Rivermont Collegiate: Elevating Education with a Boutique Experience

Rivermont Collegiate
Rivermont Collegiate

Gone are the days when a school’s job was to deliver timely lectures and provide grade sheets to its students. Today, as the world becomes more and more global as each day passes, educational institutions need to cater plethora of facilities to foster roundabout development in their pupils. Commitment to academic excellence, diversity, and character development, all of these factors count for a school to make it a top choice among families seeking a well-rounded education for their children.

One such school with an innovative approach to learning, state-of-the-art facilities, and a nurturing community, setting it apart from other educational institutions and making it an ideal place for students to thrive and reach their full potential is Rivermont Collegiate.

Rivermont Collegiate is a premier independent school in Bettendorf, Iowa, that provides a top-tier education for preschool to twelfth-grade students. The school has been serving the community for over 138 years and is renowned for as an ideal place for students who seek a versatile education.

One of Rivermont Collegiate’s standout features is its student body diversity. The school has consistently been recognized as one of the most diverse private high schools in America, this is a testament to the college’s welcoming environment that fosters an inclusive atmosphere. The school’s staff and faculty are dedicated to making all students feel valued and respected, regardless of race, religion, or background. This dedication has enabled students worldwide to come together to learn and grow in a supportive and enriching environment.

A Journey Through Time and a Commitment to Excellence

Rivermont Collegiate is a boarding and day school that has been serving its community and families for over 138 years. The school was founded in 1884 as a boarding and day school exclusively for girls. However, in 1968, the school dropped its boarding program and became co-educational. Despite this change, Rivermont Collegiate remained committed to providing students with a top-quality education that would help them succeed academically and beyond.

In 2017, the school decided to return to its roots with the addition of a co-educational boarding program for both domestic and international students. Since then, the school has continued to expand its offerings and provide students with the tools they need to succeed.

Rivermont Collegiate’s mission is to empower academically driven students by cultivating their intellect, character, and creativity.

Three Pillars

Intellect: Given challenge, guidance, and time becomes wisdom.

Character: Demonstrated through a strong sense of personal and social responsibility.

Creativity: Cultivates innovative thinkers who respond inventively to unknown challenges, unhindered by conventional frameworks.

Creativity, combined with Intellect and Character, calls Rivermont Lions to serve others and the world at large. By instilling these values in their students, Rivermont Collegiate aims to create graduates equipped to take on the world and positively impact their communities.

Mr. Roach’s Visionary Leadership

The success of Rivermont Collegiate, a top-tier boarding school in the United States, can be attributed to the visionary leadership of Mr. C. Max     Roach, the school’s Headmaster. With extensive experience in boarding education, having attended and worked in some of America’s best boarding schools, Mr. Roach partnered with the board of trustees, parents, and community partners to launch a boarding program in 2017.

Recognizing that local students could benefit from attending a school with students from all over the world, Mr. Roach worked to welcome students from abroad. By doing so, he knew that local students would be better prepared for success in increasingly global markets. Similarly, he recognized that international students would benefit from attending one of the top-performing schools in the United States at a price point that represented tremendous value for prospective boarding parents.

Since the launch of the boarding program, Rivermont Collegiate has become a global village, serving local students and those from around the world. The school’s boarding students come from China, Congo, DRC, France, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Turkey, Thailand, Ukraine, Vietnam, and the United States, among others.

Rivermont Collegiate has made a significant contribution to uplifting education in the United States by providing a unique academic and cultural experience for its students. The school’s boarding students become part of the community, enjoying local food, shopping in stores, and exploring the surrounding areas. Through these experiences, they gain a better understanding of the world and take these experiences home with them. Thanks to the vision and leadership of Mr. Roach, Rivermont Collegiate continues to be a leader in the boarding school industry, providing a world-class education to students from all corners of the globe.

Overcoming Challenges and Fostering Community

Rivermont Collegiate has faced a significant challenge with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting travel disruptions. The school responded by leveraging its strong sense of community and prioritizing the highest safety protocols to ensure it remained open for face-to-face learning without a single on-campus transmission until the Omicron variant. Through strict masking and other safety measures, Rivermont Collegiate became recognized as a leader in handling the pandemic in terms of safety protocols, keeping classes open for those who could attend, and minimizing learning loss.

Apart from academics, the school has arranged a variety of extracurricular activities for students to engage in over the weekends. These activities include off-campus options like hiking, camping, skiing, trips to shopping malls, and more. Additionally, there are cultural and community service opportunities, such as musical performances and local service projects, as well as on-campus activities like sports games, movie nights, and music programs.

Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, today, Rivermont Collegiate continues to provide a well-rounded experience for its boarding students, encouraging them to take advantage of all the extracurricular opportunities available. The students’ bond with their classmates and relieve stress by having fun in a safe, welcoming environment.

Premier School Leveraging Global Exposure

Rivermont Collegiate is a pre-eminent boarding school in the United States dedicated to providing students with a premier STEAM education. Their commitment to excellence in education is demonstrated through the completion of a new 30,000-square-foot, three-story STEAM building in 2019, which includes state-of-the-art labs, classrooms, a maker space, dorms, and faculty apartments. As a result of their exceptional programs, Rivermont Collegiate is ranked among the top 8 percent of Best High Schools for STEM in America and the #1 Best High School for STEM in Iowa.

In addition to offering an outstanding education, Rivermont Collegiate provides unique programs that allow students to gain global exposure. One such program is College Counseling, which is structured and thorough. The program guides students through the complicated college application process, including exploring college/university choices, applying for scholarships, engaging in challenging summer programs, choosing recommenders, and meeting all deadlines for regular and special programs. Even after college acceptance, Rivermont graduation, and throughout life as alumni, advising and counseling continue.

Rivermont Collegiate also supports international students through its International Student Support program. As an approved Student Visitor and Exchange Program school, Rivermont Collegiate’s College Counselor and Director of Admissions are certified by the Department of Homeland Security to initiate and produce Form I-20 through the SEVIS Student and Exchange and Visitor Information System. The program guides international students and their parents through the special college application procedures for international students. The school also provides sheltered instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs), integrating language and content instruction.

The Upper School (Grades 9-12) at Rivermont Collegiate provides a rigorous, integrated college prep curriculum in a supportive environment. The school focuses on preparing students with critical thinking, problem-solving, and writing skills necessary for success in college and the global job market. The Upper School curriculum provides an increasing degree of choice and challenge as students’ progress. A broad knowledge base in English, history, science, math, world language, and the arts is combined with a wide variety of honors, independent study, and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Advisors work closely with students to help develop their academic plans and choose courses that best suit their strengths and goals.

At Rivermont Collegiate, the diversity of the Rivermont Experience, both in and out of the classroom, develops each student into a well-rounded adult. Students are encouraged to stretch themselves, explore new ideas, and take risks in academics, athletics, and arts. Rivermont is a community where all members think – and act – outside the box.

In 2022-2023, Rivermont Collegiate received the following rankings on Niche.com, a trusted online aggregator of school information from across the US:


  • Top 3% Most Diverse Private High Schools in America
  • Top 8% Best College Prep Private High Schools in America
  • Top 8% Best High Schools for STEM in America

In Iowa:

  • #1 Best High School for STEM
  • #1 Most Diverse Private High School
  • #1 Best College Prep Private High School

Expert Advice

Mr. Roach shared two pieces of advice for students and parents seeking education. Firstly, he emphasized the importance of finding the ‘best fit’ school for their child rather than choosing a school solely based on its reputation.

The second piece of advice was to be cautious of some international education consultants who use predatory practices. Mr. Roach warned that these consultants might spread misinformation about US college prep programs, standardized testing, and university applications. They may also make false promises, such as guaranteeing test scores and acceptance to specific universities. He advised families to be wary of consultants who offer additional support services, such as assistance in applying to colleges and universities and writing college letters, as these services are often unnecessary and unhelpful. Students and parents should make informed decisions and find the best education opportunities by being aware of these practices.

Expanding Horizons

Rivermont Collegiate’s vision for the future of its boarding school is promising. According to Mr. Roach, they plan on adding another 20 rooms, which will increase the maximum capacity of the boarding program to 60 students. With a total enrollment of around 270, the school is determined to maintain its position as a boutique and world-class boarding school that offers competitive outcomes comparable to the most expensive boarding schools in the United States but at a much lower cost.

Rivermont Collegiate’s goal is to continue providing exceptional educational experiences and opportunities for its students. With state-of-the-art facilities, experienced faculty, and a commitment to academic excellence, the school is poised to meet the needs of students who want to pursue their academic goals in a supportive and challenging environment.

The boarding program’s expansion is also an exciting development for the school as it opens up more opportunities for students who want to experience living on campus. The increased capacity will allow the school to welcome more students from different parts of the country and around the world, fostering a more diverse and inclusive community.

Overall, Rivermont Collegiate’s future is bright, and the school is committed to maintaining its reputation as a world-class institution that prepares students for success in college and beyond.


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