Future We Want Updates

  • Future We Want Graphic

  • Future We Want - Update 7

    Posted by HMC-1 PIO on 4/29/2022

    Greetings HMC-1 Community,

    For the last several weeks, you’ve joined me on a journey as I provided specific insight into our progress toward the directives in my entry plan, “The Future We Want.”

    We’ve highlighted student and school successes from all corners of the district, including the many awards won on the elementary, middle, and high school level.

    We’ve previewed phase one of the middle school redesign, which will continue to provide students and families with foundational learning that maximizes academic success and supports the district's progress toward accreditation. 

    We’ve discussed our elevated efforts in the area of retention and recruitment for the 2021-22 year, making the biggest financial investment in teachers and paraprofessionals’ pay.

    We’ve touched base on our community connectedness, and how our partnerships with local organizations, businesses, our staff and families – both big and small – are at the forefront of what makes HMC-1 who we are: a strong foundation for our students that maximizes academic success.

    I shared with you the outcome of the Cognia Accreditation Process scores, which showcased HMC-1’s significant growth, from scoring 257.2 in 2017, to scoring 357.90 in 2022.

    We dove into the district’s early literacy efforts with the implementation of SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words) at all elementary schools, and the significant improvement in almost all students.

    And with all of that great news to share, I’d like to wrap up “The Future We Want” updates for the year. A special thank you to all of our partners, including staff, families, and community organizations and businesses  – these highlights would not have been possible without your efforts. Together, we can continue to build The Future We Want - today!

    Stay tuned for some exciting happenings for the 2022-23 school year, including our Sixth Grade Academy and the expansion of our Real World Learning construction trades program.  

    Wishing all our Muslim staff and students a very happy Eid celebration.

    Yaw Obeng, 
    Superintendent of Schools

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  • Future We Want - Update 6

    Posted by HMC-1 PIO on 4/22/2022

    Greetings HMC-1,

    The Future We Want includes a focus on early literacy development as a top priority for me, as Superintendent. Early literacy development is vital to academic success as it builds a solid foundation for children to develop rich vocabulary, self-expression, and reading comprehension – essential tools to becoming good readers and lifelong learners. 

    The goal is to have students acquire the skills to read to learn rather than learn to read by third grade. 

    One of my first initiatives as Superintendent was establishing the district Student Achievement Task Force. In June of 2021, HMC-1’s Student Achievement Task Force took on the challenge issued by me of determining how to tackle reading deficiencies from students in grades K – 3. Equipping these young students with foundational skills needed to get on grade level, as measured by their assessment scores. 

    We addressed these challenges by hiring Literacy Interventionists for each elementary school, and implementing the SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words), provided by the Center for the Collaborative Classroom. 

    Noticeable improvements is evidenced in our elementary schools reading proficiency data (all schools improved in their achievement):

    • The overall percentage of students scoring at/ above grade level increased from 1.04% in the fall to 30.46% in the winter
    • Moving 36.8% of students that were one grade level below to being on grade level
    • Moving 41.7% of students that were two or more grade levels below to being only one grade level below

    Ultimately, out of 354 elementary students that participated in the implementation of this reading program, 342 students significantly improved in their reading ability. In addition, 290 students gained improvement to reach close to grade level or at or above grade level. 

    With the success of this initiative, HMC-1 will expand and hire additional literacy interventionists for the 2022-23 school year to assist the district in consistently increasing student achievement. Investing in our youngest scholars is a pathway that guides our district closer Towards the “Future We Want.” For more information on reading to learn, click on this brochure.

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  • Future We Want - Update 5

    Posted by HMC-1 PIO on 4/15/2022

    Greetings HMC-1 Community, 

    Accreditation in our district has been a top priority for me, as Superintendent. Our HMC-1 pride runs deep. It’s reflected in our academics, our school spirit, our athletics, our activities, and our events. Another thing to be proud of is being accredited through Cognia and exceeding the average national score. 

    HMC-1 recently received Cognia Accreditation Process scores, which examines the whole institution — the program, the cultural context, and the community of stakeholders — to determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of learners. 

    Through the Cognia accreditation process, highly skilled and trained engagement review teams gathered first-hand evidence and information pertinent to evaluating the district’s performance against the research-based Cognia Performance Standards. Using the standards, Cognia provides the Index of Education Quality (IEQ) as a holistic measure of overall performance. This formative tool for improvement identifies areas of success and areas in need of focus. The IEQ results are reported on a scale of 100 to 400 and provide information about how the institution is performing compared to expected criteria. 

    HMC-1 received an IEQ of 357.90 out of 400. An IEQ of 275 and above indicates the institution is beginning to reach the Impact level and engages in sustainable practices that are ingrained in the culture of the institution. The past five year average IEQ for districts nationally has been between 270.834 - 283.33. 

