Experience & Activities
Dana Utroske holds an MS in Leadership for Sustainability Education, a BA in Sociology and Education, and an active Oregon teaching license. Dana has taught children and youth for more than a decade, as both a traditional public school teacher and as an informal educator.
Dana’s classes often focus on the intersection of social studies and natural science, examining how people interact with each other, the institutions around them, and the natural environment. She emphasizes inquiry, critical thinking, reflection, and empathy in all of her teaching, encouraging students to make real world connections to what they are learning. Dana also strives to ground her teaching in a decolonized, anti-racist pedagogy that encourages community-building and multicultural inclusion.
Dana is the founder of Educate Regenerate, an organization which leverages holistic transformative education to invent our regenerative future. She is active in many regional environmental education and social justice education organizations, often leading workshops and collaborating with colleagues on new projects. She also spends a great deal of time in her garden, raising ducks and tending her permaculture food forest.
|Date||Class||Age Level||Class Type||Teacher||Price||Availability||Live Meetings|
|March 20-May 14, 2023||Middle School Writing Foundations 1: Note-Taking and Summary (Session 2)||ELA||11-14||middle||Live||live||Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason||mparrinellocason||$220||Class Full||closed||Thursdays at 3pm EST|
|March 20-May 14, 2023||Middle School Writing Foundations 2: Narratives||ELA||11-14||middle||Live||live||Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason||mparrinellocason||$220||Class Full||closed||Tuesdays at 11am EST|
|March 20-May 14, 2023||Middle School Writing Foundations 4: Introduction to Research Writing||ELA||11-14||middle||Live||live||Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason||mparrinellocason||$220||Class Full||closed||Tuesdays at 1pm EST|
|March 20-May 14, 2023||Middle School Writing 3 with A Dog in the Cave (Guided-No Live Meetings)||ELA||11-14||middle||Guided||guided||Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason||mparrinellocason||$200||Space Available||open||none|
|March 29 - April 12, 2023||Dinosaurs||Science||7-11||elementary||Live||live||Blair Lee, M.S.||blee||$80||Space Available||open||Wednesday 3/29, 4/5, 4/12/2023 at 10am PST|
|March 30 - April 13||Birds & Bees & Flowers & Trees||Science||6-10||Elementary||Live||live||Blair Lee M.S.||blee||$80||Space Avaliable||open||Thursday|
|April 26 - May 10, 2023||Flight||Science||7-11||elementary||Live||live||Blair Lee, M.S.||blee||$80||Space Available||open||Wednesday 4/26, 5/3, 5/10 at 10am PST|
|April 27 - May 11||The Periodic Table||Science||6-10||Elementary||Live||live||Blair Lee M.S.||blee||$80||Space Avaliable||open||Thursday|
Online Teaching Policies for Dana Utroske
Families will receive a full refund* if they withdraw before the first class session. Families who withdraw after the course begins will receive a prorated refund based on the time remaining in the class.
*Refunds requested after 30 days of purchase date will be charged a 10% processing fee
Family withdraws before the first class session and within 30 days of purchase
Full Course Refund
Family withdraws before the first class session and after 30 days of purchase
Full Course Refund minus a 10% processing fee
Family withdraws after the first class session and within 30 days of purchase
Prorated Course Refund
Family withdraws after the first class session and after 30 days of purchase
Prorated Course Refund minus a 10% processing fee
If the entire course is canceled, I will issue full refunds without penalty.
Single Class Session
In the event of an emergency that requires me to cancel a single class session, I will work with families to find an acceptable substitution, including:
- Providing a video of the canceled class session
- Offering additional asynchronous activities
- Offering a 1-on-1 meeting with students
- Rescheduling the class session
Multiple Class Sessions
In the rare circumstance that I cancel more than 20% of the live class sessions (but still offering one or more of the aforementioned substitutions), families may choose to withdraw from the course for a full refund without penalty.
Interactive participation is what distinguishes a live course from an educational video or text; I therefore do expect students to participate in some form in every class session.
However, I recognize that students have different comfort levels, experience, and abilities when participating in online class environments. Students are encouraged to participate to the best of their ability in the manner(s) that the student and their family finds most suitable. Acceptable forms of participation include:
- Speaking using the microphone
- Typing into the chat box or other interactive text feature
- Using body gestures (with the camera on) or emoticons
- Engaging in live quizzes, games, and other interactive activities
If, for any reason, a student is unable or uncomfortable participating in class as described, the parents are encouraged to reach out to me to find a solution.
The homework I assign is carefully designed to complement the learning activities taking place in class. I do not assign busy work or just whatever we couldn’t finish in class that day. Therefore, homework assignments
If a student is struggling with an assignment, I highly encourage they reach out to me. I can answer questions or help the student break down the tasks at hand. I may also offer the student an extension or assignment modification depending on the circumstances.
