Robert Foor-Hogue, a South Carroll High School science teacher, is one of seven semifinalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year.
Foor-Hogue has been one of the pioneers statewide in infusing science classes with real-world applications. He and his science research students have developed tank systems that can be used to raise fish in the classroom. Students design research projects around the fish and their habitat.
South Carroll is among the first high schools to use aquaculture as a way to teach science, rather than only as a form of agriculture.
"His school is looked at as a model," said Brad Powers, an assistant secretary with the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
"He's looking at injecting it into the curriculum, which is traditionally not done at other high schools."
Foor-Hogue, 46, hopes to see more schools raise fish for science study.
He and Jim Gilford, a science teacher at Westminster High School, have received a grant through the University of Maryland and the Columbus Center in Baltimore to show other teachers how they can build fish tanks in their science labs next summer.
In the meantime, Foor-Hogue's students will prepare and build a sample tank system that will be the only student-produced display in the Columbus Center's exhibit hall.
Foor-Hogue's classes expanded from their science rooms a few years ago when South Carroll's carpentry instructor left to take another job and the carpentry students were sent to the Carroll County Career and Technology Center.
When Foor-Hogue heard the large wood shop would be vacant, he moved his science classes there, and filled the room with fish tanks and work spaces for students.
He has since moved into the vocational-agricultural shop, where students once fixed tractors and farm equipment.
Now, more than 13 fish tanks, designed and built by students, fill the space.
Students raise several species of fish, including trout from state hatcheries. They are released into streams, including Morgan Run, at the end of the school year. Students write and win grants to pay for their materials.
Selection Oct. 3
The semifinalists for the Teacher of the Year award -- to be announced Oct. 3 -- were chosen by a committee of administrators, teachers, parents and community officials.
The committee rated the nominees' responses to questions about philosophy, community involvement, education issues and ways to improve the teaching profession.
The other semifinalists are:
Rachel Newman-Turner, a math teacher at Baltimore School for the Arts; Priscilla Cox Ward, of Germantown Elementary, Anne Arundel County; James Mason of North Harford High, Harford County.
Also, Tracy Brain, Church Hill Elementary, Queen Anne's County; Janet Greenhawk, Maryland School Performance Assessment Program facilitator at White Marsh Elementary, Talbot County; and Linda Brown, Ocean City Elementary, Worcester County.
Carroll County has had a few semifinalists for the award, but none has been the state winner.
Winner of awards
Foor-Hogue has won several awards, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching for Maryland in 1992 and the county's Environmental Citizens Award in 1992.
He is featured in the September issue of Woman's Day magazine in an article on eight school programs that work. The article highlights a wheelchair-accessible ramp that his students built in wooded wetlands behind the school.
In the 17 years he has been teaching in Carroll, this is his first nomination for the Teacher of the Year award. He taught for six years in Baltimore before coming to Carroll.
Pub Date: 8/13/97