Social-Emotional Learning Expert Paul LeBuffe Leads Webinar on the Appropriate Use of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment
Webinar hosted by Aperture Education Aug. 29, 2017 offers insight into what the DESSA is – and what it is not
Charlotte N.C. (Aug. 10, 2017) — Social-emotional learning (SEL) assessments can provide valuable information to help school districts improve their SEL programs and address the social-emotional strengths and needs of individual students. However, in order to be effective, these assessments must be used appropriately. SEL assessment expert Paul LeBuffe will lead a free webinar at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Aug. 29, 2017 to share insight into the widely-used Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), which he authored, and how to use it to support the social-emotional development of children.
The webinar “The DESSA: Uncovered. What it is, What it’s Not, and Everything in Between” is hosted by social-emotional learning company Aperture Education. To register, visit https://goo.gl/m3cmkh. Questions can be submitted in advance.
Paul LeBuffe is the Vice President of Research & Development for Aperture Education. His career has focused on strength-based approaches to promoting social and emotional competence and resilience in children, youth and the adults who care for them. He is the author of several strength-based assessments for children which have been adopted by more than 5,000 school districts, out-of-school-time organizations, and other programs.
“Adopting strength-based SEL assessments is a key part of creating an effective SEL program,” said LeBuffe, “But sometimes there can be misunderstandings about how SEL assessments and data should be used. The purpose of this webinar is to delve deeper into this issue, specifically relating to the DESSA, and explain how schools can best leverage this tool to truly help students.”
The DESSA is a strength-based, standardized behavior rating scale that measures children’s social and emotional competencies. The DESSA can be used by teachers and out-of-school time program staff to better understand children’s social and emotional skills and to help inform SEL instruction efforts.
The webinar is part of Aperture Education’s ongoing work to support educators, administers and out-of-school-time providers in implementing social-emotional learning programs within their schools. Its goal is to ensure members of school and out-of-school time communities, including adults, have the social and emotional skills needed to thrive.
About Aperture Education
Aperture Education is a social enterprise focused on addressing the whole child. Its social and emotional learning (SEL) solution, Evo Social/Emotional, is based on the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), a standardized, strengths-based measure of critical social and emotional skills such as personal responsibility, self-management, relationship skills and healthy decision-making. The Evo Social/Emotional online system includes both the DESSA assessment and the DESSA-mini, a brief, universal screener of social and emotional competence. Evo Social/Emotional also provides strategies to strengthen social and emotional skills. Version 2.0, now available, provides the data needed to help SEL program administrators measure the impact of their programs and to help educators understand students’ SEL needs and strengths. For more information, go to www.ApertureEd.com.
Texas’ Spring Branch Independent School District Approves Strategic Partnership with Discovery Education Supporting New, Five-Year Strategic Teaching and Learning Plan
– Discovery Education’s Award-Winning Digital Content and Professional Development to Support District’s Efforts to Design Learning Environments and Experiences Meeting the Needs of All Students-
Silver Spring, Md. (August 9, 2017) – Texas’ Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD) today announced it has approved a new strategic partnership with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms. Through this new relationship. SBISD’s educators will be empowered with Discovery Education’s unique blend of digital content and professional development services to design learning environments and deliver learning experiences that value and build on the individual talents, needs, interests, and aspirations of all SBISD learners.
The launch of this new partnership directly supports Spring Branch T-2-4, which commits the district to the goal of doubling the number of students who complete a technical certificate or military training through a two or four-year degree. This ambitious goal will be reached through the school system’s strategic plan, The Learner’s Journey, which builds on some of SBISD’s strongest assets, such as the area’s supportive community and people, and is undergirded by the district’s core values of Every Child, Collective Greatness, Collaborative Spirit, Limitless Curiosity, and Moral Compass.
To support The Learner’s Journey and help reach Spring Branch T-2-4’s goal, SBISD’s K-12 educators will soon begin using Science TechbookÔas a core instructional resource for science lessons. Also, middle and high school teachers will receive access to Discovery Education’s Social Studies TechbookÔ and Math TechbookÔ, which will enable educators in those subjects to design and deliver dynamic digital learning experiences for all students.
Discovery Education’s Techbooks are breakthrough digital textbooks that are aligned to rigorous standards, support a comprehensive curriculum, and are updated regularly at no cost. The series encourages all learners through interactive features that change the reading level of text and enable text to be read aloud. The Techbook series saves teachers’ time with a comprehensive design that places model lessons, student activities and assessments at their fingertips. Techbooks are platform neutral and can be used in one-to-one or one-to-many configurations and in any instructional environment.
Utilizing an inquiry-based format built on the 5E model, Discovery Education’s Science Techbook helps teach students to read, write, and think like scientists through hands-on labs, digital explorations, an interactive glossary, and data analysis activities. The Social Studies Techbook series uses an inquiry-based instructional approach that emphasizes informational text literacy, analytical writing, and problem-solving skills that students will apply in the classroom and beyond. Each subject area includes primary source documents and activities, digital investigations, multimedia reference library, interactive maps, and more. Discovery Education’s Math Techbook is a digital textbook that connects students to math through real-world problems worth solving, combines conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and application to help all students develop a long-lasting mastery of mathematics.
In addition to offering dynamic digital content to SBISD educators, Discovery Education will also conduct sustained, job-embedded professional development for teachers districtwide. This immersive professional development, provided by Discovery Education’s expert faculty, will help district educators evolve their teaching practice to better meet the needs of today’s learners and effectively use their new digital resources.
“At Spring Branch ISD, we hold non-negotiable the beliefs that each student should have an equal opportunity for success after high school and that all students can achieve more than they think possible,” said SBISD Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri. “Discovery Education shares these beliefs, and is dedicated to providing Spring Branch’s teachers the high-quality digital content and capacity-building professional development they need to turn these beliefs into reality for all students.”
