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Hickman Mills C-1 School District Receives $770,000 Grant from Jackson County Children’s Services Fund

A New Dawn in Student Support: Hickman Mills C-1 School District’s $770,000 Grant for Restorative Practices

In a significant step forward for community-focused education, the Hickman Mills C-1 School District has been awarded a $770,000 grant by the Jackson County Children’s Services Fund (JCCSF). This funding is a beacon of hope for fostering better mental health and social-emotional well-being among students, shifting away from traditional punitive discipline methods to a more inclusive, restorative approach.

Transforming Discipline into Dialogue

Historically, the discipline system in many schools, including those in the Hickman Mills District, has relied heavily on punitive measures such as suspensions and detentions. These methods often do not address the underlying issues leading to behavioral problems and can alienate troubled students from the educational community.

In 2022, Hickman Mills began to revolutionize this outdated model by adopting a “family relational model.” This progressive approach focuses on mending the damage to relationships through collaborative dialogue and restorative actions, rooted in understanding and mutual respect.

Leadership + Comprehensive Program Rollout

The program is spearheaded by Hannah Benzing, the Restorative Practices Lead with a background in Social Work. Her leadership is instrumental in tailoring interventions to meet the diverse needs of the students.

The grant will be strategically used to implement a series of activities and resources aimed at ingraining a restorative mindset throughout the district, including staff training and resources, conflict resolution services and crisis intervention. These initiatives are designed not only to reduce incidents of misbehavior but to foster a sense of belonging and community among all members of the school district.

Extending Beyond School Walls

The programming isn’t confined to school premises but extends into the community. This includes conducting Restorative Conferences in common community spaces, reinforcing the program’s community-centric ethos. Moreover, for students with significant mental health challenges, the district collaborates with local mental health providers to offer on-site therapy at secondary schools, further supported by a separate grant but complementing the restorative practices.

A Brighter Future

By embracing Restorative Practices Paradigm Shift programming, Hickman Mills is setting a new standard for addressing student behavior through empathy, support, and community engagement. This grant represents more than just financial support—it heralds a transformative era for Kansas City families, nurturing a healthier, more inclusive school environment for students. With these efforts, Hickman Mills is not only solving immediate issues but is also equipping students with the resilience and skills needed for lifelong success.

To learn more about the Hickman Mills C-1 School District, click here. And to learn more about Byrne Pelofsky’s grant writing, campaign management and resource development services, click here or give us a call at 816.237.1999 or contact us at

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