Apperson Announces Winners of Massachusetts Grant Competition

Winning schools will receive SEL assessments, interventions and professional development support
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Winning schools will receive SEL assessments, interventions and professional development support

Charlotte N.C. – Oct. 17, 2016 – Assessment leader Apperson and the Devereux Center for Resilient Children today announced the winners of its Massachusetts micro-grant competition. The “Supporting Strength-Based Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in MA” competition launched this summer with the aim of helping schools and districts assess SEL skills during the 2016-17 school year.

The winners are:

·Easthampton Public Schools

·Ayer Shirley Regional School District

·Sudbury Public Schools

·Brockton Public Schools

·Norfolk Public Schools

The five districts will receive access to Apperson’s award-winning Evo Social & Emotional online assessment and intervention system and accompanying professional development to assist with their implementation of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA). They will also be included in a professional learning community made up of SEL experts and researchers to help start or steer their SEL efforts.

Grant applicants were asked to describe the most pressing social and emotional needs within their school or district, the outcomes they would like to see, and how they would continue to support social-emotional learning after the grant has ended.

The winning districts described a range of SEL issues among students including increases in levels of anxiety and depression, and reports from certain groups of students that they feel less connected or welcomed at school than their peers. Part of the way schools will use the grant include supporting a mindfulness initiative and expanding SEL screening programs. Most of the winning districts said they hope the assessment data and related support will ultimately help them to improve school culture, reduce disciplinary behaviors and improve academics.

Apperson and Devereux launched the micro-grant program to help schools in Massachusetts expand the reach and effectiveness of their social-emotional learning programs. They chose Massachusetts because of the growing momentum of SEL efforts there over the past few years.

“We had a strong group of applicants. We are pleased to see so much good work and passion for SEL throughout the state,” said Paul LeBuffe, director of the Devereux Center for Resilient Children and author of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessments (the DESSA). “We are looking forward to working with these five districts to help them advance their SEL work for students.”

“Data is an important piece of any effective SEL program,” added Bill Apperson, chairman of the board of Apperson. “These school districts are already doing great things in this field. We hope the tools and support that this grant program provides can help them bring their programs to the next level.”

About Apperson

Apperson’s Evo SEL is based on the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA), a standardized, strengths-based measure of SEL competencies such as self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills and decision-making. Apperson provides the online platform for administering the DESSA and DESSA Mini universal screeners to quickly identify students’ SEL competencies. It also provides resources and activities to address SEL gaps. 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. For more information, go to

About the Devereux Center for Resilient Children

The Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC) is part of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health, a leading nonprofit and behavioral healthcare organization. DCRC focuses on the development of research-informed and resilience-enhancing resources that support educators, parents and other child-serving professionals in assessing and strengthening the social and emotional competencies of children from K through 8th Grade, as well as in the adults who care for them.