WEST MEMPHIS, AR (abc24.com) - Richland Elementary School in West Memphis, Arkansas has a powerful mission statement, “Learning for Life.” Richland has been recognized as one of the highest performing schools in Arkansas.
At Richland Elementary School, the learning starts early. Kindergarteners are learning the basics of what it takes to be a good student.
Principal Gwen Looney says, "I think you have to make learning fun. There’s so many obstacles now, there are so many outside things that kids are involved in. If we don’t make learning fun, they’re not going to be interested."
Richland serves kids in K through 6th grade. Looney says educators here are committed to pushing students to be their best. "They strive to do their best because they know that’s what we expect."
Thanks to the high academic achievement of students here, Richland has been recognized as a Blue Ribbon School - an honor only given to the top 2-percent of schools in the U.S.
"All the teachers, they’re very confident about what we do and they just push us to work harder," says 5th grader Megan Smith.
Richland has also been highlighted as a national higher performing school by the National Center for Educational Achievement. That’s due in part to students like Luke Murrah, President of the Honor Society.
"I know it’s kind of weird because a lot of people say that they don’t like going to school, but I do because I love to learn here, because they make it so fun with these experiments and then they break stuff down so you can remember it easily and I really like that," he said.
Students at Richland also excel in the arts.
"We’re learning to use the skills we’ve learned in note reading to take it and transfer it," says teacher Lisa Adams. "The foundations for that was laid many years ago and Richland has just continued to build on that, that excellence that we always are striving for."
It’s clear that the students and staff at Richland Elementary strive to be the best, and no doubt are a great example of a cool school.