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Arch Coal Foundation Makes 28 Innovative Teaching Grants to Delta County, Colorado, Teachers
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SOMERSET, Colo. (Oct. 29, 2009) – This school year 32 Delta County teachers will initiate 28 innovative teaching projects funded by the Arch Coal Foundation.

The grants, totaling $10,000, were announced today by Don Vickers, general manager of Mountain Coal Company’s West Elk mine in Somerset. Key components of the grants program are that the teachers must demonstrate innovation in their ideas and that the program must be replicable.

“This program enables our county’s skilled, professional classroom teachers to obtain grants that will fund innovative teaching methods or projects in their classrooms and schools,” said Vickers. “The judges were very pleased with both the scope and imagination shown in many of the more than 60 grant requests received this year.

“We expect some of these innovative, teacher-developed programs to begin within a few weeks in some schools,” he added. “As the program matures, we hope to share some of the best ideas – those tested, successful and easily replicable – throughout the county and beyond.”

The 2009 recipients, their schools and grants are:

  • Krissey Allen, Paonia High School. Innovative Mixed Media MLA Instruction. The idea will test the use of flash drives, provided to each student, as a learning resource. The drives will contain school presentations, notes, writing examples and other materials that students can easily access for assistance in their studies.
  • Maureen Ayers, Hotchkiss K-8 School. Experiential Life Skills Instruction. The program is designed to provide special-education students with hands-on, real life experiences, including planning, cooking, sewing and gardening. Ayers will be assisted by Terrea Bear, a paraprofessional specialist in life skills.
  • Annalee Couch, Delta Middle School. Document Camera. This is one of three projects at the school that will benefit from the purchase of a document camera. The camera will enable this teacher to provide more one-on-one time with art students and allow for more effective group demonstrations of art techniques.
  • Kelly Cowan, Hotchkiss High School. A Look at Colorado Authors. The program seeks to encourage reading and an appreciation of the authors and subjects of Colorado.
  • Kyle Crowder, Hotchkiss High School. Hydroponics. Students will be exposed to hydroponics – the growing of plants without soil.
  • Evan Cummings, Delta Middle School. Document Camera for 8th Grade Science. This is one of three projects at the school that will benefit from the purchase of a document camera. With the camera, students will be able to get close-up views of rock and mineral specimens, 3D maps and the like. It would help increase student learning by adding to current technological capabilities in the classroom.
  • Connie Davidson and Deann Olivas, Delta Middle School. Personal Student Vocabulary Notebooks Project. This grant will fund the purchase of 75 Thesauri and small notebooks for student use. The materials will help students develop a “word bank” that extends their vocabularies. Davidson and Olivas will be joined by colleagues Becky Thatcher and Jackie Jones on the project.
  • Dan Dunham, Delta Middle School. Delta's First Biannual Cart Derby. Middle school students learn about the laws of motion and physics by designing and building “cars” or “carts.”
  • Anita Evans, Hotchkiss K-8. Technology and Math. This grant will make possible the purchase of 30 scientific calculators for sixth- through eighth- grade students. The grant will determine if learning how to use the resource of a scientific calculator will help students in day-to-day mathematics studies, and whether it will increase students’ competitiveness in math competitions. 
  • Kathleen Gates, Hotchkiss K-8 School. Shared Science Teaching Tubs.  This program demonstrates innovation by providing an easy means for sharing science materials among science teachers at Hotchkiss, Paonia and Crawford schools. The goal is for students to have greater opportunities to experience science and laboratory activities with more science materials available to students.
  • Brandy Girard, Delta Middle School. Reading and Writing in REAL Time. The grant will test use of an LCD projector to increase large-group reading and writing. This grant will be shared with Scott Groenke at Delta Middle School.
  • Scott Groenke, Delta Middle School. Using an LCD Projector to Demonstrate Mathematics on the Web. The grant will provide funds to purchase and install an LCD projector in the classroom, which will be used to demonstrate mathematics problems, activities and games on the Internet. The projector will be shared with Brandy Giraud at Delta Middle School.
