New York City teachers given four hours during school day to complete DESSA screeners

School classroom with blackboard
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The city’s teacher union, the United Federation of Teachers, came to an agreement with the Department of Education on a few details regarding the City’s new $18 million Devereux Student Strengths Assessment otherwise known as DESSA. 

Teachers that have been assigned to fill out the 40-question-long screener will be given four hours during the school day to complete screening for one class of students and 50 minutes for screener training. A class size can not be more 34 students, according to a UFT memo shared with amNewYork Metro, and teachers will be given a few options on when work can be completed. 

Option 1: In schools that use an 80/75-minute model or other 155-minute reconfiguration for professional development, parent engagement and Other Professional Work (OPW), screeners may use a combination of this extended time.

Option 2: In schools that have an SBO and use a 150-minute-per-week model when students are not in attendance, screeners may use a combination of professional development, common planning, Other Professional Work, and/or parent engagement time.

Option 3: In multi-session high schools only, screeners may use a combination of professional development, Circular 6, faculty and department conference time. In lieu of completing this work during Circular 6 assignments, screeners who prefer option #4 below should not be denied.

Option 4: In lieu of using time during the regular workday, if a staff member prefers and the principal agrees, per session can be paid to complete the screenings and the related PD outside school hours. 

Teachers have until Dec. 4 to complete the screeners and can do so outside of school. In addition, instructors that have been selected to work as Social Emotional Leads and will be interpreting the data collected from the survey’s will be allowed to be given 20 hours of per-session pay to complete the required 13 hours of training needed to learn how to interpret DESSA answers and can work with their school leadership on redistributing their workload if they are unable to complete it. 

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