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Burton Glen Charter Academy Honored with Founder's Award at Leadership Summit

National Heritage Academies (NHA) held its 20th Annual Eagle Awards on July 21 during Leadership Summit. The top honor, the Founder’s Award, was given to Burton Glen Charter Academy.
Founder J.C. Huizenga believes every child should have the opportunity to receive a great education, and schools should be held accountable to produce results. This led Mr. Huizenga to open his first NHA school in 1995, and his belief continues to drive the mission forward today.
The Founder’s Award goes to the school that creates a school culture which embodies Moral Focus by embedding each virtue in what they say and do in their interactions with parents, students, and staff. NHA staff believe kindness, and strong hearts, and minds can impact the world in significant ways.
A few reasons why Burton Glen was chosen include:

Staff, students, and parents at Burton Glen choose to make Moral Focus more than what they do, but what they are. It is infused in all parts of the school day and beyond with daily lessons, referencing Moral Focus to redirect behavior, and by making intentional connections in all areas.

Courage classroom dispaly

They also set a measurable goal to utilize the virtues to decrease behavior infractions and increase instruction time. Students can visit the Moral Focus Boulevard, a stretch of hallway that highlights the nine monthly Moral Focus virtues. These displays are created by teachers and students. It includes a Moral Focus award winners display.

The school developed two unique programs to support students. 
  • Students created a snack program two days a week providing fresh fruits and vegetables. Students planned the organization and distribution of these snacks.
  • A “Future Men Success Prep” program was created to instill the importance of Moral Focus in life. Fifty boys in fourth through eighth grade participated in this 8-week program. Teacher feedback was outstanding regarding the participants’ turnaround and intrinsic motivation.
Principal Aaron P. Williams

Lastly, knowing that a strong home-school connection is essential for student success, this team developed a program called “Power Engage” which trained teachers on strategies and school-wide initiatives to engage families throughout the pandemic.  

“I’m overwhelmed with excitement and gratitude about winning this prestigious award! All stakeholders at Burton Glen hold Moral Focus virtues to the highest level of importance,” said Aaron P. Williams, Jr., principal at Burton Glen. “We understand the long-term benefits related to our students internalizing each virtue. We have worked extremely hard to intentionally shift Moral Focus from ‘what we do’ to ‘who we are’.”
Besides Burton Glen Charter Academy, the four other schools named as the top finalists for the award are: Fortis Academy, Queen’s Grant Community Schools, Regent Park Scholars Charter Academy, and Triumph Academy.
The Eagle Awards, held during the Leadership Summit, had principals and deans in attendance virtually. Several other awards were announced involving parent satisfaction, employee engagement, student attendance, safety, and student enrollment. Three new awards were presented this year called, Taking Flight, which went to the top 5% of schools with the greatest improvement in employee engagement, student attendance, and student enrollment.
Congratulations to Burton Glen Charter Academy for being honored with the Founder’s Award, and to all the honorees of Eagle awards!

staff selfie

About Burton Glen Charter Academy
Burton Glen Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Burton, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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