Seesaw is a learning platform that brings educators, students, and families together to deepen student learning. Teachers design and facilitate powerful learning experiences, students create, reflect, collaborate, and make their learning visible, and families actively support and celebrate student learning. Seesaw is used by millions of K-12 students in over half the schools in the U.S. and 15% of all teachers in the U.S. are on Seesaw every day.
Each team is asked to select, explain, and rank their top 8 values in order of importance.
Customer Comes First
Step inside the classroom and see how valuable our product is firsthand.
At Seesaw, we serve multiple customers, which is what makes our product so exciting and challenging to build. While our primary focus is on students, teachers, and parents, we also support a product for school administrators and technologists who set up and maintain Seesaw for their schools (enabling teachers to then implement and use the platform).
Every Friday we have a company-wide meeting where there’s the opportunity to share new learnings as well as progress on current projects across the company. For example, our product teams share updates on new product features and launches, and recently the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee presented extremely relevant information about the demographics of K-12 students in the U.S. We need to understand the population we’re serving in order to build the best product possible.
Committed to Personal Growth
We believe learning never stops.
Despite coming from various backgrounds, everyone at Seesaw shares one thing in common: we all love learning. Not only is our product dedicated to enhancing learning, but we are also committed to growth and development as individuals and as a team.
A great example of how we demonstrate personal development is through our internship program for individuals pursuing a career in engineering. Unlike most companies where internship programs are largely run by engineering managers, our engineers drive Seesaw’s entire process from start to finish. It is a great opportunity for engineers (who may not have experience with hiring or managing) to identify which projects the interns work on, design appropriate interview questions, shadow one another during interviews, and ultimately make the decision about which applicants to extend offers. Independent contributors (ICs) get the chance to onboard and manage interns, and everyone gains a deeper understanding of what recruiting and hiring entails. While we are only in our third year, we’ve found this unique, engineering-driven internship program to be successful for everyone involved and we plan to continue evolving the program.
To further support professional development, we also offer educational stipends ($500 per year), for all Seesaw employees. In the past, folks have used their stipends to attend conferences, take online courses, or purchase books. We also take advantage of how knowledgeable our colleagues are and regularly host Lunch and Learns where team members can lead a presentation or discussion around a topic of their choice. Recent examples have included Understanding Equity and Stock Options, Advocacy (how to be an advocate for others), and Owning Your Career Growth.
We’re looking for people who don’t just want to simply climb the ladder, but are passionate about how they’re growing and developing. If that sounds like you, we highly recommend you learn more about how Seesaw enables K-12 students to better engage with both their teachers and parents and also learn more about the team behind it.
Not only do engineers drive our internship program (see above!), but so much of Seesaw’s product comes from individual engineers, too.
Engineers at Seesaw have a tremendous amount of agency: we own features from ideation to launch and are involved at the top of the funnel of our product roadmap. Every week in our product check-ins with our Co-founder and CPO, Carl Sjogreen, we make product decisions with the entire team in the room. This gives everyone on the team full context and visibility to understand key choices as well as the opportunity to contribute their thoughts or opinions.
We kicked off 2022 with our 3rd annual hackathon, which saw extensive collaboration (and hacking) between Product, Design, and Engineering teams. The previous hackathons have been a source for real production ideas and features that have shipped (including 8 out of 15 from our first ever hackathon!) and we’re excited to see ideas from this year come to fruition as well.
Hackathons are not the only way an engineer can be involved in the product roadmap; sometimes a simple lunch conversation will do. During lunch, Darren (IC3) and Jennie (IC2 at the time) pitched an idea to Carl to build a feature that allowed students to save their work as a draft and allow teachers to be able to send back student work for editing purposes. Carl loved the idea and encouraged us to prototype it. Three months later, the feature was launched and is currently one of our most used features by teachers!
COVID-19 really challenged us to become a do-it-all education tool overnight and we’re proud of how quickly our team rose to the occasion. Now more than ever, remote learning solutions are essential. We’re currently in 35 of the top 100 school districts and serving more than 10 million monthly active K-12 students. If any of the above excites you, we hope you’ll get in touch soon!
Actively Practices Inclusion
Inclusivity is top of mind for both our users and internal team members.
From a product standpoint, we are constantly asking ourselves how to make Seesaw as inclusive as possible. Thinking through a diverse, equitable, and inclusive lens is critical for our business. It’s how we can provide the best service possible to our users. Seesaw needs to be intuitive for students at all grade levels to use, as well as for parents and teachers across various socioeconomic, cultural, and educational backgrounds. We serve an extremely diverse population and build features that facilitate connections between disparate parties that are also easy to use. For example, we added a translator in our messaging app so that parents and teachers can communicate even if they don’t speak the same language.
