Before the beginning of each school year, the school district sets a school year schedule for each school. The school year includes at least 185 school days for students in grades 1-12 at each elementary, middle, and secondary school in the district, and these schools are in operation for at least 180 days a year for these students.
The school district ensures that unless his or her IEP or Section 504 Accommodation Plan provides otherwise, each elementary school student is scheduled for at least 900 hours of structured learning time a year and each secondary school student is scheduled for at least 990 hours of structured learning time a year, within the required school year schedule. Where the school district operates separate middle schools, it designates each one as either elementary or secondary.
Where the school district sets a separate school year and school day schedule for kindergarten programs, it provides at least 425 hours of structured learning time a year. If the district schedules two sessions of kindergarten a day, it ensures equal instructional time for all kindergarten students.
M.G.L. c. 69, s. 1G; 603 CMR 27.03, 27.04
Structured learning time
The school district ensures that its structured learning time is time during which students are engaged in regularly scheduled instruction, learning, or assessments within the curriculum of core subjects and other subjects as defined in 603 CMR 27.02 (including physical education, required by M.G.L. c. 71, s. 3). The district’s structured learning time may include directed study (activities directly related to a program of studies, with a teacher available to assist students), independent study (a rigorous, individually designed program under the direction of a teacher, assigned a grade and credit), technology-assisted learning, presentations by persons other than teachers, school-to-work programs, and statewide student performance assessments.
The district ensures that its structured learning time does not include time at breakfast or lunch, passing between classes, in homeroom, at recess, in non-directed study periods (study halls), participating in optional school programs, or receiving school services such as health screening, speech, or physical and occupational therapy, except where those services are prescribed by a student’s IEP or Section 504 Accommodation Plan.
The hours spent in any type of structured learning time are verified by the school district. Where the school district counts independent study or a school-to-work program as structured learning time, it has guidelines that explain clearly how hours spent by students are verified.
M.G.L. c. 69, s. 1G; 603 CMR 27.02, 27.04
Early release of high school seniors
When the school district schedules the early release at the end of the year of the senior class of a high school, it does so in a way that conforms with Board of Elementary and Secondary Education requirements under 603 CMR 27.05, ensuring that neither the conclusion of the seniors’ school year nor graduation is more than 12 school days before the regular scheduled closing date of that school.
M.G.L. c. 69, s. 1G; 603 CMR 27.05
Accessibility of extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities sponsored by the district are nondiscriminatory in that:
the school provides equal opportunity for all students to participate in intramural and interscholastic sports;
extracurricular activities or clubs sponsored by the school do not exclude students on the basis of race, sex, gender identity, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or homelessness.
Title VI: 42 U.S.C. 2000d; 34 CFR 100.3(a), (b); Title IX: 20 U.S.C. 1681; 34 CFR 106.31, 106.41; Section 504: 29 U.S.C. 794; 34 CFR 104.4,104.37(a), (c); Title II: 42 U.S.C. 12132; 28 CFR 35.130; NCLB: Title X, Part C, Sec. 721; Mass. Const. amend. art 114; M.G.L. c. 76, s. 5; 603 CMR 26.06(1) as amended by Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011.
Hiring and employment practices of prospective employers of students
The district requires employers recruiting at the school to sign a statement that the employer complies with applicable federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination in hiring or employment practices and the statement specifically includes the following protected categories: race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, handicap, religion and sexual orientation.
Prospective employers to whom this criterion applies include those participating in career days and work-study and apprenticeship training programs, as well as those offering cooperative work experiences.
M.G.L. c. 76, s. 5; 603 CMR 26.07(5) as amended by Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011.
The statements signed by employers should not list specific laws complied with or specific prohibited bases upon which the employer does not discriminate, but should say that the employer complies with all applicable federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination in hiring or employment practices.
V. STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES
Source of Information
1. The principal of each secondary school in the district issues a copy of M.G.L. c. 269 §§ 17 through 19, to every student enrolled full-time, and every student group, student team, or student organization, including every unaffiliated student group, student team, or student organization, and a copy of the school’s anti-hazing disciplinary policy approved by the school committee.
Its compliance with its responsibility to inform student groups, teams, or organizations, and every full-time enrolled student, of the provisions of M.G.L. c. 269 §§ 17 through 19;
Its adoption of a disciplinary policy with regard to the organizers and participants of hazing; and
That the hazing policy has been included in the student handbook or other means of communicating school policies to students.
Authority: M.G.L. c. 269 §§ 17 through 19
Student handbooks and codes of conduct
The district has a code of conduct for students and one for teachers.
The principal of every school containing grades 9-12 prepares, in consultation with the school council, a student handbook containing the student code of conduct and distributes it to each student annually, as well as to parents and school personnel; the school council reviews and revises the student code of conduct every year.
The principal of every school containing other grades distributes the district’s student code of conduct to students, parents, and personnel annually.
At the request of a parent or student whose primary language is not English, a student handbook or student code of conduct is translated into that language.