  • Matthew Hall. Hotchkiss High School. Los Hermanitos (Little Brothers/Sisters). The program will bring together high school Spanish students with elementary school students who are learning to speak English. The goal is that both will become more proficient in the two languages.
  • Joey Hancock, Lincoln Elementary. Touch My World. This program will explore the potential of using IPOD Touch with special-education students to determine potential. Additionally, all students will better develop fine motor skills.
  • Michael Jensen, Paonia Junior-Senior High School. Team Engineering. The program will explore teaching team problem-solving in an engineering experience in which teams of students solve problems by constructing miniature cars and/or gliders.
  • Kelly Johnson, Delta High School. Students Teaching Students. With a mini camcorder, students will produce videos for class projects and post them on a class Web site, where students, parents and the community can view them. The camcorder also can be used to tape and post instruction for viewing outside of class.
  • Karla Nolte, Hotchkiss K-8 School. Books to Inspire. The goal is to expose students to inspirational books – special books that children will never forget – so that they will become more creative, more appreciative of excellence in literature and better writers.
  • Hydeemaria Parker, Delta Middle School. Tiles to Boxes. This grant provides funds for purchasing tiles for use in Algebra. When connected in three-dimensional fashion, the tiles will provide concrete examples of Algebraic equations.
  • Rhonda Pinckard, Hotchkiss K-8. Summer Book Sets.  This project’s funding has been continued to determine if books provided to students to take home during the summer reduce loss of reading skills.
  • Kena Price, Delta Middle School. Technologically Enhanced Writing Process Makes Better Writers of Students. This is one of three projects at the school that will benefit from the purchase of a document camera. For this project, students will be able to share their writing assignments with classmates and receive immediate feedback. Additionally, the equipment should provide an opportunity to work through the writing process in a cooperative way.
  • Amy Quezada and paraprofessional Rebecca Moon, Delta Middle School. Language Growth Through Reading. The project will use Spanish language novels and other written materials as tools to increase English reading proficiency and to maintain cultural self-awareness.
  • Daniel Renfrow, Delta Middle School. The Making Reading Matter Initiative. This grant will purchase new, diverse literature that will challenge advanced students to read, despite other distractions. 
  • Janet Rogers, Crawford K-8 School. Hero Club Cards. This program seeks to enhance an existing program at the school that rewards students for 20 days of practice reading at home. The rewards will be “hero cards” that show the name and picture of a famous person, with pertinent facts about the person on the opposite side. The program is designed to increase reading and exposure to some of the people who have made a difference in our world.
  • Jodi Simpson, Paonia Elementary. A World of Wonder. The program will spur hands-on discoveries using a variety of materials that support first-grade curriculum standards, but go beyond the textbook.
  • Donald Spor, Crawford K-8 School. Weather Forecasting. The grant will be used to purchase a weather station to be mounted on the school’s roof. A wireless monitor inside will be used by students to forecast the weather and to announce it through the intercom to the school – increasing both science and public-speaking skills.
  • Becky Thatcher and Connie Davidson, Delta Middle School. Everyone’s an Author. This project’s goal is to increase sixth-grade students’ writing abilities. Students will write and illustrate their own fairy tales and then share them with preschoolers.
  • Ruth Thompson, Lincoln Elementary School. Books Come to Life. The goal of this project is to improve reading proficiency through repeated and monitored oral reading. The program will also employ puppets, which students will use to put on shows after reading and practicing a script.
  • Renee Traczyk and Becky Thatcher, Delta Middle School. Play Back That Book Again! This grant will help determine if students with severe reading disabilities can improve their skills through incorporation of concepts of a program called Playback Theater.

Arch Coal’s Mountain Coal Company and its West Elk mine are located in Somerset, Colo. Approximately 350 people are employed at West Elk. Arch Coal, Inc. is the nation’s second largest coal producer. The company’s core business is providing U.S. power generators with cleaner-burning, low-sulfur coal for electric generation. Through its national network of mines, Arch supplies the fuel for approximately 8 percent of the electricity generated in the United States. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACI) and maintains its corporate headquarters in St. Louis.