Cherry Valley -, a national advocate and leader for character in schools and communities, certified a Promising Practice at both Cross County Elementary and Cross County High School. The schools are just two of 177 schools and organizations across the globe and the only in Arkansas that have been recognized.

"We are extremely proud to recognize the schools and organizations that have developed and implemented a Promising Practice” said Dr. Arthur Schwartz, President of “Each of these programs and initiatives have demonstrated significant impact and strongly align with the principles that help schools and organizations cultivate a culture of character.”

The elementary school began Creatures of Character in the 2022-2023 school year. Cross County Creatures of Character is a program that establishes core values inspired by native animals in our rural area. The goal is to embed these values into our school culture and have students carry them into their everyday lives.

Elementary Principal Jessica Stacy said that she has seen a remarkable difference in her students since implementing the Creatures of Character.

“This newly acquired knowledge in our school community serves as a launching point for conversations between students, between teacher and student, and among staff,” said Stacy. “Teachers have noted that the students can clearly define our character values, are able to recognize the values in others, and notice the values in books and stories that are read.” 

The high school’s Promising Practice is the C^3 Capstone Class.

According to High School Principal Stephen Prince the C^3 programs and its Capstone class began 13 years ago. 

“Beginning with two teachers, one course and a desire to provide students in a vastly rural community with the options and opportunities they deserve has become the cornerstone of Cross County High School,” said Prince.

The class, built on the four pillars of Civic Life, Truth and Patterns, Sustainability and Ethics, is a college level course where students are tasked with creating a year long portfolio containing artifacts and reflections of their learning. At the end of the year, students must present a defense of their philosophical views based on the course.

“This provides an opportunity for students to see their own growth through reflection of work from the beginning of the year to their culminating panel presentations,” added Prince. will honor each 2023 Promising Practice recipient at its 30th Anniversary National Forum LIVE in Washington D.C. to be held November 6-7, 2023.