force;
Propose steps for improving schools' access to clinically, culturally and linguistically appropriate services;
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;
Identify federal funding sources that can be leveraged to support statewide implementation of the framework;
Develop recommendations on best practices for collaboration with families, including families of children with behavioral health needs; and
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.
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.
The Safe and Supportive Schools Framework Law also directs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to develop a safe and supportive schools framework and self-assessment tool, consistent with those created by the Behavioral Health and Public Schools (BHPS) Task Force (per section 19 of Chapter 321 in 2008).
The Commission is established to collaborate with and advise DESE on the feasibility of state-wide implementation of the framework.
The current, updated draft version of the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework and Self-Reflection Tool is being piloted during the 2020-2021 school year.
All are invited to watch a video about the updated draft, view (and/or use) the current version, and provide feedback. We are very interested in your feedback; please see this feedback instructions page or email DESE's Office of Student and Family Support via firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
(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.
Note: Commission members are appointed by entities as outlined in G.L., c.69, §.1P.
Note: If planning to attend a meeting, please email email@example.com at least 2 weekdays in advance. Meetings will be held virtually, until further notice. Meeting minutes may also be requested via that same email address.
The Safe and Supportive Schools Commission (Commission) welcomes public comment on matters within its purview. Accordingly, the Commission makes available a maximum 15-minute period at its regular meetings for persons in the audience to address the Board for no longer than 3 minutes. Written material of any length may be submitted and will be distributed to Commission members for their consideration. Agendas for upcoming Commission meetings are generally posted 5 days prior to the meeting on this page. Persons wishing to speak are strongly encouraged to submit their request before the day of the meeting; contact information is provided below. Preference will be given to those who submit requests by 5:00 p.m. on the fourth business day preceding the meeting (e.g., by Thursday if the meeting is on the following Tuesday). If time permits, the Commission co-chairs will allow members of the public who have not contacted the Department in advance to speak in the public comment period; those individuals must sign in prior to the start of the meeting. The co-chairs may limit the number of speakers due to time constraints and may increase or reduce the time allocated per speaker. While there is no requirement to submit written testimony, a speaker who elects to do so should submit 20 copies of the testimony prior to or at the meeting for distribution to Commission members. Requests to address the Commission, written testimony, and other inquiries may be transmitted by mail, e-mail, fax, or telephone to: Massachusetts Safe and Supportive Schools Commission, MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, ATTN: Rachelle Engler Bennett, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148, Phone: 781-338-3205, Fax: 781-338-3090, E-mail: RachelleEngler.Bennett@mass.gov .
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, an affirmative action employer, is committed to ensuring that all of its programs and facilities are accessible to all members of the public. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Inquiries regarding the Department's compliance with Title IX and other civil rights laws may be directed to the Human Resources Director, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148, phone: 781-338-6105.
Rachelle Engler Bennett, Commission Co-Chair (DESE Designee); Associate Commissioner, Student and Family Support (SFS), RachelleEngler.Bennett@mass.gov / 781-338-3205.
John F. Doherty, Ed.D., Commission Co-Chair (Selected by Commission Members); Retired Superintendent, Reading Public Schools; MASS Professional Development Committee Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: August 28, 2023
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.