Education

Blatt Named Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award Recipient

GILLETTE, Wyo. (May 6, 2008) – Cody Middle School teacher Beth Blatt is motivated by the positive impact she can have on a student and the great things she can inspire, including a joy of learning.

Blatt, a sixth grade math teacher, has high expectations of her students. “I believe all students can learn, that every child has a gift – they just open their packages at different times,” says Blatt. “It is my job to equip students with the very best tools possible for unveiling their gifts, as they are ready.”

Today was an unveiling of a different sort for Blatt. She was honored as one of only 10 Wyoming classroom teachers to receive a 2008 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. The awards were made at a ceremony at Campbell County High School, where Arch Coal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Leer, Governor Dave Freudenthal, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jim McBride, and Wyoming Education Association President Kathryn Valido honored the recipients.

“Beth Blatt not only brings enthusiasm for learning to her students, she collaborates with her colleagues so that interdisciplinary concepts – such as language, science and social studies – are a part of her classroom,” says Leer.

“I use golf balls glued together to show students the meaning of odd and even numbers,” says Blatt. “I teach how there are patterns and shapes in numbers and can prove that 10 is a triangular number, I model that square numbers are actually square.”

Teaching fractions to sixth graders who were having trouble with the concept was overcome in a unique way, according to Angie Page, a mother of one of Mrs. Blatt’s students. “Mrs. Blatt used pizzas to demonstrate a different approach to help these students visualize and understand what they otherwise were having difficulty grasping,” said Page. “It was a tremendous success!”

“Children learn in their own unique ways,” explains Blatt. “I assess each child’s learning style and use this knowledge throughout the year so that optimized, individual learning can take place. My job is finding where they are in their own starting blocks, meeting them at their level, and working up from there.”

Blatt, who has been teaching for 12 years, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fresno and is pursuing a Master of Arts degree from the University of Wyoming. She is a member of the National Council of Teaching Mathematics and the Academic Standards for Curriculum Development. She is active in the Cody community, serving as a volunteer soccer coach for five- and six-year-olds at the Paul Stock Recreation Center, as a summer volunteer at the Dawesome Daycare, and as a member of the PTA at Sunset School. Blatt also is serving on her school district’s Long-Term Planning Committee and as Cody High School’s Varsity Girls Soccer coach.

The award is underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation. In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a personal, $2,500 unrestricted cash prize, a distinctive trophy and a classroom plaque. Nominations of the teachers are made by the public, and selection is made by a blue-ribbon panel of the teachers’ peers, all former recipients of the Arch Coal award.

This is the eighth year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been made in Wyoming. The program is supported by the Department of Education, the Wyoming Education Association, Taco John’s, Loaf ‘n Jug, and the Wyoming library community.

Arch Coal is one of the nation’s largest coal producers, and its Thunder Basin Coal Company subsidiary employs more than 1,200 people in Wyoming. Thunder Basin’s Black Thunder and Coal Creek mines sell more than 90 million tons of cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal on an annual basis. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.