Monday, July 21, 2014

Nine Rogers Public Schools Honored with Reward Funds

Nine Rogers Public Schools Honored with Reward Funds
through the Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program

By Brad Phillips
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce

The Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with Arkansas State Representative Dan Douglas and Arkansas Learns, the private sector alliance for excellence
in public education, recognized nine high performing schools in Rogers June 10.
For the 2013-2014 school year, a total of 206 public schools in Arkansas were recognized through the Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program.  The program recognizes the top 20 percent of schools based on academic achievement, academic growth and graduation rates.  Schools in the top 20 percent received $45.35 per student this year; schools in the top 10 percent received $90.70 per student.

Honor Ceremonies Held June 10
A total of $406,388.40 was rewarded to the nine Rogers schools for outstanding performance.  The Chamber, Representative Dan Douglas and Arkansas Learns presented checks to Principals of the Reward Schools in honor ceremonies on June 10 (see photograph with caption).  Recipients of the Top 10% Reward Schools are Bellview Elementary, Eastside Elementary, Reagan Elementary, Tucker Elementary, Elmwood Middle School and Kirksey Middle School.  Also honored as Top 20% Reward Schools are Lowell Elementary, Northside Elementary and Benton County School of the Arts. "I am so proud of our schools and their high achievement being recognized, " said Dr. Janie Darr, Superintendent of the Rogers Public Schools.  "We're encouraged by the Arkansas School Recognition and Reward Program, and look forward to many of our schools being rewarded in the future."

Funds Helping Schools with Student Achievement
Schools receiving recognition and reward funds established a committee to determine the best use of the funds.  The committee included the principal, a teacher elected by the faculty, and a parent representative selected by the local Parent Teacher Association or other parental involvement group.  The schools may use the funds for faculty and staff bonuses, educational equipment and materials, or personnel to assist with improving or maintaining student performance.  "The funds are a great benefit to the schools.  The committees worked hard at assessing the needs of the schools and selected items that would really help with student achievement, like technology," said Dr. Darr.

Originally passed as part of the 2004's Act 35, school rewards had never been funded until
this year.  Act 1429 of 2013 revised the program, and Act 703 of 2013 appropriated funding.
A total of $7 million from the governor's allocation of the General Improvement Fund was designated for the program this school year.  Arkansas Learns championed annual funding in both the 89th General Assembly and the recent Fiscal Session.  The Legislature supported Beebe's recommendation to fund the program with $7 million from the General Revenue in school year 2014-15.  For more information about the program visit  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Chamber Alliance Program Offers Insurance Benefits to Members

Chamber Alliance Program (CAP) Offers Chamber Members Exclusive Access to Small Business Insurance Benefits Package
By Brad Phillips
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce 

The Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce has joined with other state chambers of commerce
to provide its members in good standing access to an exclusive insurance benefits package for small businesses -- the Chamber Alliance Program (CAP).  The program includes health insurance, group term life and AD&D provided by QualChoice, voluntary life and disability by Unum Provident, and dental coverage by Delta Dental. CAP enables Chamber members to enjoy insurance benefits previously too costly for them to purchase on their own.  The insurance benefits package is approved by the Arkansas Department of Insurance and managed by a Board of Directors that includes employer representatives who are members of chambers of commerce statewide.  

CAP | Employer Benefits
CAP is available statewide only through participating chambers of commerce and allows coverage for all employees.  In addition to being able to provide employees with a more affordable insurance benefits package, employers also protect themselves by minimizing future rate increases.  Based upon the company's size (number of employees), employers get choices on coverage plans offered.  Employers with two to nine employees get a choice of two plans; 10-49 employees a choice of three plans; and 50-199 employees a choice of four plans.  In addition to health, group term life and AD&D insurance, other product offerings include voluntary life, long term care, group dental, short term/long term disability and lump sum cancer.

CAP | Employee Benefits
Through CAP, employees have access to better health plan options (statewide provider network) and potential premium savings, a better network of hospitals and physicians, and better customer service.  The program provides employees a choice of benefits plan designs depending upon the number of employees that are employed by their employer.  Preventive healthcare, dental and vision as well as well-child care are covered in full.  A prescription drug program and maternity coverage are also provided and Health Savings Accounts are available.

Learn More & Get A Quote
CAP offers employers exclusive packages at significant savings through Chamber members who are local insurance agents and have gone through extensive training qualifying them to offer CAP plans.  Learn more and get a quote by either visiting (business directory of local member CAP insurance agents) or  CAP includes a health plan by QualChoice, which serves all of the hospitals in Northwest Arkansas including Mercy Health Northwest Arkansas and Northwest Health System.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Final Link of Razorback Regional Greenway Breaks Ground in Lowell

By Brad Phillips
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce

 Officials from Lowell and throughout Northwest Arkansas gathered in May to break ground on a new section of the Razorback Regional Greenway to go under construction soon. The section will run 2.6 miles through Lowell and a trailhead built just south of St. Anthony’s On the Creek in Lowell.  The construction contract for that section of the trail and the trailhead is six months, meaning work will be completed before end of year. It’s the last section of the greenway to go under contract.

36 Miles of Greenway Linking Northwest Arkansas Trails
The Razorback Regional Greenway is the spine of Northwest Arkansas' growing trails system. The greenway will cover 36 miles, stretching from Lake Bella Vista in a northern area of Bentonville to south Fayetteville. The trail links together dozens of popular community destinations including six downtown areas, three major hospitals, 23 schools, the University of Arkansas, corporate headquarters of Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. and Tyson Foods, Inc. with arts and entertainment venues, shopping areas, historic sites, parks, playgrounds and residential communities.

Healthier, More Active Lifestyles
 “The greenway continues to transform communities in Northwest Arkansas, and I’m excited to see the trail progress in Lowell. This section is a crucial link in the regional trail,” said Misty Murphy, Regional Trails Coordinator for the Northwest Arkansas Council. “The greenway offers opportunities for transportation, recreation, and new adventures for Northwest Arkansas residents. "It has been adopted by our community just at lightning speed," she says. "You see so many groups from kids all the way up to retirees, that are riding and walking and biking around Northwest Arkansas. It's becoming a way of life for people to have healthier, more active lifestyles."
John McLarty, Assistant Director of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, told those gathered at May's ceremony that the trail will be within a half mile of about 75,000 Northwest Arkansas residents’ homes. Another 80,000 people in Benton and Washington counties will work less than a half mile from the trail.  Several cities along the route have already completed or are planning to build spurs and access points to key locations.