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 ArkansasLearns.org.  



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 RogersLowell.com/CAP-Insurance-Agents (business directory of local member CAP insurance agents) or ArkansasCAP.org.  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.




Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mobile Internet Expected to Surpass Desktop Internet Usage in 2014

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



Chamber's New Mobile Web App
Helps Community Stay Connected to Members
More and more web users are finding what they need while on the go with their mobile devices.
It's a busy world and being able to search for local businesses, stay connected to news and events
and even access exclusive discounts through your mobile device is more important than ever.  This
is true for both business and leisure mobile users.  Today, 50 percent of mobile web users now use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online. Further, one half of all local searches are now performed on mobile devices. Eighty percent of consumers plan to conduct mobile commerce in the next 12 months. 

 “In today’s tech-focused world, we realized a mobile web app that is smartly designed for visitors and residents of our community to easily access our members’ businesses is the best way for us to connect the community with technology” Brad Phillips, Vice President of Marketing Communications, said.

 “Our new mobile web app offers better aesthetics and user interface, and will deliver tremendous value to not only our members, but also the community as a whole. We see this mobile web app becoming a popular destination for mobile Internet users seeking information about the Rogers-Lowell area.”

 Chamber's Mobile Usage Growing
The Chamber's mobile web app usage has grown from 6,000 total page views in the first quarter of 2013 to just over 16,000 in that same period for 2014, an increase of 166 percent year-to-year.  The new mobile web app is expected to increase page views by offering quick and easy navigation to Directory Search, Events, News, eCoupons, Dining, Lodging and About Us via graphic icons.  “We’re very excited,” Phillips, said. “Our new mobile web app will put our members and our community on more and more mobile devices.  This means no matter where people are, or what they’re doing – they will have access to valuable information about Rogers and Lowell, and our members. Through this technology, mobile web visitors can find our member businesses, get detailed maps and driving directions, read company profiles, view pictures, and contact them – in one convenient location."

The newly improved Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce mobile web app is free to users, and available on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry platforms. To access it, visit RogersLowell.com, click on the pop-up screen that prompts you to "Install this Web App on your Phone," then follow the prompt to add to your smartphone or other mobile device.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

NWA Emerging Leaders Roll Out Mastermind Groups



By: Whitney Yoder
Vice-President of Development
Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce
 

NWA Emerging Leaders is committed to personal and professional development for emerging talent in our region.  That is evidenced by a new program rolling out in April; Legacy Mastermind Groups.  Mastermind Groups bring a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability, and support in a group setting to sharpen business and personal skills.  In short, belonging to a mastermind group helps you and your fellow group members grow and achieve success.  

Here are some of the great benefits that come with participating in a Mastermind Group:
  1. You’ll be part of an exclusive community, a small, tightly knit group of like-minded peers all working toward similar objectives;
  2. Advisement.  You’ll lose that feeling of being alone as a business person as the other members of the group turn into your informal advisory board;
  3. Collaboration.  You may find someone in the group who is a perfect fit for a project you’re working on.  How great would it be to find that missing person you’ve been seeking?;
  4. Extend your network.  People do business with people they know, like, and trust, and these mastermind groups are great ways to build your network by making new, trusted friends;
  5. New learning.  Even if you’ve been in your field for years and years, and are an industry expert, you’ll still learn new things from the experiences and perspectives of your new friends;
  6. Cross-promotion.  Your business will benefit as you and your group members find ways to work together and cross promote each other’s services to your respective client, customer, and vendor groups;
  7. Think bigger.  One of the greatest benefits of mastermind groups, brainstorming on a regular basis with a group of driven, intelligent people is going to make you a bigger person.  You will think bigger, take on bigger challenges, and grow into a bigger person
Mastermind groups encourage you to challenge yourself and others to set and accomplish important goals, but to be successful members have to be willing to commit, listen, and give their best to each participant.

These aren’t classes; they’re not networking groups; and they’re not coaching.  They’re simply you and a group of highly committed peers engaging to make each other better.  

In the business world, author Napoleon Hill, who wrote the famous book “Think and Grow Rich”, says mastermind groups are the basis for every great fortune, and that great power can be accumulated through no other principle.

Not everyone who joins a mastermind group wants to become rich or powerful, but Hill’s comment points to the power of what can happen when a group of committed individuals focus their energy on helping each other grow.

Groups are forming now, so to make sure you have the opportunity to get your own personal advisory board.  Currently over 100 people have signed up to participate in a group.  The program kicks-off with a luncheon on April 23, 2014.  For more information or to sign-up contact Whitney Yoder at 479-619-3197.