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Editorials

Hickman Mills: Educating For A Lifetime of Success?

Hickman Mills is the only one of the 28 districts in the Kansas City metropolitan area placing a metal detector log sheet and police report on the agenda of every board of education meeting.

That same board chose to honor students at only six of their monthly meetings last year.

Earlier this month, Missouri’s State Board of Education decided to downgrade Hickman Mills’ status from “accredited” to “provisional.” Now their primary job — in addition to educating students — is regaining full accreditation. And the best way to regain that status is to educate the students.

The problem is, how to motivate students to excel while focusing on the negative? Most students don’t attend school board meetings unless they’re receiving some sort of honor, but kids are smart — even if they don’t do well on state standardized testing. You can bet the attitude of a system focusing on everything young people do wrong (smuggling in contraband, getting into fights and who knows what else) filters down to the students. And they will rise … or in this case, lower … themselves to meet those expectations.

Hickman Mills faces a stiff challenge in regaining full accreditation. In this year’s Annual Performance Report, they scored only 7 out of 14 points. Last year they scored 9, the bare minimum to remain accredited. And this year, the State Board of Education is raising the bar even higher with a new, more challenging set of accreditation standards.

It may seem a small step toward regaining full accreditation, but the Hickman Mills School Board’s attitude toward and expectations of students sets the tone for the entire district.

This newly provisionally accredited district’s motto is “Educating for a Lifetime of Success.”

In order to live up to that motto, they might start by honoring students during their Board of Education meetings rather than dwelling on the negative. Dropping the every-meeting inclusion of those metal detector log sheets and police reports might be a good place to start.

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About jwmartinez

JoLynne is a journalist and educator. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Park University and is certified to teach high school journalism and English. Former employment includes work for Cable News Network and the University of Missouri-Kansas City in addition to freelancing for clients such as the Kansas City Star and The Pitch.

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