NYC’s controversial social skills assessment helped this Brooklyn school. Getting there hasn’t been easy.
Educators and families were in wide agreement: Students would need help adjusting socially and emotionally to being back in classrooms this year amid the COVID pandemic.
But one of New York City’s plans to do that — by using a questionnaire called the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment, or DESSA, in every school — was quickly met with backlash. Educators, already overwhelmed trying to meet the pandemic-era needs of students, worried it was time-consuming, and they feared they couldn’t accurately answer the questions about students they hardly knew at the start of the year. Some concerned parents opted their children out.
Brooklyn principal Kiri Soares could relate.
She also struggled to figure out how her school could use the DESSA to help her students at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women.
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