Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo
We upgraded to the Education Security Portal! If you are encountering any issues, please see our Education Security Portal Online Help and Resources.
Statewide System of Support (SSoS)

Sustainable Improvement in Massachusetts: How it Works

Statewide System of Support Structure

The Statewide System of Support (SSoS) focuses resources on the schools and districts with the greatest need, while also adjusting to reduced staffing and resources. The structure has been grounded in the principles of equity, consistency, efficiency, quality, and building on strengths. The SSoS is comprised of 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.

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

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) uses two types of site visits to provide schools engaged in a sustainable improvement 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 sustainable improvement across the state. In all cases, MSVs and TSVs are conducted by vendors selected by DESE through our procurement process.

Sustainable Improvement Video Series

Schools demonstrating sustainable improvement are highlighted in this video series. In each video, the school and district leadership and staff tell their unique improvement story. The videos connect their efforts to the 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 sustainable improvement strategies in Massachusetts. In 2014, this research indoctrinated the Massachusetts “turnaround practices” as a set of four critical areas of focus for successful sustainable improvement efforts, 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 on our Turnaround Reports page.

Read the regulations below.

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

Last Updated: January 31, 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


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.