Student codes of conduct contain:
procedures assuring due process in disciplinary proceedings and
the district’s responsibility to provide every student with an opportunity to make academic progress during the period of suspension whether in-school, out-of-school or expulsion.
appropriate procedures for the discipline of students with disabilities and students with Section 504 Accommodation Plans.
If a charter school or a virtual school, the designation by the board of trustees as to who shall serve as the principal and who shall serve as superintendent for the purpose of 603 CMR 53.00
3. Student handbooks and codes of conduct reference M.G.L. c. 76, s. 5 and contain:
nondiscrimination policy that is consistent with M.G.L. c. 76, s. 5, and affirms the school’s non-tolerance for harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, or sexual orientation, or discrimination on those same bases;
the school’s procedure for accepting, investigating and resolving complaints alleging discrimination or harassment; and
the disciplinary measures that the school may impose if it determines that harassment or discrimination has occurred.
Section 504; M.G.L. c. 71, s. 37H; M.G.L.c. 71, s. 37H3/4; 603 CMR 53.00;603 CMR 26.08 as amended by Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011
Bullying Intervention and Prevention
Public schools (including charter schools and collaboratives) must update school handbooks to conform to their updated amended Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan (Plan). The handbook (and local updated Plan) must be consistent with the amendments to the Massachusetts anti-bullying law, which became effective July 1, 2013. The amendments extend protections to students who are bullied by a member of the school staff. As defined in G.L. c. 71, 370, as amended, a member of the school staff includes, but is not limited to, an “educator, administrator, school nurse, cafeteria worker, custodian, bus driver, athletic coach, advisor to an extracurricular activity or paraprofessional.” The school handbook must make clear that a member of the staff may be named the “aggressor” or “perpetrator” in a bullying report.
School and district employee handbooks must contain relevant sections of the amended Plan relating to the duties of faculty and staff and relevant sections addressing the bullying of students by a school staff member.
Each year all school districts and schools must give parents and guardians annual written notice of the student-related sections of the local Plan.
Each year all school districts and schools must provide all staff with annual written notice of the Plan.
All schools and school districts must implement, for all school staff, professional development that includes developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying incidents; developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents; information regarding the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among a perpetrator, victim and witnesses to the bullying; research findings on bullying, including information about specific categories of students who have been shown to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment; information on the incidence and nature of cyber-bullying; and internet safety issues as they relate to cyber-bullying.
State Requirements: M.G.L. c. 71, s. 37H, as amended by Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010. M.G.L. c. 71, s. 37O(e)(1) & (2). M.G.L. c. 71, s. 370(d), as amended.
Each school committee and board of trustees shall ensure that policies and procedures are in place in public preschool, elementary, and secondary schools and programs under its jurisdiction that meet, at a minimum, the requirements of M.G.L.c. 71, section 37H3/4, M.G.L.c. 76, section 21, and 603CMR 53.00. These policies and procedures must address or establish, but are not limited to:
The notice of suspension and hearing;
Procedures for emergency removal;
Procedures for principal hearings for both short and long term suspension;
Procedures for education services and academic progress (School-wide Education Service Plan).
A system for periodic review of discipline data by special populations.
Alternatives to suspension
M.G.L.c. 71,section 37H3/4, M.G.L.c. 76, section 21, and 603 CMR 53.00, M.G.L.c. 71, section 38R and Chapter 77 of the Acts of 2013.
Designation of coordinator(s); grievance procedures
The district has designated one or more staff persons to serve as coordinator(s) for compliance with its responsibilities under Title IX, Section 504, and (if it employs 50 or more persons) Title II.
The district has adopted and published grievance procedures for students and for employees providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging discrimination based on sex or disability.
Annual and continuous notification concerning nondiscrimination and coordinators
If the district offers vocational education programs, it advises students, parents, employees and the general public before the beginning of each school year that all vocational opportunities will be offered regardless of race, color, national origin, sex or disability. The notice includes a brief summary of program offerings and admission criteria and the name(s), office address(es), and phone number(s) of the person(s) designated under CR 11A to coordinate compliance under Title IX and Section 504.
In all cases, the district takes continuing steps to notify applicants, students, parents, and employees (including those with impaired vision or hearing), as well as unions or professional organizations holding collective bargaining or professional agreements with the district, that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or disability. This notice, also, includes the name(s), office address(es), and phone number(s) of the person(s) designated under CR 11A to coordinate compliance under Title IX and Section 504.
Written materials and other media used to publicize a school include a notice that the school does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, disability, religion, or sexual orientation.
Title VI: 42 U.S.C. 2000d; 34 CFR 100.6(d); Title IX: 20 U.S.C. 1681; 34 CFR 106.8(a), 106.9; Section 504: 29 U.S.C. 794; 34 CFR 104.8; M.G.L. c. 76, s. 5; 603 CMR 26.02(2) as amended by Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011.
