A Chat with School Day’s Mika Kasanen
It may seem like an impossible challenge to end this year, of all years, with improved student wellbeing and a successful social-emotional learning (SEL) plan. However, the need for SEL is greater than it ever has been, and we are now more uniquely positioned to ensure that students are heard and educators are checking in with their students on a daily basis.
School Day is a digital app that collects feedback from students on their wellbeing, providing a data-driven solution that informs SEL strategies.
Available as an application, website or Microsoft Teams integration, School Day opens a communication channel between students and the school in order to address SEL needs, whether learning remotely or face-to-face.
We recently checked in with Mika Kasanen, CEO & Co-Founder of School Day, to find out why keeping track of student wellness is so important, and how School Day can help.
Mika noted one of the main concerns he’s been hearing from schools is “How do we know how students are doing on a day-to-day basis without having face-to-face interactions?” Without seeing your students’ faces, hearing their voices or observing their body language, it can be difficult to know if someone is struggling or needs more focused attention.
He added that in remote learning, it’s even more important to know how the students are feeling. “Growing up is a rollercoaster,” Kasanen remarked. “It’s not enough to check in with the students or collect data on a quarterly or monthly basis.” That’s why many users of School Day take five minutes in the morning to devote to the app, providing a dedicated time for teachers to check in with their students.
One of the biggest barriers schools face when addressing SEL is how to get concrete data on where to intervene and make improvements. Schools need to know where their efforts will have the most impact. This is why School Day’s app is based on the wellbeing model, focusing on four areas: learning, social-emotional skills, social relationships and wellness. The data and the questions asked to students on a daily basis are based on these areas and sub-areas.
“When you’re thinking of how to approach an area of SEL, it makes all the difference to know you have the data to make the right decisions,” Kasanen expressed. “Then when you make the improvements, you can measure the progress. Has it made an impact, have we improved, or has performance declined in these areas?”
One of the other concerns Mika has heard from schools is that there is too much on educators’ plates to juggle. Balancing remote, hybrid and in-person instruction is challenging, and simplification of tools is essential. This led School Day to simplify its model, so it’s applicable to both on-site and remote schooling. The service can be used no matter where the students are learning, from home or in school.
It shows where schools are excelling and where the pain points are. “It’s like a navigation tool for schools to improve SEL,” said Kasanen. School Day only needs basic information on each student to get started and it takes about 1-2 weeks to get everything up and running.
One large district in Europe has been using School Day for over a year, and it has helped to identify the schools that are behind in their SEL strategies, allowing the district leaders to make decisions and provide the support needed for these schools. School Day’s goal is to be the starting point and hub for educators and administrators to start improving SEL.
For more information about School Day and how it can be implemented in your district or school, visit https://eduscape.com/schoolday/.