Nieuwkoop spoke of how second grader Salvatore Lomonaco, inspired by the positive messages he heard at a Lion Heart assembly, came up with an idea. He wanted to spell out “you belong here” using cups so that kids are reminded during recess that they are part of the Cross Creek family.
“What I love about those two stories is it’s not just learning about Moral Focus, it’s doing Moral Focus,” Nieuwkoop said.
State Rep. Angela Rigas, a mother of two Cross Creek students, presented the 2023 National Blue Ribbon award on behalf of State Rep. Aric Nesbitt. National Heritage Academies (NHA) Founder J.C. Huizenga and NHA Interim CEO Jason Pater also were in attendance to celebrate Cross Creek’s achievement and thank teachers and parents for all that they have done to support the school’s success.
“This honor will confirm to others what we already know – that Cross Creek is one of the best elementary schools in the state,” Pater said.
Cross Creek is one of 11 elementary schools in Michigan to receive this distinction in 2023 out of 353 nationwide, and it was identified as an Exemplary High Performing School, which means it is among the state's highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally recognized tests. Cross Creek, which has outperformed the local district for 13 years, is one of five National Heritage Academies (NHA) schools to be named as a National Blue Ribbon School, along with Greensboro Academy this year and Achieve Charter Academy, Canton Charter Academy, and Eagle Crest Charter Academy in the past.
Congratulations, Cross Creek!
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Cross Creek Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Byron Center, Michigan, serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes 101 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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