Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Cardinal Community School District has made its staff mental health and happiness a priority in recent years, but the district lacked a way to measure the success of its mental health initiatives and how its staff members were truly feeling.
'Though we received positive feedback from staff members, we weren't sure if their happiness and satisfaction at work were truly improving,” stated a news release from the district.
Enter HappyWork, a digital platform that collects daily happiness scores from Cardinal staff members anonymously via text.
'It's our mission to help organizations improve employee happiness, inclusion and mental health through the amplification of employee voices,” explained Tony Sheffler, HappyWork founder & CEO. 'We felt as though yearly surveys that only capture a point in time were not sufficient.”
With the HappyWork platform, Cardinal has real data to use to help guide its decisions and how they affect its staff, and, by association, Cardinal students.
'With daily happiness data, schools are able to positively impact any teacher having a low day or implement new initiatives across the entire district,” said Blair Walsh, HappyWork co-founder.
In one month of using the platform, the school district has already received constructive feedback from staff members about improvements that can be made in the day-to-day functions of each school building.
'The feedback we have received has been able to stay anonymous and is provided to the appropriate parties to make improvements,” said Abbey Shelman, Cardinal shared elementary school counselor.
The district has discovered that Cardinal staff members report happiness scores of 7.4 out of 10, on average. The district aims to increase that by listening and responding to staff feedback, providing support, and continuing to foster a positive environment.
'Staff are able to reach out anonymously about concerns, needing help, or anything they need to address,” explained Michelle Edwards, Cardinal middle school and high school professional school counselor. 'The team has developed criteria for HappyWork staff to reach out to those who are scoring low as well.”
Staff members who report low scores are contacted confidentially and offered assistance by a HappyWork team member who can suggest resources within the district and community that may be helpful for them.
'HappyWork has revolutionized our happiness initiatives, complementing our current programs and allowing us to measure how they're positively impacting our team,” said Superintendent Joel Pedersen.
And those positive impacts cause a ripple effect, improving student experiences.
'We know it is very important for educators to take care of themselves so they can best support students,” Mrs. Shelman said. 'If the staff is happy, that will positively impact their daily interactions with students.”