NewsLocal News


Hickman Mills C-1 School District will offer Real World Learning Center as it looks to regain accreditation

Center will be offered to students, community
Posted: 8:15 PM, Jun 04, 2024
Updated: 2024-06-04 21:15:07-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Since 2014, the Hickman Mills C-1 School District has fought hard to work towards re-establishing accreditation.

"We are being relentless about where we are going," said Yaw Obeng, the superintendent for the district. "It’s not a question of if; it’s when. We are putting the pieces in place to ensure our kids are going to be successful. We’re going to get there, and once we get there, it just means we got to keep going even further."

A brand new building in south Kansas City, Missouri, is a key step in that accreditation.

"It's not easy to hit a target when the target keeps moving; they’ve changed some of the markers, and it’s very frustrating," Obeng said. “But OK, what do we do? We gather up and keep moving forward. We know we will eventually get there and move forward. We have the data and info to prove we are having success. Physical spaces like this and our program offerings have moved from here to here. The accreditation and certification that our kids are getting have increased. We know we are doing good things for our students.”

The Real World Learning Center is nearing completion, and it’s not only for students but the community.

"It’s almost like new beginnings for the district, but students as well," Obeng said.

Obeng would say this new building is also a symbol of the improvement of the Hickman Mills School District.

"Magic; every time I walk in here, I see the progression," Obeng said.

All Obeng sees is opportunity for the 5,500 students across his district.

The district has been working on the center since December 2022. It’s nearing completion and will be open for the new school year.


Obeng said it’s also for the community too.

The district expects to hold adult community events and learning activities after school hours and on the weekends.

"Consider this a fulfillment of a promise," he said. "The exciting thing about it is the multipurpose use; we can divide this into multipurpose sections. So it’s not just for students; it’s for the entire community, from the little ones to the big people who are looking to develop themselves too."


"If you remember back when you were in school, you’d always ask, 'Am I going to use this in real life?" Obeng said.

Obeng said the center was designed and built with feedback from students.

"We’re going to have all kinds of programs like micro-schools, schools within schools, core programs, and entrepreneurship programs," Obeng said.

The students will experience what industries are like, including biomedical and health sciences, a coffee shop with a business program, and construction trades included with hands-on learning.

"Electrician, welding," Obeng said. "Certification to be technicians; they can work in labs; we have a lot of students who want to go into nursing; they’ll have exposure to that. We have partners through different businesses, and then they’ll get to go out and do apprenticeships."

Students will be credentialed and certified by the time they graduate.

Obeng said that in 2023, 62% of graduates earned a Market Value Asset (MVA) through the Real World Learning experiences.


Hickman Mills families are on board.

“I want to learn math, science, and everything," said Kei’Shaun and Glenn Yates, a Hickman Mills family. “Back in the day, we didn’t have all the things that’s offered now. These days, it's more hands-on. I try to do my work and try to do my best every single day."

When students and community members walk through the building this fall, the name of the game will be "pick and choose."

“We want our kids to have multiple pathways, whether they want to go on to university, apprenticeships, or internships," Obeng said. "We are going to create that right here. In the past, we didn’t have that opportunity; we had to send them out, and they had to find it on their own. Now, we're saying, 'Pick, take your pick; there’s a pathway for everyone.'"

Obeng said there is also room for the space to grow and change the programs offered depending on the needs and the ever-changing technology.

They are looking for people with experience in the construction and business trades who are interested in teaching.

Hickman Mills School District graduated a class of 300 students this year.

Those students earned $2.5 million dollars in scholarships.

Programs offered include:

  • Health sciences
  • Skilled trades
  • Micro school
  • Student run coffee shop
  • A district store
  • Alternative programming
  • Adult learning classes
  • ESOL Classes
  • HMC-1 board office
  • Professional development
  • Space
  • Future opportunities for pre-K programming

To learn more about the programs being offered, visit this link.

It’s not just Hickman Mills that has gone through trying to gain back full accreditation.

In 2022, the Kansas City Public Schools district earned full accreditation.

The district was the first in the country to be stripped of its accreditation in 2000.

Accreditation is important because without it, graduating students may student may encounter roadblocks when applying for some colleges and scholarships.

Back in 2022, KSHB 41 News spoke with an education professor about what it means to be accredited.

"There's a couple of standards that school districts have to meet to be accredited,” said Dr. Evan Rhinesmith, an SLU professor. “That just means that they're compliant with the state's rules and regulations regarding schools around a variety of different topics."

Those topics including student academic performance, graduation rates, financial status, and stability in district leadership.