    Highlights from Cognia’s finding in our district are as follows:

    • District  budgeting, resource allocation, and strategic planning processes are seamlessly aligned with the mission statement, strategic improvement priorities, and continuous improvement practices
    • Shared leadership, professional growth, and collaboration are supported, encouraged, and expected throughout the district
    • Teachers, faculty and staff demonstrated commitment to collaboration
    • Continuous investments in our students and our schools are proven by: 
      • Implementation of 1:1 technology device initiative
      • Real World Learning and Small Learning Communities initiatives that enhanced college and career readiness for all students
      • Student Achievement Task Force implementation to enhance PreK-3rd grade literacy instruction
      • Full-day PreK programming available for all children at no cost to families

    In 2017 HMC-1 scored 275.2. The evaluators noted this significant growth in our IEQ score to 357.90. Amazing! With our recent Cognia score, I am excited about our next steps toward full state accreditation. Our district is certainly within reach.

    Lastly, I want to thank Dr. Carl Skinner, Deputy Superintendent of Academic Services, for leading the Cognia accreditation process and of course the teachers, staff and administrators who assisted.

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  • Future We Want - Update 4

    Posted by HMC-1 PIO on 4/8/2022

    Greetings HMC-1 Community,

    Pride in our historic and enduring Hickman Mills neighborhoods are what bind us together and keep us working together “Towards the Future we Want for all students. Community Connectedness is a critical strategic directive in my Entry Plan. The district’s success is not possible without community support and partnerships, and we are grateful to have boundless, continuous support from our community.

    Some of that backing is through financial support such as local grants. This year HMC-1 received various grants including a $40,000 grant from Health Forward to aid HMC-1’s district-wide Restorative Practices Initiative, as well as a $12,500 from the Baptist-Trinity Lutheran Legacy Foundation to support student health services. 

    Our partners also help ensure students and their families receive the resources they need to be successful in their academics throughout the entire school year. At the start of the school year, employees with Lockton Companies donated more than 1,000 backpacks full of supplies. The Hickman Mills Community Empowerment Center held several “Because We Care” events providing household items, food, toys and more. Urban Community Connections, Home State Health, Arvest Bank, and Brooklyn Kutz Barbershop, help to distribute holiday toys, gifts and daily essentials to more than 2,500 families in the district. 

    We’re grateful for our relationships with Caring for Kids. Their impact on our students and staff is tremendous, including connecting students with mentors. Following a mentor match night, more than 20 mentors were matched with HMC-1 students. Additionally, J.E. Dunn’s Blacks United in Learning and Development (BUILD) recently began a two-month leadership mentoring program, where they work weekly on architectural themes and lessons with second grade students.

    Thanks to our community partners, we have also been able to implement various district programs that serve the whole child by promoting both student achievement and academics, and social emotional health.

    One of those student achievement centered programs include our South KC Early College Academy, a partnership driven program that provides an opportunity for high school students in our district, Center, and Grandview  to “jump start” their college experience during regular school hours at no cost to the student. Their first cohort of 10 seniors will graduate this spring, and have each earned between 26 and 34 college credits from MCC through this program.

    The implementation of Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (BAM) and Working on Womanhood (WOW) at HMC-1 provide trauma-informed group counseling and clinical mentoring programs that seek to change the life trajectories of students in grades 6-12 who have been exposed to cycles of intergenerational poverty, violence, and trauma. 

    The list goes on for the amazing partnerships and tremendous impact they’ve had on our district. Community Connectedness – both big and small – are at the forefront of what makes HMC-1 who we are: a strong foundation for our students that maximizes academic success ‘Towards The Future We Want.’

    Yaw Obeng

    Superintendent of Schools 

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  • Future We Want - Update 3

    Posted by HMC-1 PIO on 4/1/2022

    Greetings HMC-1,

    Retaining and recruiting qualified staff has been and continues to be a priority for me, as Superintendent. Cultivating a positive climate and culture is paramount to getting us closer “Towards the Future We Want”.

    To that end, in the 2021-22 school year, the district made the biggest financial investment in teachers that it has made in the last six years.  Teachers are the backbone of the district. We value their work, commitment, and dedication to students and their education. The Hickman Mills C-1 School District will now have one of the highest maximum salaries in the metropolitan area when considering experience and education.

    It doesn’t end with teachers. Paraprofessionals provide critical support for students in and out of the classroom. They are an integral part of student achievement. These dedicated employees also received a bump in salary for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. Newly hired paraprofessionals also have the opportunity to earn up to a $350 new hire stipend.

    Additionally, the starting salary for Nutrition Services rose to $12.00 per hour, meeting Missouri’s 2023 minimum wage increase ahead of schedule. Throughout the pandemic the Nutrition Services team were true super heroes continuing to make and provide well-balanced meals for families. They reported to work every day in-person, not just providing breakfast, lunch and dinner but also distributing Fresh Harvest Meal kits.

    Our efforts in the area of retention and recruitment are far from over, this year the district received two grants from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The first is the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Grant which will provide the district almost a half million dollars to invest in retaining the best teachers for our students. For the second time, the district received DESE’s Grow Your Own Grant, to begin investing in a program that encourages our own students to pursue a career in teaching.  

    Moving forward, I will continue to work to make advancements in the strategies outlined in the Entry Plan to increase capacity development including salary improvements, leadership stability, improving internal culture, and the development of professional partnerships.

