Support workflows

Staggered flow of projects

It's very easy to get behind on back-to-back project-based classrooms because of the lead times involved. On an ideal schedule, expect to start planning your next project 5 weeks after you started planning your prior project, as soon as you've completed the event planning call during the onboarding phase.

Edit this gantt chart using the Mermaid Live Editor

Project planning

As of now, the requirements gathering process is manual. We use the following templates:

Edit this flow at this link.

How to modify the remaining-requirements email template content for sending

The remaining-requirements template includes questions for all the fields needed in requirements-gathering that could still be unanswered by the time of sending. In uncommon situations, there may be others. If you already have the answers to some of these questions, remove the question from the message you send.

First, find the form response for your project in the New Project spreadsheet.

Then, for each field...

  • If you already have the complete value, remove the question from the message

  • If you have an incomplete value for a question that's not in the template, add the question ad-hoc to your message

How to fill in the tricky fields for the request-confirmation email

  1. primaryTeacherFirstName: this is the teacher from the teachers sheet in the tools workbook with mainContact equal to yes.

  2. teacherFirstNameList: a comma-separated list of all participating teachers from the teachers sheet in the tools workbook. For the excel wizards, this is like a JOIN(", ", teacher_array).

  3. numberSummaries: how many options we'll provide them. This is a confirmation of the Service Level Agreement based on when they requested the project and when the project should start. Pick the right number based on the SLA found here.

  4. productNameSingularWithInclusions: the ideas and recruiting sheets have a productNamePluralWithInclusions field. Make this singular.

  5. langCheckpointAlias: schools have different names for checkpoints that we need to use in customer-facing documents. You can find this in the config sheet.

  6. requestedCheckpointList: a comma-separated list of checkpoints required by the teacher or partner. Teachers sometimes have specific work products they want included in their project, which they share when you ask them for their existing ideas. These should get written down under the Key Checkpoints section on the ideas sheet.

  7. skillsList: a line-separated list of all target skills from the skills sheet. This should show up as a bulleted list of skills.

  8. ...RequestStatus: these fields can either be requested or on request, depending on the teacher's initial request. Some projects are too short to include every partner request, or the teacher doesn't want or expect all of the partner connections based on their school's preferences or the training they received. To date, there's not really a good place where this information is stored. You just have to know from talking with the teacher. This is a way to advertise the other partner connections if they aren't going to do them all.

How to handle project options with teachers

You only create project options when there are options to choose from. That also means this can only be done once partner recruitment has started. You should have received a notification from the partner recruiter that there are options waiting for you in the tools spreadsheet.

Clean up the Plan document

Project options build off the Plan document in the project's folder. In the typical situation, that document should currently have all the project ideas in there. The first step is to cut this down to only the selected ideas.

Go to the Overview. Delete the project tables for each project that was not selected. In the typical situation, you should be left with a single project table.

Update the project's existing table with the most current information. For example, the essential question or idea statement may have evolved since the idea stage. Or, you may need to use a different illustrative partner or how it helps.

Delete the entire summary sections for each project that was not selected. In a typical situation, you should be left with a single summary section.

Extend the overview with potential partners

Open the summaryOptionsPartnersIntro template component. Make no changes here. Select all and copy.

Go to the Overview in the Plan document. Underneath the project table, paste in this section header.

Open the summaryProfessionalListItem template component. Make no changes here. Select all and copy.

Open the the tools spreadsheet for the project. Go to the professionals sheet. You should have a short list of contacts. These are the partner options for the project(s).

Go back to the Overview in the plan document. Underneath the new section you created, for each partner option, paste and fill in the professional table template.

To fill in the fields, find the following fields on the professionals sheet.

  1. partnerFirstName for each contact

  2. partnerLastName for each contact

  3. jobTitle for each contact

  4. organization for each contact

  5. partnerIntro for each contact

For 6, replace the placeholder image with a headshot of the partner. If the partner has already filled out the agreement form and included a headshot, you can find the official headshot in the form responses. Check this first. Go to the table holding the form responses at this link. Search for a matching contact. If you see a matching contact, check if there is a link under the question Upload your preferred headshot. If there is, follow that link. Use that image as your replacement for the headshot.

If the partner hasn't submitted the agreement yet, we need to do some digging. First, search for the partner on LinkedIn. If their profile is public, use the LinkedIn profile photo as the headshot. You can also try this approach with Facebook, Twitter, company directories, and general web searches. If nothing works, you may have to leave it as a placeholder.

Send the options to the teacher

Find the relevant email template at this link. Make no changes here. Copy the body of the email into a Gmail draft.

Remember, it's often a good idea to first clear the formatting of the pasted content, re-add any special formatting like bold text and links, and then save the template as a Template in Gmail.

