Hickman Mills schools need big improvements
The Kansas City Star
The Hickman Mills School District is in an academic hole now that the State Board of Education has lowered it from full to provisional accreditation. It’s an uncomfortable, disquieting development.
For the sake of the 6,300 students and the south Kansas City community, district officials and the school board must use every means necessary to regain full accreditation.
Hickman Mills in 2011-12 slipped to meeting seven out of a possible 14 standards; it had met nine the previous year. But its problems became noticeable as early as 2009, when the district reached only six standards.
Hard work followed to raise students’ academic performance, and that’s what’s needed once again.
“They need to get unified and attack the problem,” said Tony Stansberry, state area supervisor with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, which promises the district more help.
That’s good. Hickman Mills officials say they will add more resources for reading and math specialists in the district, where 86 percent of the students receive free or reduced lunches. More teachers will be added at the elementary level, with increased monitoring on students’ academic performance. Instead of using an outside firm for tutoring, teachers will do the work.
“They know where the kids need the help,” said John Baccala, the district’s director of media relations.
The Hickman Mills district has three years to get back to full accreditation, and the goal certainly is achievable. But parents, businesses, faith communities and others will have to help. The students also have to know what’s at stake so they can shoulder their share of the load.