The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) used $2 million in ESSER I state set-aside to make the Devereux Student Strength Assessment (DESSA) System available to districts at no cost. The system is a comprehensive, strength-based assessment of behaviors related to social-emotional well-being that helps identify interventions and supports for students, including documenting progress and outcomes over time. The system also targets specific areas of need for individual students.
We are spotlighting this practice because it addresses the well-documented influence that the pandemic has taken on student mental well-being, including social and emotional development. Importantly, the tool will reduce the local burden and focus on using data as a key resource to identify individual needs.