The Discovery Education Community will support the SBISD’s educators’ efforts to transform students’ learning experiences with dynamic digital media. A global community of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing and inspiration.
“Discovery Education is proud to be a part of Spring Branch Independent School District’s effort to double the number of students who complete a technical certificate or military training through a two or four-year degree,” said Phillip Mikula, Educational Partnerships Director for Discovery Education. “We look forward to working with Dr. Muri and his tremendous team of teachers and administrators on our joint mission to create learning experiences that value and build on the individual talents, needs, interests, and aspirations of every child.”
For more information about Discovery Education’s digital content services, digital textbook series, and professional development resources, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Facebook, follow us on Twitter at @DiscoveryEd, or find us on Instagram and Pinterest.
About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.
Kids Discover Releases 25 New Social Studies Titles
Arriving in time for back to school, the new print and digital K–8 content will cover topics in history, geography, and the legal system
(NEW YORK, NY) August 8, 2017 — Kids Discover, a leading provider of engaging science and social studies curriculum for elementary and middle school students, is proud to announce the release of 25 new social studies titles in time for back to school. These titles will address topics never before covered in Kids Discover’s print or digital libraries.
“This new content signifies Kids Discover is more than just a supplemental content provider,” said Jennifer Dixon, senior editor at Kids Discover. “We’re providing educators the opportunity to expand their usage of our content in their classrooms. It’s an exciting time for Kids Discover and our customers. We are constantly adapting to new challenges and demands from a changing educational landscape.”
Ten of the new titles are geared towards grades K–3, and focus on topics like Rules and Laws, People and the Environment, and U.S. Geography. The remaining 15 titles are a mix of American History and World History titles aimed at upper elementary and middle school learners, with titles like “Westward Expansion,” “13 Colonies,” and “China’s Empires.” These 15 titles will also be released digitally on Kids Discover Online, with assessment questions and interactive features.
“Print is not dead, but dull print is,” said Ted Levine, the president and CEO of Kids Discover. “At Kids Discover, our passion is to produce rich, engaging, and highly stimulating content that excites students about reading and makes them enjoy learning about science and social studies. Our designers and writers work hard to make sure both our print and digital content are top-of-the-line, visually as well as academically.”
Kids Discover invests heavily in licensing high-quality images and iconic photographs, as well as creating original art, with the goal of making reading a visually engaging experience for every reader. Later in August, Kids Discover will begin rolling out a feature series on the artists who create Kids Discover’s original artwork, including cartoons, water-color paintings, and 3D animations for Kids Discover Online. A short spot on the artists is also featured in the fall 2017 catalog.
About Kids Discover
For more than 25 years, Kids Discover has been creating beautifully crafted non-fiction products for kids. With a specialty in science and social studies, the team of talented writers, award-winning designers and illustrators, and subject experts from leading institutions is committed to a single mission: to get children excited about reading and learning. For information, please visit KidsDiscover.com.
Texas Education Commissioner Approves the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment Screener for use in Kindergarten
The DESSA-mini is one of two approved health and wellness assessments
Charlotte N.C. (Aug. 9, 2017) — The Texas Education Commissioner has selected the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment mini (the DESSA-mini) as one of two kindergarten Health and Wellness assessments approved for schools to use in that state.
The DESSA-mini is a strengths-based screening tool used by schools and out-of-school-time organizations to measure the social and emotional skills of students in grades K-8. These include critical skills such as personal responsibility, self-management, relationship skills and healthy decision-making. It is administered online via the Evo Social/Emotional system from Aperture Education.
The Commissioner’s List of Approved Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Assessment Instruments was released on July 12, 2017 and includes the approved assessments for five domains of development: emergent literacy-reading, emergent literacy-writing, language and communication, health and wellness and mathematics. To learn more about the List, click here: https://goo.gl/6ixCoQ
The goal of the List is to ensure that school districts and charter schools select instruments that are “based on valid and reliable scientific research, thoroughly measure each domain of development, and are user friendly,” according to the Texas Education Agency, which posts the List.
“Supporting the social and emotional health of students is critical. It helps them in every aspect of life, including academically,” said Jessica Adamson, CEO of Aperture Education. “It is important that schools are using quality assessments. We are honored that Texas chose the DESSA-mini to include on its list of approved health and wellness assessments for kindergarten students.”
If the 8-question DESSA-mini reveals that a student may need additional social-emotional support in some areas, a school can administer the full 72-item DESSA to get a deeper picture of the student’s SEL strengths and needs.
The final list of assessments is based on recommendations from a panel of 14 experts who reviewed, scored and ranked them.
Providing the DESSA and DESSA-mini is part of Aperture Education’s ongoing work to support educators, administers and out-of-school-time providers in implementing social-emotional learning programs within their schools. Its goal is to ensure members of school and out-of-school time communities, including adults, have the social and emotional skills needed to thrive.
About Aperture Education
Aperture Education is a social enterprise focused on addressing the whole child. Its social and emotional learning (SEL) solution, Evo Social/Emotional, is based on the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), a standardized, strengths-based measure of critical social and emotional skills such as personal responsibility, self-management, relationship skills and healthy decision-making. The Evo Social/Emotional online system includes both the DESSA assessment and the DESSA-mini, a brief, universal screener of social and emotional competence. Evo Social/Emotional also provides strategies to strengthen social and emotional skills. Version 2.0, now available, provides the data needed to help SEL program administrators measure the impact of their programs and to help educators understand students’ SEL needs and strengths. For more information, go to www.ApertureEd.com.”