Education

Salina Elementary’s Dahlsrud Receives Arch Achievement Award

Richfield, Utah (April 15, 2011) – It came as a rude awakening when young Bonny Dahlsrud learned many of her friends hated school. “They saw my beloved day of learning as torture to be endured – I couldn’t believe it,” recalls the 26-year teaching veteran. “Not only did some of them not enjoy reading, they struggled at it. They did not want to ‘play school’ after a long day of the real thing.

“I was both shocked and annoyed,” adds Dahlsrud. “I think it was then, about 40 years ago, that I decided I would someday be an elementary teacher and transfer my love of learning to my students.”

Today Dahlsrud reaped a reward for her dedication to teaching excellence. She became one of 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.

“Bonny Dahlsrud refers to a quote by John Lubbock in defining her teaching philosophy: ‘The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught as that every child should be given the wish to learn,’” says Lang. “Her goal is to awaken children to an understanding of how lessons have meaning in their lives.”

A Salina resident, Dahlsrud teaches first-grade students at Salina Elementary. “My strengths in teaching stem from my enthusiasm in my job. I try to make the lessons fun,” she notes. “I have to compete with the outside influences that affect our students. Television programs, Nintendo and DS games, movies and iPods all entertain children in a lively, interactive way, so my lessons have to be lively and interactive as well to keep the attention of young students.

“If I am to awaken children, I must be energized and vitalized to do it,” says Dahlsrud. “My teaching moments are not ‘song and dance’ routines, but they clearly have to have a factor of enjoyment involved. And yes, on occasion, I have used song and dance. One of my principals commented that it was like a ‘three-ring circus, only better’ in my room some days,” she adds. “What young student doesn’t like a circus?”

Dahlsrud earned an associate degree at Snow College, Ephraim, a bachelor’s degree at Utah State, and a master’s degree and reading endorsement at Southern Utah University, Cedar City. She has earned more than 650 hours of additional professional development through a range of workshops and classes, including several creative writing classes at Utah State University and Utah’s four-week writer’s workshop for teachers. She is a three-time recipient of the Utah Original Writing Competition Award, and she’s had more than a dozen articles, poems and short stories published. She and five of her students have won Farm Bureau essay contests on the county and state levels. Dahlsrud also has been named Teacher of the Year by her legislative district and is a past Arch Coal Golden Apple Achiever recipient. She further serves her community through church, civic, and extracurricular education-related volunteer initiatives.

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.