TLPI responding to tragic event in Florida — February 20, 2018

In the wake of the school shooting last week in Parkland, Florida we have been humbled by the outpouring of care and concern expressed by so many. As we all grapple with the magnitude of this tragedy, we wanted to share a few pieces that relate to the importance of creating safe and supportive schools for all students.  LEARN MORE

17 MA Districts and Their Selected Schools Receive FY18 Safe and Supportive Schools Grants — December 14, 2017

MA DESE announced grant awards for the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 (FY18) Safe and Supportive Schools Grant Program (Fund Code 335), funded through the Safe and Supportive Schools line item (7061-9612). Seventeen MA districts and their selected schools received FY18 Safe and Supportive Schools Grants. LEARN MORE

MassHealth Applications for Hurricane Evacuees — October 18, 2017

There is new information from MassHealth to share. In the aftermath of recent hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria), some evacuees are seeking out family and friends in the Commonwealth and are now residing in Massachusetts.  MassHealth has developed processes to streamline the application process for hurricane evacuees.  For more information, please visit the MassHealth website at LEARN MORE

MA DESE Accepting Proposals for the FY18 Safe and Supportive Schools Grant Program — September 28, 2017

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced that the Fiscal Year  2018 (FY18) Safe and Supportive Schools Grant Program (Fund Code 335), funded through the Safe and Supportive Schools line item (7061-9612), is now accepting proposals. LEARN MORE

Creating a Successful Action Plan (Part 1) — January 18, 2018

As the steering committee moves toward action planning, it is important to determine which of the priorities the school should address first. Though there may be several pressing concerns, key to success is choosing one or two priorities that are achievable to start addressing first.

It may be helpful to consider:

Which of the priorities is most pressing?
Which seem achievable in the short-term?
Which of the priorities will lead us closer to our goal of becoming more trauma-sensitive? LEARN MORE

Articulating Urgency — October 23, 2017

The process of creating a trauma-sensitive school begins when an individual’s or small group of staff have a sense of urgency about the need to address an important school priority.  When a significant number of staff determine to address this urgent priority in a trauma-sensitive way the seed for making change can take hold. LEARN MORE

What steps can we take to get started on the journey to become a trauma-sensitive safe and supportive school? — July 10, 2017

The first step for any school  to create a trauma sensitive school community is careful and thoughtful consideration of the question how do we know we are ready?  LEARN MORE

New Video Discussion Guide Available Now — April 24, 2017

Since the release of the video last fall, we received a large number of requests to share the video. Many who contacted us let us know that there was a desire to start a trauma-sensitive schools discussion in their own communities. In response to these requests, we developed a discussion guide to go along with the video. LEARN MORE

Image of Massachusetts State House.

The work of building Safe and Supportive School environments for all Massachusetts students continues to move forward.

The Massachusetts House and Senate voted favorably on the Conference Committee budget which included a recommendation for the FY 18 budget that $500,000 be allocated for the Safe and Supportive Schools Line Item.

This critical funding would enable the continued implementation of the provisions of the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework statute and continue to provide the capacity of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to carry out all of the duties that the legislature outlined in the statute.



Director Susan Cole describes the work of the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative and its vision for creating and advocating for trauma-sensitive schools.


The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has publicly released the second annual report of the Safe and Supportive Schools Commission (Commission). The Commission, co-chaired by TLPI’s Director Susan Cole, is established by MGL ch. 69, sec. 1P to “develop a statewide safe and supportive schools framework [and] . . . make recommendations on the feasibility of implementing this framework statewide.”

TLPI is pleased to share this second annual report. The report outlines six recommendations the Commission has made to the Legislature and the Governor in order to make progress on achieving the vision contained in the statute.

In this upcoming year, the Commission will engage further with stakeholders to inform subsequent recommendations to the DESE Board, Governor, and Legislature. Additionally, the Commission aims to present recommendations to the DESE Board during 2017, with the goal of having the Department post a revised safe and supportive schools framework and self-assessment tool for schools to use during the 2017-2018 school year.


On August 13, 2014,  The Safe and Supportive Schools Framework (MGL Ch 69 Section 1P) was  enacted into law when the Governor  signed the legislature’s omnibus Act Relative to the Reduction of Gun Violence.

For more information about the process of enacting this statute, please see the 2014 article, “Implementing Legal Strategies for Creating Safe and Supportive School Environments”  published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children authored by TLPI Director, Susan Cole.

PDF-downloadClick here to read the full article




To contact the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, click here.

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