Introducing The Minds & Hands Behind UClass
Bio: Before taking up the project of UClass full-time this spring, Zak Ringelstein taught fourth grade at the International School of Tanganyika and served as the Teach for All early stage social entrepreneur for the development of a Teach for Tanzania corps. Prior to Tanzania, Mr. Ringelstein forwent his medical school plans at Johns Hopkins University to teach fourth and fifth grade for three years in his Teach for America placement school in Phoenix, AZ. Mr. Ringelstein received a B.A. in History from Columbia University in 2008 and a M.Ed. from Arizona State University in 2010 in conjunction with Teach for America.
Here is what Zak has to say about founding UClass:
“The classroom space is the most important seedbed for childhood development after the home space. When our children are offered limited opportunity in their classroom, they are very likely to be offered limited opportunity in their lives. However, when kids are able to step outside of the boundaries of their communities to imagine a world of possibility, they take advantage of it. They dream.
My goal over the last four years of teaching in urban Phoenix and Dar es Salaam has been to open the world of possibility to kids who don’t even know it is okay for them to ask more of their lives. Kids need an excellent education. But an excellent education begins with a student’s ability to dream – and then a student’s decision to try. Teachers have the enormous responsibility of fanning the flames of their students’ dreams and motivating them to intrinsically want to learn.
When teachers can take ownership over their own curriculum and have the aligned and rigorous resources they need to personalize learning for each child, seeds are planted for life long learning. UClass gives schools this opportunity. When educators have a safe space to collaborate across their district, I can’t even begin to imagine the growth that students will enjoy — and the innovation that will transpire.“