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Student and Family Support (SFS)

Community Vetting: Providing Feedback to the Department (DESE) on the Updated Safe and Supportive Schools Framework Implementation Guide and Self-Reflection Tool

See below for how to learn more and provide feedback.*

Providing a safe and supportive learning environment is critical for student engagement in school to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in school, and to prepare for college, career and engaging in civic life beyond school. A wide range of services and supports are needed to establish and maintain these learning environments. This web page provides information about the recently updated Safe and Supportive Schools (SaSS) Framework Implementation Guide and Self-Reflection Tool. This page invites school and community members, students and families, and other interested people to review the resource and share feedback to the Department regarding the Framework and Tool, and outlines ways to do that.

Safe and Supportive Schools

A safe and supportive learning environment welcomes, supports, and engages all students to learn deeply, grow, and thrive. It promotes efforts that result in students, staff, families, and community partners experiencing a learning environment that is equitable, culturally responsive, and trauma sensitive. Massachusetts Safe and Supportive Schools Framework Law defines a safe and supportive school as follows (per M.G.L., c.69, s.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.

Invitation to Provide Feedback on the Sass Framework Implementation Guide and Interactive Self-Reflection Tool

We invite and welcome interest in reviewing the updated SaSS Framework Implementation Guide and Self-Reflection Tool. The Department partnered with The Blue Scope Group, and the Safe and Supportive Schools Commission and others, to inform the revision process during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. In order to help inform continuous improvements to the resources, we invite administrators, teachers, students, families, community members, and interested others to share your perspectives as it relates to this work.

*How to Learn More and Provide Feedback:

  1. Watch the Video (approximately 13 minutes) on the Background and Process of the Revised SaSS Framework Implementation Guide and Self-Reflection Tool
  2. The updated online Framework and Tool are available.
  3. You can email to request the shared username/password to look through the resources, or your own username/password to associate with a school/district.
  4. You can also email that above address to request word/pdf versions of these sections:
    • Framework Implementation Guide - introduction, table of contents for the full resource, essential elements, and suggested phases of the work.
    • 6 Levers (areas of school operation) with a rubric for each showing supportive practices (a part of the Framework, but separated here to be able to review more easily)
      1. Leadership and Culture
      2. Family and Community Engagement
      3. Professional Learning
      4. Access to resources and services
      5. Teaching and Learning that Fosters Safe and Supportive Environments
      6. Policies and Procedures
    • Self-reflection Tools
      • Preliminary
      • Deeper Dive
  5. Once you have reviewed parts or all of the Framework and/or Self-Reflection Tool, you can complete this survey to provide feedback.
  6. If you have specific comments and edits on one or more word version of the Framework and/or Self-Reflection Tool documents, you can email those to, with the subject line "SaSS Feedback".

If you wish to learn more, or have additional comments, concerns, and/or feedback to share please contact us at Thank you!

Last Updated: September 28, 2021

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

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


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