State gives Hickman Mills provisional accreditation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Hickman Mills C-1 School District will now only have provisional accreditation.

The provisional accreditation, which is the only step between being fully accredited and losing accreditation entirely, was given after the district made only seven of 14 state standards.

In previous years, the district achieved nine state standards; eight are required to keep accreditation without question.

The lost standard came from testing at Ruskin High School, the only high school in the district. It failed to meet the standards required for 9th and 11th grade math scores.

The district blames the scores on the gap between when students are taught certain math schools and when they're tested on them.

Officials explained when the 11th graders are tested on algebra at the end of the school year, they have not seen algebra materials since their freshman algebra class. While they admit the problem is not unique to Hickman Mills, they say other districts have better plans in place like tutoring, which is what they are developing for the district.

Leslie Fenton still loves the elementary school where her daughter goes, but she's disappointed by the results.

"It's kind of sad because the children are the ones losing out, here," Fenton said.

Dr. Everlyn Williams, the Hickman Mills Superintendent, is ready to face the problem head-on.

"We are, in fact, at seven. We can't hide," Williams said. "We must face it and say this is what we have to do, and we have to approach it from a positive standpoint and not be ashamed."

The district is facing many challenges. Nearly all of its students -- 86 percent -- qualify for free and reduced lunch. Two hundred students transferred from the unaccredited Kansas City, Missouri School District last year.

After five years of improvement, making nine standards was a peak for the district. They will hold provisional accreditation for three years before the district's accreditation status is re-evaluated.

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