The Safe and Supportive Schools Grant Programs (Fund Code 335 and 337) are state-funded programs, funded through state line item 7061-9612.
Most specifically, this work is intended to help districts ensure that each school creates a safe, positive, healthy and inclusive whole-school learning environment and makes effective use of a system for integrating services and aligning 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. Schools that receive funding (through their district) under this grant program will either convene a school team, respond to the questions in the Safe and Supportive Schools Self-Assessment Tool, determine areas to prioritize for improvements, and finalize an action plan; or implement and assess progress on a previously created action plan.
The Safe and Supportive Schools Self-Assessment Tool is available for any school to use. It can be accessed by requesting a username and password by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Once completed, schools can use the following documents to complete their action and implementation plans:
Safe and Supportive Schools — Action Plan Guidance and Template
Safe and Supportive Schools — Implementation Status Update
Note: For more information about this grant opportunity, please see the Funding Opportunity RFP, the information below, and the slides from the informational webinar (in the webinar section).
Grant Program Purpose: The purpose of this state funded competitive grant program is to provide funding to school districts (and their selected schools) to organize, integrate, and sustain school and district-wide efforts to create safe and supportive school environments. Additionally, this grant is designed to coordinate and align student support initiatives based on their findings from completing the Safe and Supportive Schools (SaSS) Framework and Self-Reflection Tool.
The main priorities for this grant are to help ensure that each participating school creates an equitable, safe, positive, healthy, culturally-competent, and inclusive whole-school learning environment for all students, and makes effective use of a system for integrating services and aligning initiatives that promote students' behavioral health and wellness, through one of two grant applicant options:
Option One: Action PlanningThese grantees will convene a school team (likely virtually this year) composed of various stakeholders (e.g., including but not limited to teachers, nurses, counselors, family members, etc.) to review and respond to the questions in the SaSS Tool.
Based on the school team's reflections informed by using the SaSS Tool, the team will identify school and district areas to prioritize for improvements related to creating safer and more supportive learning environments, and will finalize a school plan that is aligned to school and district priorities, and a district plan that supports the schools' efforts.
The SaSS action plans shall address all six sections of the SaSS Tool:
Option Two: Implementation and Mentorship/SupportThese grantees will begin or continue to implement school-focused action plans (and associated district-support plans) that were created in prior year(s), i.e., during or before school year 2021-2022. The creation of those action plans must have been informed by a local self-reflection process using the SaSS/BHPS Framework and Tool.
These grantees will also serve as mentors/supports for Option One grantees, other new SaSS Tool users, schools and districts that are new to implementation, as well as the Department, Commission, and others as needed and appropriate.
Note: For more information about this grant opportunity, please see the Funding Opportunity RFP, and the information below.
Grant Program Purpose: The goals of this state funded safe and supportive schools continuation grant program are to:
These districts (and their selected schools) have worked towards organizing, integrating, and sustaining school and district-wide efforts to create safe and supportive school environments. As part of this work, Option 1 grantees created action plans in FY2022 (2021-2022) based on their insights gained from completing the Safe and Supportive Schools (SaSS) Self-Reflection Tool (Tool). Schools supported through these continuation grants are also expected to incorporate these action plans into their school improvement plans developed under MGL, c. 69, s. 1I. Option 2 grantees created action plans in FY2021 or earlier and were awarded competitive funds in FY2022 to implement or extend these action plans. Option 2 grantees also served as mentors and/or provided support to other Tool users, the Department, the Safe and Supportive Schools Commission, or others during the 2021-2022 school year.
During school years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, the Department (DESE) contracted with the Research and Evaluation Department of the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) to evaluate the Safe and Supportive Schools Grant Program, through a competitive Request for Response (RFR) statewide procurement process. The 2018 grant program evaluation report and 2019 evaluation report outlines themes, positive findings, and common challenges for grantees.
During school years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, CES reviewed the professional development (Pathways) that was provided during the 2020-2021 school year focused on anti-racist practices. CES also reviewed current supports for and conducted interviews with school and district leaders to determine areas of support that are needed. CES developed a Pathways Report and Leadership Supports Report (available upon request). Further evaluation is continuing on the use of the revised Safe and Supportive Schools Framework and Self-Reflection Tool.
FY22 | FY21 | FY20 | FY19 | FY18 | FY17 | FY16 | FY14 (and continuation grant recipients available upon request)
FC 335 FY2023 Competitive Grant — Informational Webinar
Safe and Supportive Schools & Rethinking Discipline: 2022-2023 Professional Development Calendar
When possible, these and related events are shared in the Commissioner's Weekly Update, or the Holistic Supports & Enrichment: Strengthening Social Emotional Competencies, Health & Safety Newsletter.
Topics covered in the 2020-2021 Anti-Racist Learning Series included: Anti-Racism Terms and Perspectives, Anti-Racist Family Engagement, Anti-Racist Advocates, Anti-Racist Curriculum and Instruction, and An Equity Lens on School Discipline (Climate and Culture focused).
Topics covered in the March 2019 Safe and Supportive Learning Environments included: Using an Equity Lens to Support All Students and the March 23, 2018 statewide convening included: Safe and Supportive Learning Environments: Bringing Together Social and Emotional Learning, Trauma Sensitivity, & Positive Behavioral Approaches.
The Safe and Supportive Schools line-item states "… that grant awards shall be prioritized to applications that include a process for developmentally appropriate input from students who are reflective of the school population;…". Student and family voice are two critical aspects of a safe and supportive learning environment. Below please find a few examples of resources available related to incorporating student and family voice into the safe and supportive schools self-reflection process and in other aspects of the school and district decision making.
Family Engagement Initiatives and Resources — This site is the main clearinghouse for family engagement initiatives, guidance, and resources from the Department. Please contact Family Engagement Specialist Olga Lopez with any questions.
Safe Schools for LGBTQ Students — The Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students informs policy and provides training, technical assistance, and professional development to school administrators and staff on topics related to gender identity, sexual orientation, and school climate. The Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students works closely with students and youth throughout the state and can provide training and resources related to including student voice. Contact program coordinator Kimm Topping with questions or for more information.
Students Speak — Harvard Law School's Education Law Clinic, part of TLPI, created this site to share what they have learned working with students. The goal is to share lessons from students' own experiences about how to create better schools in order for schools to become safe and supportive learning environments where all students can learn and succeed.
From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope — Recommendations from the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development
Trauma Sensitive Schools Books and Videos and other resources — The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative's (TLPI) mission is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to family violence and other adverse childhood experiences succeed in school.
Last Updated: August 22, 2022
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