Fill in the template fields of your draft email manually.

Send it to the appropriate teacher(s).

If you don't hear back in 2 days, send a follow up!

Update the preferredOrder field in professionals

When you hear back from the teacher(s), update the preferredOrder field for each contact in the professionals sheet. You may need to translate their choices from letters into numbers.

Immediately notify the partner recruiter that the teacher has made selections. In your notification, copy and paste the link to the tools spreadsheet with the professionals sheet open so they can quickly get there.

IGNORE: Automation notes

You can ignore this

Before writing this Chris needs to turn 1) turn the Dossier into a Options cover sheet template and 2) add an "projectOptionRecruitmentStatus" to config so we can tell the code which status to filter on when pulling from professionals.

Options is just an extended plan. Once an option has been selected, the others are removed.

Differences in idea and option for a projects

  1. Idea do not have the potential partners section. Options do have the potential partners section.

  2. Idea uses the summaryIdeasProjectsIntro component instead of the summaryOptionsProjectsIntro component.

  3. Idea does not have the partner-project matrix. Options do use the partner-project matrix (only when the teacher has asked for multiple potential projects).

  4. Idea uses summaryIdeasChoice component instead of the summaryOptionsChoice component, which instructs the teacher on the next steps.

To dos:

  1. Give your option people different featuredProjects so that all your projects show up

  2. Select the recruiting status option from professionals to be options

  3. Fill in the additional field jobTitle for them on the professionals tab

  4. If they have not yet submitted their agreement form with a headshot, grab a headshot online (LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc) if possible

  5. Create summaries for each project

  6. Note that all partners can work with all project

    1. Better to create a table that shows which partners are good for which projects

Partner recruitment and project selection

The messages sent to the teacher will be sent by the person supporting the teachers. The messages sent to the partner will be sent by the person recruiting partners. We process the teacher's project selection in parallel (even before we know if the partner is eligible) because almost all partners agree to the terms and pass the background check. The teacher's support person and the partner recruiter should be in constant communication during this stage.

Use the clickable links or update this flowchart online at this link. If you update the chart, you need to replace the existing link with the new one in the address bar because the chart is encoded into the link.


partner-confirmation ""

partner-chosen-and-handoff ""

partner-not-chosen ""

How to create project dossiers

The first step in recruiting is preparing the project dossiers. This way interested prospects can review all the information they need up front and get fewer messages from us.

Figure out how many dossiers you need.

You should have at least 1 dossier per project, and you could need up to as many as you have ideas for the project. The number you need depends on whether your ideas are "tight," meaning they could involve the same partners. If you have some ideas for a project that require you to recruit one kind of partner and other ideas that require you to recruit an entirely different partner, you need dossiers for each kind of partner you're recruiting.

The dossier is a document, not an email, so the starting template is in the project folder itself.

Navigate to the project folder. You should find a Sidekick Project folder. Follow the path shown in the image below to find the dossier template specific to that project.

If you need more than one dossier, copy the document as many times as needed.

Add the projectIdeaListItem component template for each proposed idea

You'll use this to create a list of the proposed ideas. The link is included in the dossier template, or you can access it at this link.

Copy the table in the component template. Go back to your dossier. Replace the field in the dossier template entirely by pasting in the table. Paste in as many tables as you need. For example, if there's only 1 idea for the project, just include 1 table. If there are 3 ideas, then include 3 tables.

Fill out the dossier template

Many of the fields come straight from tools spreadsheet, but there are a few tricky ones.

  1. Find projectName in the request sheet.

    1. This is the project's name for reference (not the name of the idea).

  2. Find startDate in request sheet.

  3. Find endDate in request sheet.

  4. (Obsolete) The partnerRole is now project-specific and covered in the projectIdeaListItems for each idea.

  5. Find volunteers in the request sheet (keep scrolling 😉).

  6. Find preferredMeetingSlots in the request sheet.

  7. Find preferredSessionDates in the request sheet.

  8. Find sections in request sheet.

  9. Find uniqueDaysAWeek in request sheet.

  10. Find schoolName in request sheet.

  11. Find schoolFullAddress in request sheet.

  12. Find aboutSchool in request sheet.

  13. Find classes in the request sheet.

  14. Find estimatedTotalStudents in the request sheet.

  15. Find studentGrades in the request sheet.

  16. Find estimatedStudentGradeLevels in the request sheet.

  17. For the skillsFriendlyDescriptionList, build an unordered (aka "bulleted") list from the skills in theskills sheet.

    1. Make sure every skill in the sheet has a friendlyDescription. This is a word or phrase that better summarizes the often long, technical, and obscure description that the standards use.

