Tongue River High’s Schroder Earns Arch Coal Achievement Award

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (April 29, 2009) – If you ask Rachel Schroder why she loves teaching, she won’t need time to frame a response. “The answer for me is simple – I love my students,” says Schroder. “Teaching for me is not about the subject matter; it’s about the people I teach. Caring about kids is the most important thing we can do for them.”

Students recognize the fact that she cares, and the word is out regarding Schroder’s outstanding teaching abilities as well. Today she was one of only 10 teachers statewide to receive a 2009 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Steven F. Leer, Arch Coal chairman and chief executive officer, made the announcement during a presentation ceremony at the Buffalo Ridge Elementary School. Leer was accompanied by Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, First Lady Nancy Freudenthal, Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jim McBride and Wyoming Education Association (WEA) Vice President Craig Williams.

“Rachel Schroder knows teaching is perhaps one of the hardest jobs in the world,” says Leer. “She recognizes there is always room for improvement. Toward that end, she never stops challenging herself and her students.”

A 15-year veteran educator, Schroder teaches algebra I and II, geometry and trigonometry courses at Tongue River High School, Dayton. “Every year, I try to add something new to my classes, and this year I have successfully incorporated online lessons,” she notes. “I record lessons on my SMART Board,TM and students watch them at home via the Internet or jump drives as their homework assignment. The following day, we do a follow-up activity or practice problems from the lesson in class.

“I have students coming to class telling me they watched my lesson three times,” Schroder adds. “If they don’t catch on to something right away, they can watch it again. My special education students, in particular, have greatly improved since going to this method of teaching, and it’s the perfect solution for absent students. They know they will need to make up some class work, but they don’t miss the lessons. My students are excited about learning,” she says. “I feel as though this form of presenting the lesson has empowered them.”

Schroder earned her bachelor’s degree at South Dakota’s Black Hills State University and is working on a master’s degree at the University of Wyoming. She is the junior-class and prom sponsor and a member of the school’s Building Intervention Team (BIT). Schroder helped implement Freshman Academy, a program for incoming freshmen. She has coached volleyball and basketball, chaperoned overnight field trips, judged Future Farmers of America (FFA) activities and taken students to Washington, D.C., with the Close-Up Program. She has presented at the School Improvement Conference in Cheyenne and worked with community members on committees involving school district standards and the grading scale. Schroder also volunteers for various church-related initiatives.

The award is underwritten by the Arch Coal Foundation. In addition to recognition, award recipients receive a personal, $3,500 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 ninth 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.

The Arch Coal Foundation also is a supporter of teacher recognition or grant programs in West Virginia, Utah and Colorado, as well as a number of other education-related causes.

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 sold 100 million tons of cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal in 2008. Arch Coal is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.

Information about each of the 10 recipients is posted on the Arch Coal Web site:

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