Gary Beidleman, Principal
Nathalie De La Mota, Assistant Principal, Academy of Excellence
Leah Dyer, Assistant Principal, Pace Academy
Courtney Ware, Assistant Principal, Spectrum Academy
Dana Dade, President, JHS 118 Parent Association
Jessica Rolon, Secretary, JHS 118 Parent Association
Carrie Rivera, Treasurer, JHS 118 Parent Association
Dear JHS 118 Parents & Guardians,
We understand just how challenging the past 18 months of the pandemic have been for you as parents, families, and caregivers. We are in awe of the work you have done, and continue to do each and every day, to support your child(ren) and we thank you for your continued partnership with us. Our work together is more important than ever as we strive to ensure your child thrives this school year and beyond. To further support you, our teachers, counselors, and social workers as champions of your child(ren)’s academic and social and emotional needs, are excited to let you know about a wonderful opportunity in our school this year!
Research has consistently shown that developing the social and emotional skills of students helps them to succeed academically, gain confidence, and be happier. Social-emotional learning, or SEL, includes developing relationship skills, self-awareness, responsible decision-making, and optimistic thinking.
To identify and support the social-emotional growth of all children in our school, we are excited to be administering a strengths-based SEL screener, known as the Devereaux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA). The DESSA asks questions about areas of social-emotional functioning including decision making, relationship building, confidence, and others.This tool will be completed by someone who knows your child really well—in most cases a teacher.
The responses we gather will help us provide targeted, highly responsive support to each individual student. Perhaps most importantly, the tool enables us to build on each student’s strengths while identifying the social-emotional skills they need to further develop. Once our students’ growth areas are identified, we can create highly responsive plans to target and enhance those skills in the most appropriate manner and settings.
The results of this screener will not be included on report cards, will not have any impact on grades, and will not be used to make any diagnostic or evaluation decisions. The results will be stored securely in an online portal that meets the DOE’s strictest privacy and security settings and will only be viewable by your child(ren)’s teachers and select school staff such as the principal or counselor.
The information gathered from the DESSA screening tool will allow us to provide the very best support to your child and will be beneficial to their overall success, both inside and outside of school. Families will have an opportunity to hear about their student’s SEL skills during family conferences.
We are excited to implement the DESSA beginning October 25, 2021. If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Daniels at 718-584-2330 x2221 or KDaniels3@schools.nyc.gov.
If you do not want a staff member to complete the DESSA screener for your student, you must write a letter to me stating that. This letter needs to be received by the school by October 25, 2021. Please email 10×email@example.com with “SEL Screener” in the subject line.
If you have any questions regarding social-emotional learning or the DESSA, please contact our Parent Coordinator Steven Cooper at 718-584-2330 SCooper12@schools.nyc.gov.
Gary Beidleman, Principal
William W. Niles School – JHS 118
Pace Academy, Spectrum Academy, and Academy of Excellence