Pea Ridge

ForwARd’s Work In Pea Pidge


Pea Ridge, a city of approximate 5,400 residents is located in Benton County, Arkansas. A wonderful place to live, work and grow—it has maintained a small-town feel. Northwest Arkansas is one of the fastest growing areas in the United States, and Pea Ridge is in the heart of it.

Pea Ridge School District serves 1,967 students in grades Pre-K through 12 with a student-teacher ratio of 16-to-1.

Pea Ridge Schools focus on college and career readiness for the Northwest Arkansas economy, and how education can be personalized for each student. Pea Ridge High School is a college and career readiness institution that blends technology, innovation, education and professional preparation in safe, student-centered environment that emphasizes the development of soft skills, quality teaching and student learning.

Community metrics

  • 48%

    Third Grade Literacy

    Based on the ACT Aspire Achievement Score (2016-2017)

  • 35%

    Eighth Grade Math

    Based on the ACT Aspire Achievement Score (2016-2017)

  • 96%

    High School Graduation

    Based on the School Report Card

  • 40%

    College Enrollment

    Based on LEA Information

Our Work

Pea Ridge School District is innovative, providing an “Uncommon Education for All.” A focus on personalized and customized learning has permitted an increasing emphasis on how the individual strengths and needs of individual students can best be addressed for every student to make significant academic gains. Students graduate from the Pea Ridge with the knowledge and skills for college and career success.

Robust Pre-K learning experiences launch students on an interactive and engaged K-12 education. By spiraling the curriculum, students are assured of continuity in learning with no gaps in the educational process. The goal is for all students to achieve at grade level and beyond. The Reading by 9 program serves as both an intervention, when needed, and assurance that students will meet grade level expectations in reading to support future academic growth. Students are provided additional interventions if they begin to fall behind academically.

Bright Futures, a signature program for Pea Ridge students, gives a hand up, rather than a hand out, to address the unmet needs of students and their families. Each recipient then contributes by volunteerism and community service. Students learn the benefits of both assisting those in need and the responsibility of giving back.

Career education in Pea Ridge begins in elementary school and grows in depth as the students mature. The innovative and highly respected Pea Ridge Manufacturing and Business Academy is continually expanding to address the ever-changing business climate in NWA and to provide relevant and meaningful educational experiences to the high school students.

The students in Pea Ridge benefit from a shared commitment of community members, business leaders, teachers, administrators and staff who have joined together to ensure students graduate with the skills needed to be successful in careers and as contributing citizens. In 2017, the community responded with a resounding “yes” to a proposed millage increase that will permit the District to build a state-of-the-art high school complex to provide additional career pathways.

Looking ForwARd

The Pea Ridge Schools and the community have worked collaboratively to have one of the best school districts in the state, and that goal is reflected in the five-year plan. The District has created a pathway to assist students become the most productive young people in the state of Arkansas, and then share that path with other districts in the state. The plan includes personalized learning through blended learning, virtual environments and traditional classroom instruction.

Pea Ridge Schools continues to be innovative and act “outside the box” to give students the greatest chance to succeed in today’s workforce. Pea Ridge School Superintendent, Rick Neal, ForwARd Arkansas, and stakeholders have helped establish a Five Year Strategic Plan for the District. In this plan we develop “an uncommon education for all,” by establishing core values, developing a political voice to influence policy makers, collaborating with business leaders across Northwest Arkansas, incorporating more individualized learning plans, and creating a comprehensive map to help students flourish, academically, socially, physically and in the arts.

This strategic plan was set in motion after several community meetings including business leaders and political figures from the Northwest Arkansas area. Employability is a critical outcome for the students in Pea Ridge. Planning, implementing, supporting and monitoring new high wage, high skill career workforce readiness pathways are currently being developed in concert with engaged business partners. Students will gain academic and life skills through internships and working with mentors and be ready for the next phase of their lives, equipped with the necessary tools and connections to pursue continued education or develop a career upon graduation. It is an “Uncommon Education for All!”