Grandview Elementary’s Vicky Robb Named 2002 Arch Coal Teacher Award Recipient

Scott Depot (April 30) – When Vicky Robb’s children began to babble and speak, she would listen, captivated, for hours. “I not only recorded their speech at various stages, but also saved all of their written work, from scribbles through cursive writing,” she notes. “Fascinated by the acquisition of oral language and its transition into reading and writing, I decided to return to graduate school and earn my master’s degree as a reading specialist.”

The success of her endeavor speaks for itself. Robb now teaches reading to kindergarten, first- and second-grade students at Grandview Elementary, Charleston. Today she became one of only 10 West Virginia teachers to receive a 2002 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award.

Arch Coal President and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Leer presented the award, accompanied by Gov. Bob Wise, Secretary of Education and Arts Kay Goodwin, State Schools Superintendent David Stewart, and West Virginia Education Association President Tom Lange, at an awards ceremony at Scott Teays Elementary School in Scott Depot.

“Each year, we are thrilled with the exceptional level of talent we see in West Virginia teachers,” says Leer. “The careful selection process – by a blue-ribbon panel of peer judges – makes the award that much more distinguished. I’m glad Arch can have a small part in recognizing the many teachers in West Virginia who bring the magic of learning into our children’s classrooms every day.”

“Vicky always strives to explore every avenue to help overcome children’s difficulties, be they educational, physical, social or emotional,” notes Grandview Principal Karen Simon. “She is a tireless worker for human potential, and her success rate is no less than amazing!”

“A recent project she disseminated to students at Grandview is a WV Public Broadcasting Television program, entitled ‘Between the Lions,’ for ages 4-7,” notes Robb’s supervisor, Dianna L. Wood. “This creative program uses animated puppet characters to teach beginning reading skills. Mrs. Robb has trained more than 200 teachers and parents from her school and across the state on how to use the WVBP program to assist children with reading.”

“When I work with children, I want them to have fun and become engaged in the activity,” says Robb, who has taught for 12 years. “Children need to operate from a point of comfort in order to learn.

“Recent brain research has documented the fact that for long-term memory to be activated, thus learning to occur, the learner must be emotionally engaged. When the learner feels pressure, the brain goes into the ‘fight or flight’ mode, which is not conducive to learning. Therefore, when I work with students, I create relaxed, multi-sensory events. Thus powerful memories are created and supported with reinforcement, then learned skills are easier to recall,” she adds.

“By learning to read, my students have been empowered. They can explore great literature, learn foreign languages and follow the paths upon which their hearts and minds lead them.”

Robb earned her bachelor’s degree at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio; and a master’s degree at the West Virginia Graduate College, Charleston, W.Va.

In addition to recognition, each award recipient receives a $2,500, unrestricted cash prize and a distinctive glass trophy. The Arch Coal teacher recognition program features public nomination and peer selection.

Arch Coal has support from the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Education Association, and Speedway in promoting the program. Arch Coal’s teacher awards program is one of the longest running in the state.

Arch Coal is the nation’s second largest coal producer and a supplier of clean-burning, low-sulfur coal exclusively. Approximately 2,000 people are employed at Arch’s operations in West Virginia. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis.