Falmouth’s Commitment to the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework

  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) provides an Implementation Guide to support schools and districts in realizing the goals of the law. Both the guide and the law share the same name: the Massachusetts Safe and Supportive Framework. The priorities in the Framework are parallel to the priorities of the Clipper Experience.

    The Framework defines a safe and supportive school as “one that welcomes, supports, and engages all students to learn deeply, grow, and thrive. It promotes and ensures that students experience a learning environment that is equitable, culturally responsive, and trauma sensitive.” The law further clarifies this definition:

    Safe and Supportive Schools foster a safe, positive, healthy, and inclusive whole-school learning environment that

    • enables students to develop positive relationships with adults and peers, regulate their emotions and behavior, achieve academic and non-academic success in school, and maintain physical and psychological health and well-being; and
    • integrates services and aligns 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. 
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  • Safe and Supportive Schools excel in embedding five essential elements. Each is defined here and includes examples of our work to meet the unique needs of each.

    Support All Students to

    • Feel safe-physically, socially, emotionally, behaviorally, and academically 
    • Build community connectedness and positive relationships with adults, families/guardians, and peers of similar and different cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds 
    • Manage and self-regulate their emotions and behaviors 
    • Experience a sense of agency and effectively self-advocate in appropriate ways 
    • Engage effectively and productively with learning experiences 
    • Develop a sense of competence and academic success with multiple opportunities to learn and practice newly developing skills as part of a productive community 
    • Experience physical health and well-being

    Falmouth’s efforts to Support All Students include:

    • Partnership with the Falmouth Police Department, including a strong relationship with our School Resource Officer
    • Partnership with the Falmouth Fire and Rescue Department
    • District Health & Safety Committee and School Based Safety Teams
      • Efforts informed by the Safety Coordinator, our safety monitors, and ongoing safety drills, including Reunification
      • Implementation of the Say Something Anonymous Tipline
    • Partnerships across the community to enrich learning with authentic, hands-on experiences
    • Maintenance of ongoing feedback loops with various stakeholders. Efforts include Coffee Hours and Student Advisories with the Superintendent.

    Deepen Understanding of all stakeholders of the need for safe and supportive schools and using a whole-school approach that values the expertise of educators and includes the voices of students and families, and acknowledges the urgency for addressing systemic inequities, including racism, trauma’s impact on learning, and other systemic issues. 

    Falmouth’s efforts to Deepen Understanding includes:

    • Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)
      • Creation of the Bridge Program and the Hope Squad to support and educate students
      • Trauma informed practices and pedagogy
      • Racial Trauma training for our counselors
      • Long term partnership with McLean Hospital 
      • Use of the DESSA screener – short and long forms – to identify students who need additional support to strengthen their social-emotional competencies. 
    • Increased number of school counselors at each school to support students

    Advance Equity across the school and community for all students, families, and staff by addressing systemic inequities, eliminating predictable disparities, and ensuring students are engaged and challenged to achieve their fullest potential. 

    Falmouth’s efforts to Advance Equity includes a commitment to the premise that a student’s circumstances should not predict their outcomes as a learner. The following contribute to our commitment:

    • Equity Audit provides students’ sense of belonging in the school community and assists with strategic plans to improve conditions. The audit was conducted in partnership with the Mid Atlantic Equity Consortium (MAEC)
    • Rethinking of grading practices to increase feedback for and transparency of learning and empower students to know how they learn and advocate for their needs.
    • Elimination of entrance criteria for students to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) and honors classes 
      • AP achievements include growth both in the number of students enrolling in AP classes and in diverse student enrollment in AP classes.
      • Attention to AP equity through professional learning with the College Board to support an ongoing process of enhancing our vertical progression of learning to increase access to accelerated learning.
    • Clipper Time and Bulldog Time provide time that all students can access to support their learning. It’s scheduled during the day and allows open access to all educators. 
    • What I Need Now or WINN – is a dedicated time for reading instruction in grades 1 and 2 that is provided to student groups. This practice relies on benchmark assessment data to create student groupings and to measure their growth.
    • Sustained efforts of the Instructional Support Teams at each school to provide personalized support for academic, emotional, and behavioral needs.

    Exemplify Cultural Responsiveness in the school and community to value students’ identities and dismantle implicit biases and systemic inequalities to create learning environments that welcome, include, and support all students to deeply learn, grow, and thrive. 

    Falmouth’s efforts to Exemplify Cultural Responsiveness includes:

    Reflect and Adapt to the ever-changing needs of students, families, and staff and the surrounding community by working together as a team with a sense of shared responsibility for all.

    All of the efforts included above spotlight Falmouth’s efforts to Reflect and Adapt. Truly, our efforts to build Safe and Supportive schools is the foundation of Charting the Course to Graduation, our vision of a Falmouth High School graduate. This work is critical for all who proudly say #IAmACLIPPER.