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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Charles Alt Named 2019 Outstanding NJ Biology Teacher
Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Charles Alt Named 2019 Outstanding NJ Biology Teacher

Dr. Charles Alt's biology classroom is considered a prize destination by Upper School students thanks to his wit, energy and ability to motivate everybody in the room to embrace biology, a branch of science for which he has unparalleled passion. His recent selection by the National Association of Biology Teachers as the 2019 Outstanding Biology Teacher for New Jersey is a testament to his dynamic teaching at PDS for the past four years of his 14-year teaching career.

PDS Science Department Chair Jason Park notes, "Dr. Alt's greatest strength is the way he uses his rapport with students to make the difficult content in biology accessible... His students absolutely feel engaged and challenged, but also supported and inspired."

Dr. Alt's impact at PDS as a valued member of the science department and STEAM curriculum development team is evident in his biology, anatomy and physiology, and 9th Grade STEAMinar classrooms. With math teacher Will Asch, Dr. Alt co-developed the STEAMinar, a universal course for all PDS freshmen largely designed as a critically important, ungraded introduction to a broad array of projects, skills and concepts related to STEAM fields. Dr. Alt was also a teaching mentor for the past two years as part of the Penn Fellows-PDS partnership, a University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education independent school teaching residency program for grad students. This year he is a PDS coordinator for the Penn Fellows-PDS partnership working with partnership director Renée Price. This year, while stepping down from his role as assistant varsity soccer coach, Dr. Alt has added to his regular teaching duties the key role of faculty advisor for the Research Experience Program (REx). A signature PDS offering in its third year, this application-only, 14-month advanced independent research experience program begins in the fall of 11th Grade as REx students immerse themselves in a particular area of scientific research and extends through the spring and summer as students hone their research questions and in-school lab experiences, apply for and attend summer internships at some of the most cutting-edge labs and universities in the country.

Says Mr. Park, "Dr. Alt is an exceptional mentor to students and faculty who also has a heart for encouraging excellent teaching in others. His selection by the NATB as the 2019 Outstanding Biology Teacher for New Jersey could not be more well deserved."