The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has publicly released the first 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 first annual report, which summarizes the Commission’s charge and duties and articulates a vision of ensuring that every school in the Commonwealth has the support it needs to cultivate a safe and supportive learning environment for all students. The report also outlines five recommendations the Commission has made to the Legislature and the Governor in order to make progress on achieving the vision contained in the statute, summarized below:
- Increase funding for the Safe and Supportive Schools line item in the FY17 budget.
- Explore options through Chapter 70, the foundation budget formula, for providing a sustainable source of funding to help all Massachusetts schools create safe and supportive environments. The Commission also supports the recommendations in the final report of the Foundation Budget Review Commission.
- Provide DESE with greater capacity to support schools and districts to create safe and supportive environments.
- Provide technological assistance to carry out usability and content upgrades for the Safe and Supportive Schools Self-Assessment Tool.
- Establish a public education campaign led by the highest levels of government and educational leaders to stress the importance of safe and supportive schools.
In addition to these recommendations, the report also lists four critical next steps the Commission will undertake in 2016 “that will inform and determine future recommendations to the Board [of Elementary and Secondary Education] and Legislature”. These next steps include:
- Gathering information on 1) substantive areas to refine the framework and assessment tool; 2) usability of the self-assessment tool; and 3) data in key areas of the law to inform future legislative recommendations, including the coordination needed at the local level, to create safe and supportive schools in order to streamline isolated initiatives and professional development;
- Presenting recommendations for improving and updating the framework and self-assessment tool to the Commissioner of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education;
- Presenting annual recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on areas set forth in the statute; and
- Conducting outreach to Commission members’ represented organizations and participation in a public relations campaign
For more information, please visit DESE’s web page devoted to Safe and Supportive Schools and the work of the Commission.
The full annual report can be found here.