    Yaw Obeng

    Superintendent of Schools 

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  • Future We Want - Update 2

    Posted by HMC-1 PIO on 3/18/2022

    Greetings HMC-1 Community,

    As this week comes to a close and a new one approaches, I wanted to share the next installment of our series on “The Future We Want” outlined in my entry plan.   

    Student Achievement Directive – New HMC-1 Middle Schools and Programs

    On Thursday, January 13, the Hickman Mills C-1 School District Board of Education approved the Superintendent to develop a plan on redesigning the district’s middle school program, resulting in two new schools. With collaboration from HMC-1’s Executive Leadership team, staff, and families, the visioning of the proposed new middle schools is in the works for the 2022-23 school year.  

    Hickman Mills C-1 School District is in a financial position to continue to invest in our students and community in a significant way, beginning with Smith-Hale Middle School. There is a high need for immediate structural change at the current middle school site. As the only middle school in HMC-1, Smith-Hale Middle School enrollment is nearly 1,200 students. Preliminary conversations on the redesign of the district’s middle school program includes two middle school sites that will serve grades 6-8. The district is in the process of defining what facilities will be used as the new middle school sites.

    With the structural change rises an opportunity for programmatic change. Preliminary conversations for the proposed new middle schools consisted of establishing specialty programs that include a fine arts academy, STEM academy, school of business, and school of health sciences. These programs align with our high school program as well as the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Priority Pathways, providing many benefits to students including a smoother transition for middle school students into high school.

    The vision of the middle school redesign is to continue to provide students and families with foundational learning that maximizes academic success and supports the district's progress toward accreditation. 

    Community Connection Directive (Parent Engagement) – HMC-1 Family Summit Event

    On Saturday, March 5, HMC-1 hosted the award-winning annual Family Summit, with more than 70 community organization and partner participants. Families received free health services including wellness services from Swope Health, dental services from Hope Dental, community resources, career and job opportunities, and live entertainment events. Thanks to our partnership with the Local Investment Commission (LINC), more than two dozen prizes were distributed to families in attendance. For more highlights of Family Summit, view this article from LINC.

    With these updates, my goal is to invite you to become more engaged in the district actions and The Future We Want - today!

    Stay in touch with us through the district’s e-newsletter, social media (FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube) and website for all the most current, fantastic things happening. 


    Yaw Obeng
    Superintendent of Schools

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  • Future We Want - Update 1

    Posted by HMC-1 PIO on 3/11/2022

    HMC-1 Community,

    This seemed like good timing for a Superintendent Check-In. In the next several weeks I will provide some specific insight to our great progress toward actions launched in my entry plan directives called “The Future We Want”. 

    First off, I would like to thank you for your continued support in keeping students and staff as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your commitment allowed us to stay in-person this entire school year and lift the district’s mask mandate at the end of February. Having students in-person: improves attendance, engagement between students, teachers and paraprofessionals; and allows parents and guardians to safely gather together again. With better attendance, we have seen considerable gains in iReady math and reading scores. These improvements are critical as we work toward full accreditation and providing the best education for our students.  

    DESE Accreditation

    As we continue holding conversations with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), we feel our district is demonstrating effective evidence in all areas towards accreditation. I will continue to provide updates as those conversations progress.

    HMC-1 Celebrates Success

    HMC-1 students and staff are having a great year. Some highlights to date include:

    • At the 12th annual Prep-KC Math Relay, HMC-1 received the most district points and the Top District Award! Our students won a total of 19 awards.
    • At the First Lego League competition, Ingels won the Motivate Award. Truman’s team advanced to regionals and won the Rising Star Award which recognizes a team that the judges took notice of and expect great things from in the future.
    • Thanks to a growing interest (from 6 to 98 students) in the HMC-1 PLTW Biomedical Sciences Program, students are now working and learning in a brand new lab at Burke Academy.
    • Real World Learning Program
      • 7 Ruskin students have enrolled in the all new SKC Fire Academy, earning dual credit and an Emergency Medical Responder certification.
      • Cerner Pathways to Tech students begin a new program with Goodwill Industries to earn Tech certifications.
      • The new Social Justice Pathway launched at Ruskin High School in partnership with UMKC’s Institute of Urban Education with 18 students!

    Parent/Community Engagement

    We witnessed in our community that it takes a village to ensure the best opportunities for our students. If you are not already, we invite you to get involved with the district and/or your home school. There are flexible opportunities to connect with students through the District’s All-in Mentors Program. Businesses and community groups also have ways to engage with schools through Caring for Kids partnerships, which provides a way to collaborate with school administrators and teachers to help meet the unique needs in individual buildings. Additionally, volunteers are needed throughout the year to assist with district and school events.

    Next month, we are looking forward to the Board of Education election on Tuesday, April 5th, when two seats will be filled. We encourage you to get out and vote as another way to engage with the District. 

    I hope you will stay in touch with us through the District’s e-newsletter, social media (FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube) and website for all the most current, fantastic things happening. Together, we can build the Future We Want - today!


    Yaw Obeng
    Superintendent of Schools

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