About Us

The Sidekick Manifesto

We hold these truths to be self-evident.

Teenagers are superheroes

They are smarter, stronger, braver, and more zealous than the rest of us. They're also a bit more self-centered. It's up to us to train and care for them like they deserve, so we can save them from the dark side and unleash their potential to change worlds.

Potential is equitable

High-performing, struggling; young, old; rich, poor; black, white; Spanish-speaking, deaf, autistic: potential has no preference. If our grown-up superheroes don't represent our teenagers, it's on us to figure out what went wrong along the way.

Learning is human

Computers compute, humans learn. That means, just like humans, learning is multi-faceted. It's personal. It's social--screens don't teach, people learn from people. It complex and systems-based, like our institutions, cities, and brains. And, just like humans, it's natural, which makes learning a science and teachers engineers.

Systems aren't gods

Education systems are just people systems, and people systems are just people, and people can change. In education, it can sometimes feel like turning the Titanic, but the Titanic could in fact turn, which sounds better than hitting an iceberg. It's all about finding the right levers, having a vision, and playing the long game.

The Mission

Every great origin looks the same: you make it personal.

We make it practical for schools to write the origin story of every teenage superhero.

We build software, services, and curriculum that make it easy, effective and equitable for teachers and school leaders to make learning personal.

Our superpower is crafting real-world projects: in-class, project-based units connected to community partners, where students work side-by-side with professionals to solve actual business and social problems. Students "learn by doing" while building real, personal connections.

We believe if we achieve our mission, any school will be the place where any learner can graduate ready to persist through college and make waves in future careers. That's what we call educational and economic equity.

Who We Serve

20,000+

students

75%

low-income

70%

black & Hispanic or Latino

Where You'll Find Us

And we're just getting started.

Aw, shucks, thanks for the love

We're still learning how to toot our own horn, so we really appreciate these people for doing it for us.

Who We Are

Our Origin Story

Sidekick started out as a joint school project among educators, data scientists, technologists, and startup veterans from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Wisconsin and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Looking for a sustainable and scalable solution to educational and economic equity, we rallied around the shared values that have become our Manifesto. It quickly became apparent that we shared a vision of the (super)power of schools to flip the stories on at-risk and disadvantaged youth.

With our own superpowers in curriculum design, software, and AI, we assembled as Sidekick, a non-profit supporting the school leaders and teachers at these schools through software, services, and curriculum.

Like any sidekick, we're only great when the main heroes put us in action. As students, school leaders, teachers, and community partners join forces to usher in a new normal for education, their Sidekick will be at their sides.

Talk to a human

Sarah's the living, breathing human who works with our schools

Schedule a chat with Sarah