Internally, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) plays an important role as well. We make sure our people programs are equitable, and are always looking for ways to refine or improve our processes. As a company, we regularly survey employees with tools like Officevibe to help us identify areas we can be improving and keep employees engaged. We’ve invested in DEI training at the manager level and all our new hires go through DEI onboarding. Each quarter, our DEI Committee (which represents various teams and identities) identifies an educational focus to create greater awareness around DEI topics within the company. We doubled in size in 2021 (going from ~90 employees to just over 180) and we’re on track to double again by the end of 2022. We’re proud to be building a diverse team and the numbers speak for themselves: 65% of Seesaw employees identify as female or non-binary and 22% identify as BIPOC. For technical teams (engineering, product, and design), 44% identify as female or non-binary and 27% identify as BIPOC.
Overall, everyone is incredibly open and welcoming at Seesaw. Many of us agree that Seesaw is the humblest company we’ve ever worked at, and that we noticed it as early as our interviews. When you walk around our office (whether virtually or IRL if you happen live/work in the Bay Area), you won’t be able to tell who’s on the leadership team and who joined us last week, and you’ll likely find yourself in conversation with multiple people. 😊
Bonded by Love for Product
Connected by our mission that meaningful learning can happen anywhere.
Co-founders Carl Sjogreen and Adrian Graham have been working together for over 15 years. They first met at Google where they worked together as Product Managers. When they left Google, they started a company together that was later acquired by Facebook and spent a few years at Facebook together before leaving to create what is now Seesaw.
Carl and Adrian have always had an interest in the education space but were reluctant to create an education product given neither of them had an education background. Their initial product, Shadow Puppet, was launched with a desire to make it easy for anyone to be able to share photos, information, and ideas, in creative and easy ways on a phone or tablet.
By chance, Shadow Puppet became very popular in the teacher community and led Carl and Adrian to dig deeper into the types of problems educators were facing. Initially, several of the pain points teachers brought up were mechanical. For example, providing an iPad to a classroom where the iPads rotated from class to class was an issue because students weren’t necessarily able to save information on a device. However, from these conversations, it became clear that the product teachers actually wanted was one where students could interact, get excited, and engage with their work on a different level. Out of all of this, Seesaw was born.
Seesaw has since evolved into a platform where teachers can create engaging lessons and activities, students have total creativity in how they interact with and complete those lessons (like drawing, coloring, and recording presentations) building a portfolio of their work over time, and parents can see, participate, (and cherish!) all of it. We are even building our own engaging and equitable, standard-aligned curriculum, Seesaw Lessons. Our teachers know that our lessons are read-to-teach and adapt to any learning setting with multidimensional activities and real-world connections.
One of our team members, Taek Yun, joined Seesaw after seeing how transformative it was for his own family:
“A week before school started for my 7-year-old daughter, the teacher invited parents in and asked us to download two apps: one of which was Seesaw. I did as told, but truthfully didn’t look at either app for several weeks. Then one day, I got an email notification saying my daughter had uploaded a video to Seesaw. I clicked the link, which opened the app, and I watched her narrate a story she had both written and illustrated titled: “How to Make Friends.” I was so thrilled to see her talk so excitedly about, well, how to make friends!
As a parent, the biggest pain point is knowing what my kids are doing in school. Every day, I come home and ask, “How was your day? What did you do in school today?” and the answers are always a quick, one-word: “good,” “fine,” “fun.” But when I got home that day to ask my daughter about “How to Make Friends,” her face lit up and she didn’t even let me finish my question before enthusiastically telling me ALL about it. We talked for over 30 minutes! She was so engaged and so excited. Beyond that, I could see firsthand how her reading and writing improved throughout the school year through the Seesaw app. I knew right then and there that Seesaw was amazing and I wanted to be a part of it.”
The education industry tends to attract people who are human-centric, compassionate, and empathetic. While Seesaw sits at the intersection of education and technology, we’ve found the same to be true for us, too. We love what we’re building and deeply believe that Seesaw not only improves education, but also creates better relationships between teachers, students, and parents, creating a more holistic circle of learning.
We encourage team members to ask tough questions.
We place a large emphasis on feedback. We use Officevibe (mentioned previously) which sends a short survey to everyone once a week and also allows folks to leave open-ended feedback. It lets us keep a pulse on how things are going, engage team members in an easy way, and identify patterns and trends to help us improve.
Every Monday, we have a company-wide meeting, and the meeting doesn’t end until someone asks the CEO a hard question. The hard question is our exit ticket, and it always generates a lot of interesting conversations. These topics can range from challenging a business or product decision to asking about how current events are impacting the company, or being curious about company strategies.
