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How do you screen professionals?
While Sidekick will provide a diverse array of projects, we recognize the varied responsibilities of our administrators and teachers to their students and communities. To give you the required agency and flexibility to oblige those responsibilities; to ensure student, partner, and school safety; and to maximize the effectiveness of our projects in producing student outcomes, Sidekick screens all partners and projects against the following criteria:
- 1.Organizations must not be considered "extreme." That is, Sidekick does not partner with organizations that engage in or intentionally incite illicit activities or those activities that could be considered illicit.
- 2.The project partner's background must not suggest a legitimate risk to any party involved in the project.
- 3.The project objective does not directly realize the organization's primary mission. The idea is that organizations rely on systems of activities to achieve their primary mission, so nothing students do can directly affect the organization's outcomes without further intercession on the part of the organization. This is to protect students from being coerced into advocating for a product or value they don't agree with. It also protects students from being used by organizations as unpaid labor and doing their job for them. Let's see some examples.
- 1.A project that forces students into acquiring customers for a business would not be accepted. Meanwhile, a project that has students develop marketing materials that the partner could then implement themselves for that purpose would be acceptable. This is because the primary mission of a for-profit business is to acquire customers, not to market to them.
- 2.A project that has students creating marketing materials for an organization that advocates for the rights of unborn children would not be accepted. Meanwhile, a project that has students prepare appropriate content that might be later used in marketing materials would be acceptable. This is because the primary mission of an advocacy organization often is simply marketing--that is, raising awareness--but is not researching, writing, video production, or other activities that go into preparing content.
- 4.The partner can speak credibly on the topic of the project to preserve the authenticity of the experience.
- 5.The partner can credibly fulfill the role model function and contains the potential to be a longer-term mentor. Nearby physical location and demographics representative of the student body are key advantages for the fulfillment of this criterion.
- 6.The partner recognizes their role as a mentor supporting the defined learning objectives for the project and an authentic resource for the students and will reliably withhold proselytizing a personal or organizational point of view, as trained by Sidekick (more snappily, we say a project partner is there to make a connection, not a point).
- 7.The partner is equipped to interact with young people who are novices in the problem domain, developmentally immature in "hot thinking" scenarios, and impressionable, as trained by Sidekick.