Currently Teaching: 9th Grade Honors Biology and AP Environmental Science at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas
EcoRise Teacher Since: 2016
Eco-Audit Grant Recipient: Dina is an inspiration to teachers and students alike at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (SAS) where she enlivens the classroom experience with her creative, hands-on approach to education. Not only is she teaching two project-based learning (PBL) courses this year, but she’s also the campus Sustainability Coordinator. Dina is also working with three other SAS teachers to expand EcoRise programming, while also using it as a framework for sustainability education schoolwide.
In 2016-17, Dina’s students were awarded close to $2,000 in grant funding for nine different solutions to sustainability challenges, including a carpooling app, LED light installations, campus composting bins, low-flow faucets, and an Earth Day education day for 5th graders. Her energy and initiative attract plenty of attention. In 2017, St. Andrew’s, part of the National Association of Independent Schools, was named an Austin Green Business Leader by the City of Austin.
Advice to EcoRise Teachers: “Start small and take your time. I jumped in with both feet…and while it was an exhilarating experience, there was a TON to do and lots to keep track of. If I could do [the Eco-Audits] again, I would focus on one or two areas to audit, maybe one different area per section of class.”
Her Favorite EcoRise Lessons: “I love everything about Design Studio. I actually have several favorite lessons: the Insight-Storming, Ideatoon, Success-Storming, and the Elevator Pitch. These were the most successful in working with freshmen and incorporating all of the different skills beyond basic science. Insight-Storming helped the students to build empathy, which started really great conversations between students and administrators. Ideation was a wonderful opportunity for our artists to share their skill of translating words into visual representations in our class. Success-Storming was a fun and creative way to imagine success of student projects. And the Elevator Pitch was important as students considered the essentials of their ideas and learned how to succinctly convey the most important elements.”