    2. Sort the rows in the sheet by the assessed (i.e., the ones that have Assess? set to true) skills if you haven't already

    3. Highlight and copy all the friendlyDescription cells for the assessed skills.

    4. Replace {{ skillsFriendlyDescriptionList }} with these values using Paste values. This is Ctrl + Shift + V (Windows/Linux) or Cmd + Shift V (Mac) as a shortcut.

    5. Reformat the list so that each description has its own bullet point.

  18. You should have replaced projectIdeaListItem with as many of the same-named component as you have for ideas. Then, for each idea:

    1. Find projectIdeaStatement in the ideas sheet under the appropriate idea (keep scrolling 😉). If this fails for some reason, projectIdeaStatement is made up of other fields:

      1. Find productActionPlural in the ideas sheet under the appropriate idea.

      2. Find productNamePluralWithInclusions in the ideas sheet under the appropriate idea (keep scrolling 😉)

      3. Find helpfulActionPlural in the ideas sheet under the appropriate idea.

      4. Find helpfulContent in the ideas sheet under the appropriate idea.

    2. Find the idea-specific partnerRole in the ideas sheet under the appropriate idea.

    3. Find howItHelpsThePro in the ideas sheet under the appropriate idea.

Go to the sharing button (currently in the upper-right corner called Share). Turn on link sharing. Make sure the sharing permissions are set to view. Allow external access.

Copy the link that gets created. You'll need it for the next step.

Go to the ideas sheet in your .tools workbook. Paste the sharing link you copied in the previous step into the dossierLink field under the column associated with your idea.

Note: if ideas were kept "tight," meaning they use the same partners, multiple ideas can share the same dossier! Include the same link for all ideas that share the dossier.

If everything's working correctly, this will fill in the dossierLink field on the recruiting sheet with the appropriate link whenever that contact is associated with the same project idea. This link gets used in the mass email template so the mass email will send out the right dossier to everyone.

How to mass-send the outreach email

Create the template as a draft in Gmail

Run spellcheck

Add your email to the Partner recruiter field on the request sheet

The is the email that will get filled in for any contact that doesn't have an email (like general submission forms).

Filter the contact list to those you want to send to

First, make sure you expand the table boundaries to include all contacts if you've added more contacts since the table was created.

Use the table filters to remove any contactBefore contacts. Then filter to a specific tier, depending on which tiers you've sent to before. Finally, pick and choose which contacts you'd like to send to using by putting either yes or no in the Send field. Filter the contacts by filtering to only the yes contacts or by filtering out the no contacts.

Send a test email using Mailmeteor or Yet Another Mail Merge

Note: We used to use a add-on called Yet Another Mail Merge. If you find any reference to it, know that you can use almost the exact same workflow with Mailmeteor. Mailmeteor is the preferred solution, but it has some bugs loading. You can find both add-ons domain-installed in the Add-ons menu in Google Sheets.

Select the outreach template by the email's subject.

First, send a test subject.

Send the email using Mailmeteor

When everything looks good, repeat the process you used to send a test email, except this time send it to the actual contacts.

How to handle partner recruitment through each recruitment status

Go to the recruiting sheet. When you get a response from a contact, update their status in the Recruiting Status field. Recruiting status tie to different steps in the recruiting process (you can follow along in the process flow).

  1. If a partner declines, thank them for their response and then set their status to Declined.

  2. If a partner accepts, set their status to Accepted. When a partner accepts:

    1. add the link to your copy of the partner-confirmation email template in Gmail

    2. Send them the partner-confirmation email

  3. If you have more than one Accepted, choose which ones you want to use as options to give the teacher. Set these to Used as option. When you pick someone as an option:

    1. Notify the Human Sidekick (the teacher's support person) on the project of the options.

    2. They will create a project options doc and send the project-options template.

  4. The teacher will select one or more partners for the project. The Human Sidekick will notify you of the teacher selections. When you get the selections, update the status of the top preferredOrder to Chosen partner. When you set a contact's status to Chosen partner:

    1. CC the teacher support person then send the chosen partner the partner-chosen-and-handoff template

    2. send any other Accepted or Used as option contacts the partner-not-chosen template

Use this link to open the form prefiller link. You can open the link from the Custom Projects board:

This link has the fields that are always the same pre-filled for you.

Go to the professionals sheet. You must update the recruitment status of the contact before the contact will show up here. Follow these steps to do so.

Using the fields on the professionals sheet, fill in the following fields in the prefill form:

  1. partnerFirstName and partnerLastName for the right contact

  2. sendEmail for the right contact

  3. Find this from their LinkedIn profile or from the company directory.

    1. After finding this information, add it to professionals sheet > jobTitle for the contact

  4. organization for the right contact

  5. projectDescription for the right contact

Finally, hit Get Link in the form. Then copy the link it gives you.

