Charlotte N.C. – Aperture Education, the leading provider of research-based social and emotional learning (SEL) assessments for K-12 schools, and the Urban Assembly, an education nonprofit that advances the social and economic mobility of communities by improving public education, announced strong evidence of both positive student-to-student and student-to-teacher relationship building with Windsor (Connecticut) Public School’s thriving SEL program.
Over the last couple of years, Windsor has made remarkable strides in its implementation of SEL, as demonstrated by the compelling data trends. With keen attention to the SEL needs of its students, Windsor has shown an impressive uptick in the proportion of students exhibiting typical to strong SEL abilities. In just one academic year, Windsor witnessed a significant increase, with 84% of students now demonstrating positive SEL skills, up from the previous year’s 79%. Notably, 28% of students exhibit strength in SEL competencies, up from the initial 16%, a testimony to the effectiveness of the SEL interventions.
“I am immensely proud of the work being done by our teachers, SEL Specialists and support staff who are committed to nurturing the social-emotional well-being of our students,” said Dr. Terrell Hill, Windsor Public Schools Superintendent. “Their dedication and commitment have played a pivotal role in achieving this growth in our students’ social-emotional learning competencies. Their passion for nurturing the holistic development of our students and their unwavering commitment to ensuring the success and well-being of our students is truly inspiring.”
The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) announced a partnership with Aperture Education to provide a statewide SEL assessment for K-12 schools by providing the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) System and the DESSA-mini, an eight-question, one-minute version of the screening, available to all Connecticut districts at no cost.
Among the first districts to participate in this statewide initiative was Windsor Public Schools, which serves more than 3,300 students in six schools. Windsor uses the DESSA suite of assessments to measure students’ social and emotional skills, which provides information about eight key social and emotional competencies aligned to the CASEL framework, which helps cultivate skills and environments that advance students’ learning and development.
DESSA scores can be used to pinpoint each child’s specific strengths and opportunities for social and emotional growth, and guide strategies to promote these competencies across the school, in classes and small groups and with individuals. This data helps educators collaborate to identify students’ areas of growth and provide additional instruction to students in need.
“The key to our success is building a data-driven culture,” said Dr. Michael Mallery, District Coordinator of Social Emotional Learning for Windsor Public Schools. “We are able to provide impactful SEL intervention with our team of dedicated SEL specialists because we have clear insights from the DESSA assessments. Now we can empower our teachers and our families by identifying which students need support and providing it as an integrated part of their school day.”
An important part of Windsor Public School’s success is their partnership with the Urban Assembly, which supports the district with SEL implementation, integration, evaluation and capacity building. Urban Assembly also provides professional learning that supports staff to build their own social and emotional skill development, as well as engaging with families and the community.
“The concept of SEL was introduced 60 years ago, but the pandemic really highlighted issues of anxiety, stress and mental health,” said Jessica Adamson, Chief Strategy Officer, Aperture. “Schools saw the importance of SEL programs not only to address the wellbeing concerns stemming from the pandemic, but also as a way to combat bullying and school violence, and prepare students for success once they graduate. Connecticut is demonstrating great leadership by providing access to a data-driven program that can be tailored to the needs of the students, educators and community. Even in the early stages, the school system is seeing impressive results that will only get better with a continued focus on using data to tailor supports to students’ strengths and needs.”
Aperture Education has empowered nearly 8,500 schools and out-of-school time programs across North America to measure, strengthen, and support social and emotional competence in K-12 youth and educators. The Aperture System includes the DESSA suite of strength-based assessments, CASEL™-aligned intervention strategies, and robust reporting, all in one easy-to-use digital platform. This system enables education leaders to make strategic, data-based decisions about SEL within their organizations. Aperture has supported more than one million students in their social and emotional growth and continues to develop innovative solutions to bring the whole child into focus. To learn more, visit www.ApertureEd.com.
About Urban Assembly
The Urban Assembly is an education nonprofit that advances the social and economic mobility of communities through the design of our high-impact, public schools and by offering learning solutions to school districts across the country. The UA provides school support in 4 key areas to advance student growth: Algebra, Social-Emotional Learning, Postsecondary Readiness, and Alumni Success. The UA engages hundreds of public, private, and non-profit sector partners to increase educational opportunities and close the opportunity gap. To learn more, visit www.urbanassembly.org.