The Safe and Supportive Schools Commission
The Safe and Supportive Schools Commission was established as part of the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework law (link opens pdf of law), which has now been codified in M.G.L Chap 69 Sec 1P, Safe and supportive schools framework (link opens pdf of the Massachusetts General Laws).
The Safe and Supportive Schools Commission First Annual Report is now available. To view the final report clicker here.
This Commission will play a crucial role in fulfilling the law’s vision of supporting schools across the Commonwealth to create safe and supportive school environments that serve as a foundation for learning for all students. Specifically, it was created to collaborate with and advise the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on statewide implementation of the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework. One of the Commission’s most important jobs will be to investigate and make recommendations to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) on a process for updating, improving and refining the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework and Self-Assessment Tool. (The Commission will begin with the Self-Assessment Tool developed by a statewide Task Force in 2011 and expand these to include all of the activities and initiatives involved in creating safe and supportive school environments.)
In addition to its work on the Framework and Self-Assessment Tool, the Commission is also charged by the law with several other specific duties. These include:
- identifying strategies to increase schools’ capacity to carry out the administrative functions involved in creating safe and supportive school environments;
- proposing steps to improve schools’ access to clinically, culturally and linguistically appropriate services for their students;
- identifying and recommending evidenced-based training and professional development for school staff on creating safe and supportive learning environments;
- identifying federal funding sources that can be leveraged to support statewide implementation of the framework;
- developing recommendations on best practices for collaborating with families; and
- examining and recommending model approaches for integrating Safe and Supportive Schools action plans into already existing school improvement plans and for using the Framework to organize school and district improvement plans.
The law requires many important education stakeholder groups to appoint members to serve on the Commission. Currently, the members include:
- Amy Kelly, Massachusetts School Principals Association
- Andria Amador, MA School Psychologists Association
- Angela Cristiani, American Federation of Teachers- Massachusetts
- Anne Silver, Parent/Professional Advocacy League
- Donna Brown, Massachusetts School Counselors Association
- Ellen Holmes, Massachusetts Association of School Committees
- Jean Fay, Massachusetts Teachers Association
- Katherine Lipper, Secretary of Education (Executive Office of Education Designee)
- John Doherty, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents
- Judith Styer, Massachusetts School Nurse Organization
- Kristine Camacho, Massachusetts School Psychologists Association
- Melissa Pearrow, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Former BHPS Taskforce Member and Tool Developer/Evaluator
- Rachelle Engler Bennett, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Richard Whitehead, Massachusetts Administrators for Special Education
- Sara Burd, Reading Public Schools, Practitioner of the Framework
- Susan Cole, Massachusetts Advocates for Children
- William Diehl, Massachusetts Organization of Educations Collaboratives
TLPI’s Director Susan Cole was elected to serve as co-chair of the Commission. The other co-chair of the Commission is the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education’s designee, Rachelle Engler Bennett. The Commission meets regularly and all meetings are open to the public. For more information, visit the Safe and Supportive Schools page on DESE’s website.
The Safe and Supportive Schools Commission will meet 6-8 times in 2016. Meeting dates and locations will be posted as soon as they become available.
Over the summer, the Commission held a retreat. Click here to read more about the retreat.