Wave Learning Festival: Our Story

In March, the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools around the world. Students had little support, summer and community programs closed, and parents struggled to balance full-time jobs with the new full-time job of keeping their kids engaged.

Wave Learning Festival started as a 14-person team of college students trying to help out and keep learning going. We launched our first “wave” of free, live online courses taught by passionate college leaders in April to 500 grade-schoolers. Overwhelmed by the positive responses from students, parents, and educators, we ran 4 more waves that summer. By August, 10,000+ students from all 50 US states and 62 countries around the world were logging on to take one of our 400+ classes.

Our organizational values consist of:


  • We treat all members of our community (students, parents, educators, team members) with kindness and respect.
  • We recognize and value different backgrounds and perspectives.
  • We recognize we all have biases and work to overcome them.


  • We take responsibility for our mistakes and seek to improve ourselves.
  • We seek what is best for our students, our mission, and our organization over what is best for ourselves.
  • We share knowledge freely and are eager to help teammates.


  • We care deeply about Wave’s mission.
  • We seek excellence and completeness in our work.
  • We go beyond what is asked of us and take the extra initiative to identify points of improvement and contribute to goals not explicitly assigned.


  • We listen and seek to understand before reacting.
  • We approach disagreements calmly with a goal to learn and consider different perspectives, rather than pushing our own opinions over others’.
  • We provide teammates with honest and productive feedback.


  • We seek to understand our students and how best to help them.
  • We actively seek alternate perspectives, ideas, and possibilities.
  • We educate ourselves about the issues we hope to address.


  • We seek to address root causes and work beyond treating symptoms.
  • We use data, research, and feedback to inform decisions.
  • We look to the long term when making decisions for the short term.
  • We challenge assumptions and suggest new approaches.
  • We adapt quickly to change.