Manually replace the link in your confirmation email template with the copied link.

Project onboarding

As of right now, the process of onboarding teachers and partners is manual. We do have some message templates to help.

Update this chart online at this link. It also has live links to each template mentioned.

click sample ""click intro ""click call-invite ""click invite ""click schedule ""click next ""

click link "" click agreement ""

How to modify the onboarding-info email template content for sending

The onboarding-info email is a massive info dump meant to prepare the teacher and partner for the project. Not every part of the document is needed for every project. Here are the changes to work through.

Do you need to introduce the human Sidekick?

If you have not yet introduced the human Sidekick, add in the introduction component. Leave the human Sidekick contact information in either way.

Should you remove the annotated expert work sample?

Some projects don't ask the partner to create an annotated work sample. This may be because they've worked out a different program than the usual Sidekick project or because they found the partner too late to get one in. Either way, remove the row describing the annotated expert work sample from the relevant table.

Should you add the project updates?

If a project is not long enough or does not have any 7-day stretch without a connection with the partner, then we don't ask for project updates. If there is a potential of having such a stretch, replace the {{ emailComponent:projectUpates }} with the corresponding email component template.

How to send each event invitation

Event planning call

Make sure you can attend this call. Invite:

  • The teacher(s)

  • The partner(s)

  • Yourself

Add this meeting to the Real-world Projects Sidekick calendar.

In-person entry-event

Schedule this for the full time the partner will be there. Invite:

  • The teacher(s)

  • The partner(s)

  • Yourself (as Optional or FYI/Resource)

Add this meeting to the Real-world Projects Sidekick calendar.

How to lead the event planning call

This call should last 20 to 30 minutes.


  1. Review objectives of the call

  2. Introductions

  3. Go over roles and expectations

  4. Plan the entry event

  5. Decide on additional partner connections

  6. Review next steps

Walk them through the agenda for the call

Explain the following:

  • everyone should leave the call understanding their role in the project and what steps they should plan to take to fulfill it

  • most of the time is dedicated for them to collaborate on a plan for the entry event. You are there as a "gopher" to handle any logistical requests that may arise as well as a "referee" to point out any requests of the partner or teacher that may be beyond the initial commitment.

  • you will go over the additional partner connections that Sidekick can support following the in-person entry event and get a consensus on which connections you want to include as part of the project

Coordinate introductions

Ask the teacher to start. Ask the teacher to also share who the students are, what drove their interest in this specific project, and what the students are supposed to be learning.

Prompt the partner to follow with their own introduction.

State the role of the partner in the project

Ask the teacher to share their expectations on how the students will benefit from the partner's involvement.

"Warm up" the teacher by explaining that partners usually increase students' engagement in projects. Use one or more of these reasons:

  • They are a credible source on the topic so students pay attention to what they say

  • They are an real person with a legitimate reason to be involved, so it makes the work students are doing more authentic

  • Just having a real human spending a day with them can personalize the project, and a lot of good can often come simply from making that personal connection with you

Guide the teacher into saying that the partner should talk about the subject from personal experience.

Plan the entry event

Have them to discuss how they'd like the day to go.

"Warm up" the conversation by pointing them toward the how-to article in the help docs. Share the following link: Recommend the plan outlined by the help doc.

Pick partner connections

Explain that a "full" Sidekick project comprise a few key partner connections that you can help with, and they can choose to do as many or as few of them as they'd like.

Share the following link:

Using the help doc yourself, walk through each one, and then note which ones they say they want your help with.

Review next steps

Depending on the chosen partner connections, the partner and you may have different immediate next steps. Share whatever action items you have collected during the meeting.

After the call: prepare an accurate flowchart of the project's workflow

Depending on which partner connections the teacher and partner agreed to, the workflow for the project will look different. Customize the full flowchart to include only the chosen connections. Use the how-to guide on creating flowcharts to get you started.

Project support

How to prompt for a final submission and exit video

Ask for the final submission

Send the next-connection message template with the exitVideo email component, using "exit video" as the value for the nextPartnerConnection variable.

Ask for the exit video

We use Hubcap to collect videos.

Copy the link to the final submission in the project folder. (Make sure you use the link accessible by collaborators only so you don't potentially share private student data with the world.)

Send the exit-video-start email template using the link as the value for the finalSubmissionLink. This will ask the partner to record a video using the provided link. That link is:

Send over the exit video

When a partner submits their video, you will receive a notification in the #projects channel in Slack.

Upload this video to Sidekick's YouTube channel as unlisted. Then, copy the link. Add the link to the exit-video-complete message template in place of the exitVideoLink variable and send this to both the teacher and the parter.

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