I outline in every course the assignment requirement to receive letters and certificates of completion. I will allow families to enroll a child in my courses on a “participatory” level, which means the student will not receive letters or a certificate at the end and will not be required to turn in homework assignments; however, I ask that families notify me of this choice before the course begins. If a student is not turning in work and I have not heard from their family that they have chosen the “participatory” option, I will assume the student is falling behind and issue a progress report.
Basically, I welcome families to do what works best for them, but I believe learners will get the best experience if they complete the homework and in the order in which it was assigned.
Generally speaking, I try to work with students to make the class work for them as best as possible. If there is a good reason that a learner needs an extension on a due date, please reach out to me in advance.
Work that is turned in late will be docked 5% (½ a grade) for every class period, and it may be late receiving feedback. The latest a late assignment can be turned in is the second to last week; final projects that are turned in late will be handled on a case by case basis.
My policies also extend to the way I treat learners in the classroom. I believe that respect is the foundation of positive educational experiences, so I have the following policies in place to help ensure that my respect for learners is centered in my interactions.
- I will call learners by their preferred name (excluding silly nicknames) and use their preferred pronouns.
- I will announce methods to get my attention in the case that a learner is having trouble being heard in class. These can include using the “raise hand” button, sending me a private message, or creating alternative ways for a learner to participate that works best for them.
- I will be available for questions outside of class and answer those questions in a timely manner (generally within 48 hours).
- I will give feedback in a constructive way that respects the efforts learners have made.
I begin my courses by asking students to design a community contract. The contract includes the behaviors, attitudes, and consequences they feel are fair for themselves, each other, and the teacher(s). Because the contracts are generated by the group, they can vary slightly from course to course; however, my general behavior expectations are:
- Please mute your microphone if there is excessive background noise
- If we are in a large class, you may have to use the “raise hand” feature before speaking
- Be kind and supportive in your words and comments in discussion boards (disagreements should be handled respectfully)
- Be appropriately dressed when the camera is on
- Please keep the “chat” conversations on-topic and public (students should be aware that I can read “private” messages)
- Please do not share your contact information unless you have your adults’ permission
- No disruptive behavior that distracts other learners (such as constantly changing background screen, changing screen name to something silly, making faces at the camera, etc.)
My top priority is that all learners get the best experience they can out of the class. This means that my response to behavioral concerns is to address the individual problem with the least amount of disruption to the student concerned as possible. In general, I try to mitigate a specific behavior rather than remove a student from the classroom or limit their participation.
Below are some of the actions I might take if a student is behaving in a disruptive or disrespectful way in class (in order of least to most restrictive):
- Offer reminders of our Community Contract or redirect attention
- Disable particular functions of the online classroom (for example, turn off private chat, manually mute microphones, turn off a video feed)
- During class, privately reach out to students to ask them to stop (either via chat or in private group)
- Remove the student from the class session
If a behavior requires option 3 or 4 from above, I will document the instance and notify the students’ family. If I remove a student from a class session for behavior reasons, they can watch the recorded class session and complete the class assignments on their own (I will modify as needed for individual, asynchronous work).
If a student has two or more documented behavior issues in class, then I will reach out to the student’s family to brainstorm a solution. Possible routes we might take include:
- Develop a behavior plan or reward system
- Require a parent to join the student during live class sessions
- Remove the student from live sessions but allow them to continue in the rest of the asynchronous elements of the course
- Withdraw the student from the course (for a prorated refund)
It is important to me that learners feel safe and supported in the classroom. It is also important that I have the ability to document and investigate any safety concerns. For these reasons, class sessions will be recorded.The recordings will only show me and my shared screen, and will not include the students’ videos (unless otherwise noted).
Situations when class recordings may be shared:
- If a student misses a class and requests the recording to help them catch up
- If a recording provides evidence of an incident in class that needs to be discussed with a student’s family.
- If a section of the recording provides evidence of a teaching strategy or learning activity I would like to share with other education professionals in a conference or proposal. In this situation, I will only use a student’s face or voice if I have explicit permission from the student’s guardian; otherwise, the recording will only show me and my shared screen.
It is very important to me that all students are able to access the course and participate to the best of their ability. In all my courses I strive to integrate multiple modes of communication, choices for how a student may demonstrate their learning, and additional resources to dive deeper into a topic.
If a family would like to request an accommodation or modification, they must communicate with me before the first class session.
Students with Documented Disabilities
If a student has a documented disability or learning difference that requires an accommodation, I will work with the student’s family to create a modified learning plan. These students may still earn letters and/or certificates of completion if requested.
Students without Documented Disabilities
If a student does not have a documented disability, I will do my best to accommodate requests for alterations that help make materials accessible. However, if an accommodation requires a substantial deviation from the course as originally outlined, the family will be enrolled on a “participatory” level and the student will not receive letters and/or a certificate of completion.
Get in touch with Dana Utroske