Experience & Activities
Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason has a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis on rhetoric and composition. She has more than a decade of teaching experience including six years of full-time college experience. She has designed workshops and classes for elementary, middle, and high school students and is a homeschooling mom of two.
Her passions include pop culture, moral philosophy, essay writing, and reading skills. She designs classes that take a multi-disciplinary, integrated reading-writing approach to make sure learners have context and purpose for everything they create.
During her time as an English professor, Michelle specialized in teaching “developmental” writing, which means she was working with the students who had been deemed unprepared for college-level writing. In that work, she formed a teaching philosophy deeply centered on trust.
She believes that students learn best when they know that their instructor genuinely trusts them to do well. She works hard to avoid assignments and classroom dynamics that create antagonistic power structures. Instead, she wants learners to see her as a supportive guide who genuinely aims to help them reach their own goals.
Michelle’s doctoral work heavily focused on the history of writing instruction in America with an emphasis on the way writing pedagogy reinforced structural power dynamics. This work has committed Michelle to a lifelong pursuit of pedagogical practices that resist such power dynamics. She aims to create — through the practical impacts of assignments, course discussions, and feedback — educational experiences that empower learners to use their own voices.
My Zoom-averse daughter looked forward to the weekly online meetings. Michelle does such a wonderful job at speaking with young people and guiding discussions. My daughter was motivated to work hard on her assignments and has asked to take another class from Michelle.
I really appreciated your enthusiasm, support, and kind words in your video feedback messages to him. That goes a long way! [Learner] is going to a brick and mortar school next year for the first time since fourth grade. We submitted the two papers he wrote in your class to the high school he applied to go to next year, and they recommended he start in Advanced English! Woohoo!
The video lectures were clear and packed full of helpful and important writing lessons. The video and written feedback was clearly personalized, very detailed, and extremely beneficial for my learner. Michelle truly demonstrates compassion and expertise in her classes!
I only wish we had found Michelle sooner! I’ve been homeschooling my son off and on for years. Writing is very challenging for him and it is so difficult to take feedback from a parent. I have begged so many of his teachers to please offer direct, concise, written feedback and give him the opportunity to revise. I knew this would be the only way he could improve. This class was everything I’ve been asking for for years…..except I didn’t have to ask! It is designed this way and it worked brilliantly! My son gets to attend an adventure school in the fall, but if we homeschool the following year, the first thing I will do is sign him up for whatever Michelle is teaching.
I really appreciate how organized the class was, how clear the expectations and guidelines were and how professional and encouraging the feedback delivery was.
Online Teaching Policies for Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason
Families will receive a full refund if they withdraw before the class begins. Families who withdraw after class begins (except for Book Club enrollments) will receive a prorated refund based on the time remaining in the class. (NOTE: Refunds made more than 30 days from purchase date will be docked a 10% administrative processing fee.)
For the Book Clubs, no refunds are given after the start date because full-month materials are made available to families on the day class begins.
If the withdrawal is for schedule conflicts or a learner struggling with class content (that is either too easy or too hard), I am happy to work with families to try to find solutions.
I try my very best to avoid class cancellations. I often teach classes even if the minimum number of enrollees has not been met. However, I do reserve the right to cancel a class if the minimum enrollment is not met. I will do so 48 hours before class begins and issue full refunds.
In the event of an emergency that requires me to cancel an individual session, I will work with individual learners to find a sufficient make-up strategy. This may include a recorded session or a rescheduled session.
In the rare event of an emergency that requires me to cancel a substantial portion of the class, I will either find a substitute or issue prorated refunds for the class. If I must find a substitute, families will have the option to receive a prorated refund instead of continuing the class.
I recognize that students have different comfort levels and experience with participating in online class environments. Students are welcome to participate in the way that works best for them. While I prefer students to appear on camera and participate via microphone in live classes, I am also okay with students who do not want to appear on camera and use only the microphone or chat box.
My classes tend to be fairly involved, so there are often assignments between live meetings for live classes and throughout any other format. I highly encourage students to complete all homework assignments on time as I have designed them to scaffold future work.
If students cannot complete homework, they are welcome to reach out to me for guidance or a possible extension on the due date.
If families choose not to do some or all assignments, learners may stay in the class. However, I will only issue letters and certificates of completion to students who have met the assignment threshold as explained in that particular class.
Basically, I welcome families to do what works best for them, but I believe learners will get the best experience if they complete the work assigned.
Generally speaking, I try to work with students to make the class work as well as possible. If there is a good reason that a learner needs an extension on a due date, please reach out to me. Work that is turned in late may be late receiving feedback. There will be a point for every class (typically two weeks after its end date) where I can no longer accept assignments.
- I will call learners by their preferred name 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 do my best to accommodate requests for alterations that help make materials accessible.
- I will be available for questions outside of class and answer those questions in a timely manner (generally within 24 hours).
- I will give feedback in a constructive way that respects the efforts learners have made.
- I will be understanding of learner differences and individual personalities and be as flexible as possible as I strike a balance between keeping the class productive for everyone and allowing room for everyone’s individual needs.
- Mute microphones if there is excessive background noise
- If we are in a large class, you may have to use the “raise hand” feature before speaking
- No mean-spirited comments in discussion boards (disagreements should be handled respectfully)
- Students must wear clothing when on camera
- No flooding the chat with off-topic content
- No name calling, bullying, or unwanted private messaging
- No sharing contact information with other students without parent 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.)
- Disable particular functions of the online classroom (for example, turn off private chat, manually mute microphones, turn off a video feed)
- Privately reach out to students to ask them to stop the behavior during class
- Reach out to students and their families to brainstorm a solution to a behavioral issue outside of class
- Require a parent/guardian to be present during live sessions in the event of repeat behavioral violations
- Remove a student from live sessions but allow them to continue in the rest of the course and send recordings
- Remove a student from the class
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. I record live sessions and store them for a period of 12 months. I do not share these recorded sessions publicly or with other learners in the class (any make-up sessions will include a video summary without learner participation to protect learner privacy).
I may share recordings with individuals (such as parents/guardians of involved participants) involved in the discussion of any classroom incident if necessary for a safety issue or a third-party (such as a charter school) as required by their safety protocols.