Education

Monroe Elementary’s Larsen Receives Arch Achievement Award

Richfield, Utah (April 15, 2011) – At the age of 12, Ashlee Larsen, sitting at her grandmother’s kitchen table, made the life-changing decision to become an elementary school teacher. “It was at that very table that my grandma, a retired English teacher, taught me to read and to treasure my education,” she notes. “I knew with conscious conviction that I yearned to make a significant impact on the world as a teacher.”

At age 19, while tutoring college students, Larsen realized her impact on solitary students could change the world one lesson at a time. “Deep within my soul, I felt a desire to successfully reach all students,” she says. “I knew that I could lead my students to discover a lifelong love for learning by modeling my own ‘effervescent enthusiasm for learning.’ This unwavering knowledge, which I continue to hold sacred, drives my daily instruction, because I can change the world, one student at a time!”

Larsen appears well on her way to achieving that goal. She entered the teaching field just five years ago and today was among only five Utah teachers to receive a 2011 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Arch Coal Senior Vice President Paul Lang made the announcement at Ashman Elementary School. He was accompanied by Utah Education Association Vice President Tom Nedreberg. This is the fifth year the Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Awards have been made in Utah.

“Ashlee Larsen believes learning best occurs when students, teachers and parents effectively communicate with one another,” says Lang. “Her dream school is one in which teachers can watch other teachers teach, embrace new ideas and apply them to benefit students; a school with a shared vision – the students.”

A Central Valley resident, Larsen teaches fourth-grade students at Monroe Elementary, Monroe. “I ensure my classroom environment is comfortable and inviting. I communicate my high expectations, have set procedures and routines, value students as extraordinary people and give them a sense of purpose,” she notes.

“This student/teacher relationship, in solidarity, is the force behind spectacular teaching, in which teachers thrive and students strive,” Larsen adds. “In order to set the bar high, I exhibit a positive attitude with our classroom motto, courtesy of Roger Miller: All you gotta do is put your mind to it. Knuckle down. Buckle down. Do it! Do it! Do it!” she adds. “Encouragement is key! With a fair atmosphere and ambiance, students listen to, learn from and believe in me.”

Larsen earned an associate degree at Snow College and bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Southern Utah University. She holds a reading endorsement and continues her professional development through memberships in the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the National Council for Teachers of English, the National Association of Professional Women and Alpha Chi, a national college honor society that promotes educational excellence. Larsen has presented at the Utah Rural Schools Conference and has received grants resulting in computer equipment for the school and her classroom. She attended an Integrating Technology in the Classroom workshop by the Utah Education Network, where she learned to create a classroom Web site to organize lessons and communicate with parents. She also helped her principal set up the school-wide spelling program. Larsen is the fourth-grade team leader and a member of the Social Event Committee and the School Community Council. She and her students have participated in the Haitian orphan donation drive, food drives and various clean-up projects. They donate quilts to the local crisis center and create valentines for care-center residents.

The Arch Coal Foundation’s teacher recognition program is available to classroom teachers in Carbon, Emery, Sanpete and Sevier counties. The counties surround the Skyline, Dugout Canyon and Sufco mines operated by Canyon Fuel Company, a subsidiary of major U.S. coal producer Arch Coal, Inc. Each recipient receives a distinctive trophy, a classroom plaque and a $3,500 personal, cash award.

Partners for the program include the Office of the Governor, Utah State Office of Education, Utah Education Association, Utah School Superintendents Association, Carbon County School District, Emery County School District, Sevier County School District, North Sanpete School District, South Sanpete School District, Far West Bank, Market Express, radio stations KMTI, KLGL, KMGR, KSVC, KCYQ, KOAL, KARB, KRPX, and both TacoTime and Bookcliff Sales in Price.

Arch’s Canyon Fuel Company is Utah’s largest coal producer and a large, state employer, with a workforce of more than 800. U.S.-based Arch Coal, Inc. (NYSE:ACI) is one of the world’s largest and most efficient coal producers, with more than 160 million tons of coal sold in 2010. Arch’s national network of mines supplies cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal to customers on four continents, including U.S. and international power producers and steel manufacturers.

Information about each of the five current recipients, as well as past recipients, is posted at archteacherawards.com.