Rick Neal


Message from the Superintendent

Dear Pea Ridge Teachers, Friends and Families:

It’s time for the second semester.  Our teachers, administrators and support staff are excited to welcome the students back from the holidays. As you know, due to the weather conditions, school was dismissed for six days in December.  School will reconvene this Thursday January 2, 2014. In my 30 years of education, I always look forward to the second semester. The second semester brings testing, graduations, proms, field trips, outdoor classrooms and several other learning opportunities. Although, the second semester is my favorite time of the school year it is important to look back and reflect on what happened the previous semester. 

Our overarching goal for the year is to insure barriers to student learning are addressed collaboratively in order to increase student achievement, graduation rates, and college/career readiness. With that one significant goal in mind, came the gift from Joplin, Missouri. Bright Futures Pea Ridge was created last July to help the students of Pea Ridge break down those barriers. Pea Ridge School and community have come together to provide resources to students with specific physiological needs. Research has shown, when a child’s needs are met, they will perform better and willing to become an active member in school life. The Bright Futures Initiative has provided the resources for over 100 students in four months. Bright Futures Pea Ridge has accepted the challenge to become a partner in every child’s education and help raise the child who needs that support. Thank you Bright Futures Pea Ridge

Over the last several months, we have changed and improved several areas. These areas includes; Food Service, Technology, School Safety, Athletics and School/ Community Relations. Our food service program has initiated the following two programs to meet the needs of students and parents; Seamless Summer provided meals to all students age 19 and under and provided an online payment system for parents and students.

District 1:1 technology continues to improve with the implementation of Aero hive wireless technology in the High School and the addition of over 400 chrome books district wide.

We implemented a district wide school safety improvement plan by decreasing the entrances for students, school personnel and parents. We alarmed all exit doors. We installed tempered safety glass, magna locks and metal exterior doors for added security.

Finally, in education, the following two words “PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT” would usually send chills up the spine of teacher’s backs. Not in a good way either.  In hopes, of changing the perception of professional development we provided all 60 required hours on campus. We created a Professional Development Center and provided teachers with relevant learning to prepare them for the upcoming Teacher Evaluation System. The change created professional learning communities within every building and created multiple leaders throughout the district. 

Finally, Pea Ridge Schools completed the construction of the new Blackhawk stadium. It is an absolutely incredible facility and we are very proud of it.

Reflection and accomplishment sends meaning to what has happened over the last six months. These accomplishments cannot go without mentioning.  Pea Ridge Middle School is recognized by the Office of Educational Placement as one of the Best Middle Schools in Arkansas and Pea Ridge High School is recognized as one of top 1000 Outstanding High Schools in the nation by Newsweek Magazine. Last week, Pea Ridge Middle School, Primary and Intermediate were awarded over $70,000 from the State Department of Education for outstanding student achievement. Our school and community have accomplished many things over the last several months.  We have several things to look forward to as well.  In the upcoming months the middle school will complete a six classroom addition. The high school will begin the construction of the Performing Arts Auditorium and Visual Arts facility.  Bright Futures Pea Ridge will be sponsoring (lunch buddies, college bound and hosting a Special Olympics field day). With that said, I’m proud to be a Blackhawk.

Rick Neal