Education

Franklin Elementary’s Monica Davis Takes Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award

Charleston (March 6, 2003) – Monica Borkowski Davis recognizes the rewards of teaching go both ways. “Each day provides opportunities to improve myself and to have a positive influence on children’s lives,” she says. “I will admit that not every day seems as successful as I wish, but I know every day is filled with numerous opportunities to experience a positive moment.”

Davis knows about such moments. She is one of only 10 West Virginia teachers to receive a 2003 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal president and chief executive officer, made the announcement, accompanied by West Virginia Governor Bob Wise; Secretary of Education and Arts Kay Goodwin; Deputy State Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Paine, and WVEA President Tom Lange, at a presentation ceremony at the state capitol.

“This year’s ‘class’ of recipients is proof that West Virginia is blessed with many excellent teachers,” says Leer. “We truly believe excellent teachers are the cornerstone of our society and economic vitality. These recipients have experience, expertise and a passion for learning, and they pass it on to their students every day.”

Davis teaches fourth-grade students at Parkersburg’s Franklin Elementary Center. “I believe the most important thing I do for my students is reiterating that we all have strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes,” she notes. “I try to show the students that we are alike in some ways and different in other ways … that it is acceptable to recognize their own strengths and to work on improving their weaknesses. Ultimately, by accepting themselves, the children learn to accept other people.

“My philosophy of teaching is that while all children can learn, not all children feel they can learn,” she adds. “Many children have become reluctant learners, because they have had few, if any, successes in the academic setting. No one sets himself up for failure. Many students have created a situation for themselves where they believe, ‘If I don’t try; I can’t fail.’ I believe we in education have to help children realize they must try if they are to succeed, while still letting them know unsuccessful attempts do happen to all of us in life.”

Davis earned her bachelor’s degree at West Virginia’s Glenville State College and a master’s degree at West Virginia University, Morgantown. She continues her education through workshops and elective graduate classes. Davis was active in two grant-writing projects that netted $20,000 awards for summer school at Franklin Elementary, and she received eight grants for use in her classroom. Davis also serves her community through extracurricular, school-related activities.

In addition to recognition, recipients receive a $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive glass trophy and a framed certificate. The West Virginia Foundation for the Improvement of Education is making a $1,000 award to each recipient’s school for use with at-risk students. The Arch Coal teacher recognition program features public nomination and peer selection.

Arch Coal is supported by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Education Association and Speedway in program promotion. Arch Coal’s Teacher Achievement Awards is one of the longest running, privately sponsored teacher recognition programs 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.