What is the DESSA Screening Tool?
October 22, 2021
We understand just how challenging the past 18 months of the pandemic have been for you
as parents, families, and caregivers. We are in awe of the work you have done, and continue
to do each and every day, to support your child(ren) and we thank you for your continued partnership with us. Our
work together is more important than ever as we strive to ensure your child thrives this school year and beyond. To
further support you, our teachers, counselors, and social workers as champions of your child(ren)’s academic and
social and emotional needs, are excited to let you know about a wonderful opportunity in our school this year!
Research has consistently shown that developing the social and emotional skills of students helps them to succeed
academically, gain confidence, and be happier. Social-emotional learning, or SEL, includes developing relationship
skills, self-awareness, responsible decision-making, and optimistic thinking.
To identify and support the social-emotional growth of all children in our school, we are excited to be administering a
strengths-based SEL screener, known as the Devereaux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA). The DESSA asks
questions about areas of social-emotional functioning including decision making, relationship building, confidence,
and others. This tool will be completed by someone who knows your child really well—in most cases a teacher.
The responses we gather will help us provide targeted, highly responsive support to each individual student. Perhaps
most importantly, the tool enables us to build on each student’s strengths while identifying the social-emotional skills
they need to further develop. Once our students’ growth areas are identified, we can create highly responsive plans
to target and enhance those skills in the most appropriate manner and settings.
The results of this screener will not be included on report cards, will not have any impact on grades, and will not be
used to make any diagnostic or evaluation decisions. The results will be stored securely in an online portal that meets
the DOE’s strictest privacy and security settings and will only be viewable by your child(ren)’s teachers and select
school staff such as the principal or counselor.
The information gathered from the DESSA screening tool will allow us to provide the very best support to your child
and will be beneficial to their overall success, both inside and outside of school. Families will have an opportunity to
hear about their student’s SEL skills during family conferences.
We are excited to implement the DESSA starting on November 1, 2021. If you have any questions, please feel free to
email John Marro at JMarro25@gmail.com.
If you do not want a staff member to complete the DESSA screener for your student, you must write a letter to me
stating that. This letter needs to be received by the school by Friday, October 29, 2021.
225 East 23rd Street NYC, NY 10010/ 917 326 6608 (voice)/ 347 252 6302 (VP)/ 917-326-6610 (FAX) www.PS347.org
If you have any questions regarding social-emotional learning or the DESSA, please call/email John Marro at
email@example.com or Elise Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Thacker Bowell