Samantha Pratt - Creating Socioemotional Solutions for the Classroom
In our recent interactive video project about four Cooke Scholar Entrepreneurs, we told the story of Cooke Scholar Samantha Pratt, founder and CEO of KlickEngage. Inspired by her own personal experience with complex trauma and research she had started while an undergraduate at New York University (NYU), Samantha started developing KlickEngage, an interactive platform that makes it easier for teachers to understand and respond to the socioemotional health of their students.
After graduating from NYU, Samantha taught in Miami-Dade schools. While there, she was struck by the lack of counseling resources and the negative effect that had on students and their ability to learn. She saw the opportunity to create a tool that would help teachers better reach their students.
“What I still believe is that students need more counselors, because nothing can replace a one-to-one conversation. But by simplifying it to just knowing where the student is in that moment, any teacher that uses the app is able to then pivot and address what they can,” Samantha said. “You can’t help a student deal with the trauma of their home life, but what you can do is create a safe space in the classroom where that student is still able to learn.”
After winning Teach for America’s Social Innovation Award in 2018, she launched KlickEngage’s pilot program. This past year, she earned a Ed.M. at Harvard Graduate School of Education and was awarded an education fellowship from Camelback Ventures. Her hope is that her work will promote educational equity and close the gap in mental health services that traditionally marginalized populations face.
Reflecting on her own educational experience she said that being a Cooke Scholar “really did shape the trajectory that I’m currently on, and I believe fundamentally that it showed me the way that you can change a person’s life through education, which is what I’m trying to do now in my own life.”
Samantha said that she was always comfortable with the idea of changing the world one person at a time; now she’s stepping into the realization that she could be impacting things on a much larger scale.