Availability of information and academic counseling on general curricular and occupational/vocational opportunities
Students, in grades 7-12, from linguistic, racial, and ethnic minorities; males; females; homeless students; and students with disabilities all receive the same information and academic counseling as other students on the full range of general curricular and any occupational/vocational opportunities available to them.
Title VI: 42 U.S.C. 2000d; 34 CFR 100.3(a), (b); Title IX: 20 U.S.C. 1681; 34 CFR 106.31, 106.36; Section 504: 29 U.S.C. 794; 34 CFR 104.4, 104.37(b); Title II: 42 U.S.C. 12132; 28 CFR 35.130; NCLB: Title III, Part A, Sec. 3121(c)(1)(C); Title X, Part C, Sec. 721; Mass. Const. amend. art. 114; M.G.L. c. 71A, s. 7; c. 76, s. 5; 603 CMR 26.03
Counseling and counseling materials free from bias and stereotypes
To ensure that counseling and counseling materials are free from bias and stereotypes on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, and homelessness, all counselors:
encourage students to consider programs of study, courses, extracurricular activities, and occupational opportunities on the basis of individual interests, abilities, and skills;
examine testing materials for bias and counteract any found bias when administering tests and interpreting test results;
communicate effectively with limited-English-proficient and disabled students and facilitate their access to all programs and services offered by the district;
provide limited-English-proficient students with the opportunity to receive guidance and counseling in a language they understand;
support students in educational and occupational pursuits that are nontraditional for their gender.
Title VI: 42 U.S.C. 2000d; 34 CFR 100.3(a), (b); EEOA: 20 U.S.C. 1703(f); Title IX: 20 U.S.C. 1681; 34 CFR 106.31, 106.36; Section 504: 29 U.S.C. 794; 34 CFR 104.4, 104.37; Title II: 42 U.S.C. 12132; 28 CFR 35.130, 35.160; NCLB: Title III, Part A, Sec. 3121(c)(1)(C); Title X, Part C, Sec. 721; Mass. Const. amend. art. 114; M.G.L. c. 71A, s. 7; c. 76, s. 5; 603 CMR 26.04, 26.07(8) as amended by Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011.
Non-discriminatory administration of scholarships, prizes and awards
Scholarships, prizes and awards sponsored or administered by the district are free of restrictions based upon race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability.
Schools may post or print information regarding private restricted scholarships as long as no preferential treatment is given to any particular scholarship offered and as long as the school does not endorse or recommend any such scholarship nor advise or suggest to a particular student that he or she apply for such a scholarship.
Title VI: 42 U.S.C. 2000d; 34 CFR 100.3; Title IX: 20 U.S.C. 1681; 34 CFR 106.31, 106.37; Section 504: 29 U.S.C. 794; 34 CFR 104.4(b)(1)(v); Title II: 42 U.S.C. 12132; 28 CFR 35.130(b)(1)(v); Mass. Const. amend. art. 114; M.G.L. c. 76, s. 5; 603 CMR 26.07(7) as amended by Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011.
Notice to students 16 or over leaving school without a high school diploma, certificate of attainment, or certificate of completion
No student who has not graduated from high school shall be considered to have permanently left public school unless an administrator of the school where the student last attended has sent notice within five days from the student’s tenth consecutive absence to the student and the parent /guardian of the student in English and the primary language of the parent or guardian (to the extent practicable). The notice shall offer at least two dates and times for an exit interview between the superintendent (or designee) and the student and the parent/guardian to occur prior to the student permanently leaving school. The notice shall include contact information for scheduling the exit interview and indicate that the parties shall agree to a date and time for the exit interview and that the interview shall occur within 10 days of the notice. The time and the date for the exit interview may be extended at the request of the parent/guardian but for no longer than 14 days. The superintendent or designee may proceed with the exit interview without a parent/guardian if the superintendent or designee makes a good faith effort to include the parent/guardian.
The exit interview shall be for the purpose of discussing the reasons for the student permanently leaving school and to consider alternative education programs and services available to the student. The superintendent (or designee) shall convene a team of school personnel, such as the principal, guidance counselor, teachers, attendance officer and other relevant school staff, to participate in the exit interview with the student and the parent/guardian. During the exit interview, the student shall be given information about the detrimental effects of early withdrawal from school, the benefits of earning a high school diploma and a list of alternative education programs and services available to the student.
Any district serving students in high school grades sends annual written notice to former students who have not yet earned their competency determination and who have not transferred to another school
to inform them of the availability of publicly funded post-high school academic support programs and
to encourage them to participate in those programs.
At a minimum, the district sends annual written notice by first class mail to the last known address of each such
student who attended a high school in the district within the past two years.
The Superintendent shall annually report to the Department the number of students sixteen years of age or older who have permanently left school, the reasons for such leaving and any alternative educational or other placement the student has taken.
M.G.L. c. 76, ss. 5, 18 as amended by 2012, 222, Sec. 8 effective July 1, 2014; St. 1965, c. 741