2 county science educators to be honored Jr. college, public school staffers cited


Two Howard County educators will be honored for outstanding achievement next month by the Maryland Association of Science Teachers.

Lee Summerville, executive supervisor of science for the Howard County Public School System, has been named Supervisor of the Year. Russell Poch, a Howard Community College physical science teacher, was named College Science Professor of the Year.

Both will receive awards during the fall conference of the Maryland Association of Science Teachers, Nov. 6 and 7 in Frederick. They are among five teachers statewide to be honored.

The awards are given for professional development and dedication to the field of education, said awards chairman Michael Spurrier.

Under Ms. Summerville's six-year tenure, Howard County schools formed science evaluation and advisory committees, created a science curriculum for elementary students, established a science resources center at the School of Technology, and updated laboratory equipment.

The percentage of teachers participating in professional workshops jumped from 71% last year to 90% this year in part because of her efforts.

"We keep hammering away at it," she said. To encourage teachers to update their scientific knowledge, the school system pays 20% of course fees and the teacher pays the rest.

Mr. Poch has taught at Howard Community College since 1972, but he is no stranger to the Howard County public schools.

For the past two years, he has presided over the Howard County Science Advisory Committee, made up of 15 teachers, residents and administrators who lobby for improvements in science education.

Last year, the group successfully lobbied for a three-year science graduation requirement. Before, students were required to take only two years of science to graduate. The new requirement goes into effect with the 1993 freshman class.

For the past four years, he also has written grant applications for elementary teachers in Howard, Baltimore, and Montgomery counties, which allows them to attend professional workshops. During the summer, he teaches elementary instructors how to make science more interesting to their students.

"He's an excellent teacher and makes himself available in classrooms from the elementary level to the high school level," Mr. Spurrier said.

Mr. Poch urges teachers to let students discover answers on their own. "That was what made science boring -- the teacher already had the answer and the student responded," he said.

Such ready-made answers discourage bright students from pursuing science careers, he said.

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