On June 1st, 2020, Alec and I launched our very first website. Curious Cardinals was officially born! 🎉
In the three years since, we’ve built a team, worked with thousands of students around the globe, empowered college students with the most fulfilling well-paying part-time job, and begun paving the way for what the future of K-12 education can look like. Never could we have imagined what Curious Cardinals would grow into… we started thinking this was a pandemic passion project, and now it’s our life’s work!
We’re still in the nascent stages of our journey, and accordingly, it still feels like we’re just getting started. But in the three circles we’ve made around the sun since, we’ve learned a lot. Here are our 3 key learnings:
1. Just start.
It's easy to delay beginning something in pursuit of perfection. But if you keep waiting, you will never get started. The best way to overcome anxiety and uncertainty is to take action. Start small, and then build momentum from there.
Photo: "Behind the scenes" of Curious Cardinals, at the Cardinal Crib
2. Skate to where the puck is going.
When we started working with kids in the spring of 2020, this began as tutoring. We learned that what works best is not one-size-fits-all tutoring, but rather building genuine connections with each student, understanding who they are, and tailoring teaching methods and mentor matches accordingly. Did parents request this individualized approach explicitly? No, but we saw it was the most powerful way to truly inspire students.
Now 3 years later, tutoring is the word that shall not be named at Curious Cardinals. Why? Because tutoring has a connotation of being transactional, a remedy for Friday’s test, as well as a stigma of meaning there is a deficiency or something wrong with your student. We’ve realized that the best results don’t come from quick fixes, but from long-lasting relationships, trust developed over time, and authentic connections.
We are on the brink of change within education with the advent of AI technology. Suddenly, personalized learning at scale seems feasible. We are internally exploring how we can leverage AI to enable the most impactful, personalized learning experiences for our students. We are committed to providing our students with the best possible learning experience, and we believe that AI is the key to making that happen. Even when such change feels uncomfortable, we aim to embrace it.
Photo: One of the very first Curious Cardinals mentors, Cece King, who is still a mentor today, teaching her student Spanish by reading Fancy Nancy on June of 2020. Both this student and the mentor have stayed with us since!
3. Never stop learning
I aspired to be the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Alec was a budding social entrepreneur, studying aerospace engineering. We were certain that we had the next decade of our lives mapped out - until Stanford sent us home from our freshman year due to the pandemic. Had we not shifted courses, we would both be graduating from Stanford two weeks from now.
The world is constantly changing, so it's important to be adaptable and open to new opportunities. When you stop learning, you limit your potential. Instead, embrace change and use it as an opportunity to grow.
We found our way by walking through doors as they opened, not by rigidly sticking to a plan that no longer fit. The keys to our progress have been openness, agility, and continual learning.
In the words of Albert Einstein, “the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”
We are grateful for the support of our students, families, and mentors. We could not have achieved this milestone without you.
Photo: Curious Cardinals featured on CNN in the fall of 2020
To celebrate our third birthday, we have a gift for you and an ask if you’d give us a gift:
- We are offering a special discount to all families. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject BIRTHDAY to receive one free lesson in a 10-session package if you purchase by Sunday, June 4th.We are offering a special discount to new families. Use the code BIRTHDAY to receive one free lesson in a 10-session package if you purchase here by tomorrow.
- To give us a gift, we hope you consider referring Curious Cardinals to your friends. Every referral means so much to us!
Thank you for being a part of the Curious Cardinals community! We look forward to continuing to serve you in the years to come.
Audrey on behalf of the Curious Cardinals Team