Elementary SEL - DESSA Screener

Elementary SEL - DESSA Screener

TSD Social Emotional Learning
Social and emotional skills play a key role in each student's success in school and in life.  Skills such as demonstrating self-control, persisting at challenging tasks, making good decisions, and working well in groups are all necessary to being successful students and adults.  To support our students in developing these skills our teachers embed social emotional learning into their content instruction where appropriate as well as through specific skill lessons at all grade levels.   

As part of our work this year, our elementary teachers will be using a tool called the DESSA. This tool asks teachers to assess how often a student has demonstrated specific life skills in the past month.  This helps our teachers become more conscious of the individual needs of their students and how they can personalize instruction based on student strengths and needs.  These are NOT questions students are answering, but are instead questions teacher are answering about the students they have in their classes.  

Sample DESSA questions include:

  • How often did the child keep trying when unsuccessful?
  • How often did the child offer to help somebody?
  • How often did the child get things done in a timely fashion?
  • How often did the child work well in groups?

Click to see a complete list of all the DESSA questions.  

The DESSA helps identify which life skills each student has already learned and what skills they might still need to develop.  Once our teachers identify the skills their students still need to learn, they can more intentionally teach to those skills.  Our goal is to ensure that each child is continuously developing the skills they need for lifelong success.  Teachers will answer a set of 8 quick screener questions about their students three times during the year (October, January, April) to help them monitor the progress they are making with students.  When indicated, teachers can answer a more extensive set of questions to help them identify student strength areas they can build on to support challenges.   

The DESSA is published by Aperture Education.  Click to view additional information about the DESSA including their privacy policy and see their parent resources
.  In addition to the Aperture privacy policy Tahoma has an additional addendum for privacy of student data

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