We do performance reviews twice a year which include upward feedback – direct reports provide feedback to their managers. Our founders also take advantage of this opportunity and send out a survey to collect anonymous feedback from all employees about how they’re doing and what leadership can be doing better. We also have a Slack “Feedbackbot” that encourages us to request brief start-stop-continue feedback from anyone at the company, which drives thoughtful conversations and allows us to learn from each other.
Finally, we end every Friday with “Woah What a Week.” We celebrate team wins, give shoutouts, acknowledge birthdays and anniversaries (with shoutouts about what that person has accomplished during their time at Seesaw!).
From our matrixed product teams to our Slides Carnival each year, everything we do at Seesaw is cross-functional.
We love mixing things up and making sure we’re hearing ideas and feedback from everyone at the company. Our product teams are organized cross-functionally (1 product manager, 1 product designer, and a handful of engineers). This ensures that every component from ideation to execution is taken into consideration and also gives people the chance to explore different interests, apply their skill sets to different product areas, and work with different people.
In order to develop our product roadmap, we create opportunities for individuals to share their ideas, feedback, and stories from interacting with our users. We make sure to involve members from every team (sales, engineering, content, community) so that we know exactly what will deliver the most value to our students, teachers, and parents. Even with our team being 99% remote, we are able to maintain that spirit of collaboration, whether it is through weekly virtual syncs, group Slack channels, or quick Google meets.
Finally, at the end of every year, we do a Slides Carnival where everyone at the company creates one slide with an idea or improvement for the company. They can be small fixes or moonshots, something you can do, or a project completely outside of your department. We then have a Carnival where you have 60 seconds to pitch your idea to the company. It’s a tradition of ours that is incredibly fun, but also powerfully creative. Many ideas have come to fruition as a result of Slides Carnival like our Creative Corner (we’ll explain below, so keep reading!).
Heavily Team Oriented
We love what we’re building, but we love who we’re building it with even more.
We embody teamwork in so many different ways that it’s difficult to make a comprehensive list! We do company-wide offsites twice a year where we take multiple days/nights away from work – really, we don’t do anything work-related – and spend time bonding as a team. We do a full or half-day offsite as a company once a quarter, too, and sub-teams will do quarterly offsites in smaller groups as well. But to us, being a team is even more than these offsites.
At our office, we have a Creative Corner where people can take what we like to call “brain breaks.” We bring the supplies and you get to take 5-20-minute breathers in the middle of your day to unwind. Remotely, feel free to take a walk around the block. Throughout the year, we’ll have small events in the middle of the workday to make wreaths, Valentine’s Day cards, or do meditative yoga (we have even continued these types of events virtually.) More regularly, we have a coffee bot that randomly selects a colleague for you to get coffee with (or remotely, connect over a 30-minute video call).
While these are all things that we do, they’re more of an expression of who we are. We’re all here at Seesaw to better engage kids at school, build trust between parents and teachers, and improve learning outcomes, and we apply the same principles within our team. We know we have different learning and working styles, so we have multiple avenues for people to create, converse, clear their heads, or just play.
Customer Comes First
Committed to Personal Growth
Actively Practices Inclusion
Bonded by Love for Product
Heavily Team Oriented
30 Full-Stack Engineers
5 Product Designers
5 Product Managers
Unlimited vacation. In 2021, Seesaw employees took an average of 4 weeks of vacation! We also have Mindfulness days (7 in 2021) and first Friday of every month off through April 2022.
On the backend, our stack runs on Python3 in combination with GraphQL, on top of AWS infrastructure like Lambda & ApiGateway, to deliver the best experience and value to our customers.
On the frontend, we currently have three clients: web, iOS, and Android. Our existing web stack is an AngularJS (also known as Angular 1) app, within which we have (more recently, i.e. past year) been writing React components. The new stack is entirely React, written in Typescript, and includes modern libraries for things like state management, api requests, analytics, and error handling. It’s also built in such a way that we can package it as a native iOS/Android app, getting us closer to our goal of writing ~once while deploying on all 3 platforms. The iOS stack is Objective C and Swift and the Android’s stack is Java and Kotlin.
Our hiring process typically begins with an introductory phone or video call, with the goal of seeing if this opportunity makes sense for both parties. Depending on the role, our next step is a homework assignment to help showcase how you would approach challenges our employees face in their departments. Finally, we will arrange a virtual onsite interview with several people you would collaborate with in the role as well as a “culture lunch” with members from other teams to learn more about our culture and ask questions in a more relaxed setting.