Teacher of the Year is a force for change

May 12, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County's teacher of the year was a driving force behind one of the biggest changes of the year -- the four-period day at North Carroll High School.

The school board yesterday nominated Peter R. Litchka, social studies teacher and department chairman at North Carroll, to represent the county in the Maryland Teacher of the Year program. The winner of the state contest goes on to the national competition.

"I don't think I can remember a morning when I got up and said, 'Geez, I don't want to go to work today,' " Mr. Litchka, 42, said at the board meeting yesterday when his nomination was announced.

"I'm very proud to teach in Carroll County," he said, thanking Edwin Davis for hiring him in the summer of 1978. At the time, Mr. Davis was principal at North Carroll. He now is director of pupil services.

In response to Mr. Litchka's thanks, Mr. Davis said any principal would have hired such "quality applicants" as the Litchkas.

Mr. Litchka and his wife, Isabella, applied for teaching jobs in Carroll County from Canastota, N.Y., 16 years ago because they wanted to move farther south.

Ms. Litchka teaches at Spring Garden Elementary School and was one of the nominees this year for the Outstanding Teacher Awards by the county Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Litchka came to North Carroll as a social studies teacher and became department chairman by 1982.

He was among the biggest proponents of North Carroll changing this year to a schedule of four, 90-minute periods a day instead of seven, 45-minute classes, with each course lasting a semester instead of a year.

He was among teachers and principals from the county who visited several schools in Maryland, Colorado and Virginia to interview faculty members and students about the change. He led the committee that studied and executed the plan at North Carroll High.

The change allows students to take more classes by the time they graduate and allows time for more creative teaching, proponents say.

"Everything that everyone told us has come true," Mr. Litchka said of the change. "The parents, the kids have been supportive. I think the rewarding thing is, not only have we changed some fundamental thing, but it has been a joint effort by everybody."

The Litchkas live in Hampstead and have two children, Annie, 12, and Joey, 10.

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