By Saj Sri-Kumar
Upper school science teacher Chris Dartt received the Kogan Family Award for Innovation in Teaching for his work designing a computerized planning calendar for upper school faculty.
The program was the product of four years of work. He initially created a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for himself so that he could manually input his lecture schedule. Over the years, he programmed the spreadsheet to do more and more things automatically.
Dartt estimated that he spent three months working on the program over the course of the four years.
Most recently, Dartt added the ability to export the program to Microsoft Outlook, allowing teachers to read their schedule on their smartphones.
Dartt was initially approached by upper school science department head Larry Axelrod, who asked Dartt if he could use the program. Dartt later distributed it to the entire upper school science department and later the entire upper school faculty.
Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said that since he released it to the faculty, “scores of us have been using [Dartt’s planner].”
The Kogan Award was endowed by Mark and Elizabeth Kogan (Ben ’11, Eli ’13) to foster innovation and acknowledge the most interesting teaching initiatives.
When announcing that Dartt had won at the faculty meeting last week, Huybrechts acknowledged all of Dartt’s technological innovations, saying that he “uses technology in extraordinarily creative ways to enhance classroom teaching.”
Dartt was the first recipient of the cash award since it was endowed.
However, upper school science teacher Karen Huchinson and middle school math teacher Darin Beigie both won the award when it was created last year, before it was endowed by the Kogan family.
Last spring, department chairs submitted nominations for the award to Huybrechts, who selected Dartt. Huybrechts said that she planned on having the Faculty Academic Committee vote on the recipient next year instead of choosing the recipient herself.
Dartt said that he did not find out that he had won until he was presented with the award and that it came as a surprise.