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Hickman Mills superintendent optimistic about path toward full accreditation

District lost accreditation in 2012
Hickman Mills logo.jpg
Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-12 18:49:02-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hickman Mills C-1 School District is hoping to join the Kansas City Public School District in getting full accreditation restored.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or DESE, approved full accreditation for KCPS on Tuesday.

“We were really excited that KCPS was accredited because it meant there’s a pathway for us," Yaw Obeng, the superintendent at Hickman Mills, said.

“That was good to see that they acknowledge some of the barriers and challenges that we have can be overcome and so we’re looking forward to laying that groundwork and working with the Department of Education," Obeng said.

The superintendent said his district has seen an increase in students classified as English Language Learners. He said that means it takes more time for those students to learn.

Obeng added that his school district faces other challenges some districts in the state may not face.

“We have a 30% mobility rate. So, we have a number of students that are transitioning, whether they are homeless or things like that, and that’s hard to keep the continuity of learning with those students," Obeng said.

Despite the challenges, Obeng said the district is making progress.

“If you look at our graduation rates, we’ve been up there in the 80s and even low 90s in the last several years and we’ve had a good trajectory in terms of moving forward," Obeng said.

Hickman Mills is currently listed as "provisionally accredited." The district lost full accreditation status in 2012.

“It is demoralizing for our staff and students when you keep hearing provisionally accredited and you’re working on things, but you have to stay the course," Obeng said.

According to a spokesperson for DESE, the course for Hickman Mills to get back to full accreditation would include the state board reviewing a "comprehensive system review process that is similar to a process that was used with the Kansas City Missouri School District."

The board would also review the district's performance data and trends to determine if the district has shown improvement.

Provisionally accredited and accredited have different distinctions, according to DESE.

“Provisionally Accredited” schools are those that have not met as many of the Missouri School Improvement Program Standards and Indicators, the evaluation guidelines DESE uses, as the districts classified as “Accredited,” but that have shown improvement over time in at least a majority of those measures.

Districts that are classified as “accredited” are those that have met most of the MSIP's standards and are consistently improving or remain at a high level over an extended period of time.

The superintendent said he plans to talk with state school officials later this month.