Maize School District
    Connections - Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - July 2015

In This Issue

Important dates 

We look forward to seeing your student on Aug. 12, the first day of school.

A few other dates to mark on your calendar are:
  • Sept. 7: No school, Labor Day
  • Sept. 18: No school, Professional Development Day
  • Sept. 30: Parent-teacher conferences, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Please click here to access the new 2015-16 district calendar, which the Maize Board of Education approved in June.  


KMUW, Wichita Public Radio features Complete High School Maize  

KMUW, Wichita Public Radio 89.1 FM, on Monday aired a feature story about our Complete High School Maize alternative high school.


Complete is one of three schools this year to be named a Kansas State School of Character and has received the prestigious honor of winning a National School of Character award from the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization


Please click here to listen to the KMUW feature story, which includes interviews with Principal Dr. Kristy Custer (pictured above), as well as other educators and students. 

Summer Staff Academy fine-tunes curriculum 

Assistant Superintendent of Pre-K through 5 Curriculum Dr. Karen Duling, pictured above, facilitated four days of Summer Staff Academy for elementary teachers across the district earlier this summer.

Each day, the group focused on a curricular area (English Language Arts, Social Studies and Science), and teachers worked in grade-level teams to write or revise curriculum maps. These curriculum blueprints, which teachers will receive in August, will guide them to know what to teach when, giving our students consistent lessons in classrooms throughout the district.

Assistant Superintendent of 6 through 12 Curriculum Dr. Shelia Rathbun conducted a similar process for middle and high school curriculum this summer, as well.   

Current job openings

Interested in joining our Maize Schools team? Many openings are part-time jobs with full-time benefits, including:

  • Group health insurance
  • Summers off
  • Winter break off
  • Spring break off
  • No evenings or weekends

School bus drivers start at $11.15 an hour, plus attendance incentives. Please call the Maize USD 266 Transportation Office at 316-722-0582 for more information.


Please click here to apply for any of our openings.


Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative No. 618 also has openings. Please click here to learn more about them or call 316-794-8641.

Maize Education Foundation planning

Oct. 12 golf tournament

Foundation Logo

Golfers and supporters of Maize Schools, please join the Maize Education Foundation on Oct. 12 for its 7th annual charitable golf tournament.


This fall's tournament will be at Reflection Ridge Golf Course. The event is a major fundraiser for the Foundation, which benefits Maize USD 266. Last September, about 75 golfers participated in the event, which raised nearly $29,000 for education, technology and enrichment grants for Maize students, teachers and schools.


Those interested in sponsoring and/or volunteering for the event can email Director of Communications Lori O'Toole Buselt at


Please watch for additional details about the event in a future issue of this Connections e-newsletter.

black-soccer-ball.jpg Summer camp central

We've rounded up information on Maize USD 266- and partner-sponsored summer camps, and parents can find details by clicking here to visit our Online Bulletin Board.


In addition to summer camp information, please visit our Online Bulletin Board for information about other school- and partner-sponsored events, including classes and fundraisers.

Have you liked Maize Schools on Facebook?

In August, Maize USD 266 launched our first official district Facebook account.

Please click here to like our page and to find district news, announcements, event information, photos and more.

Thank you for your support!

Program provides free summer meals
for children

The Summer Food Service Program, operated by the Food and Nutrition Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides free breakfasts and lunches to children 18 years old and younger. Please click here for more information.  

Partner organization hosting summer concert

ArtsAMaize, a partner of Maize Schools, is an organization dedicated to showcasing the arts in underserved spaces, including retail stores, parking lots and places through the Maize area.


The final concert in the organization's free summer concert series is at 7:30 p.m. July 2 in NewMarket Square. 


The concert is open to all ages. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair. Please click here to learn more.

 Fill the Bus school supply drive scheduled for Aug. 7

The third annual Fill the Bus school supply drive event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Chick-fil-A at 21st Street and Maize Road.


Donors will receive a coupon for a free sandwich, and one participating school will win a free catered meal.


At last year's event, Maize Schools collected more than 450 items, including crayons, paint, pencils, markers, glue, erasers, pens, highlighters, rulers and more!


Thank you in advance for your donation!

Superintendent's Message

Ready to hit the ground running 


What is best for our students?

I have shared with my district administrative team that this is a question they often will hear me ask, as it will be a question that will guide my decision-making as the new superintendent of schools here at Maize USD 266.

Today is my first day on the job, and I wanted one of my first official tasks to be reaching out to you to introduce myself. I am a lifelong Kansan and a career educator who values integrity and is solution-oriented. You may have heard this in district communications or media coverage already, but taking the helm at Maize Schools truly is a personal and professional dream-come-true for me.

Before coming to Maize, I worked as the Moundridge Superintendent of Schools since 2009. I previously worked in Douglass as a principal and assistant principal/activities director and in Great Bend as a high school and middle school science teacher. I earned degrees from Emporia State and Fort Hays State universities and my District Level Licensure from Friends University. I am working to complete my Doctorate in Education from Wichita State University.  


My wife, Drenda, is an elementary school teacher in Valley Center, and we have two college-aged children, 21-year-old Taylor and 19-year-old Garrett.  


Maize Way Logo Maize is a phenomenal district with incredible potential. There are countless positive developments in the works, including the $70.7 million bond issue (please read an update about that below), nationally recognized Maize Way character education and an award-winning team of teachers. Our schools are poised for exceptional teaching and learning. We have educators attending exciting training opportunities this summer. And after several years of transition, all of our elementary schools will house kindergarten through 5th grades this year, with Maize Elementary School and Vermillion Elementary School adding 5th-grade classes.


It is an honor to become part of the district professionally and of the community personally, and with both come responsibility that I do not take lightly. I value collaboration and cohesion and want to continue to learn about the history and legacy that has made Maize Schools and the community surrounding it what it is today.

I have begun my work becoming acclimated to the district and community. I have attended meetings, gone on tours and/or met the leaders with the Maize Education Foundation, the city of Maize, the Maize Recreation Commission and the Maize Area Chamber of Commerce. I look forward to similar opportunities to meet our partners, leaders and supporters.

I want to ensure that Maize -- and its students and employees -- have great success. I aim to be fiscally responsible by striving for an efficient and strong education, not a cheap one, guided primarily by one question: What is best for our students? It will not always be an easy question to answer, but I look forward to the opportunity to seek an answer nonetheless.

Free children's story time: I will continue to be out in the community in the coming weeks and months, and I look forward to meeting many more Maize Schools parents and patrons. Please plan to join me at 10:30 a.m. July 14 at MOXI Junction, 319 S. Park in Maize. I will be a guest reader at the coffee shop/art gallery's weekly children's story time. Following the event, please visit our Summer Bookmobile, which will be parked out front as part of its July route to encourage summer reading. (You can read more about the roving library-on-a-school-bus below.)

Thank you again for your warm welcome as I join the talented team here at Maize Schools. I am eager to get started in this great district.



Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools

Bond 2015 update 

Maize Schools to receive 39 percent bond state aid for 2015-16 school year 


With voters' approval June 9 of Maize USD 266's $70.7 million bond issue, the district was able to lock in state equalization aid under the formula that had existed prior to July 1. The timing was critical for the district, as it is anticipated that Kansas public school bonds passed in the future will receive lower levels of state aid contribution.

The great news for Maize Schools is that, for 2015-16, the state aid level will be 39 percent, up one percent from the 38 percent that was available in 2014-15 in accordance to Kansas law.

The percentage of state aid is determined each year and is based on the district's property valuation per student enrollment of Maize USD 266 as compared with all other school districts statewide. The increase simply means that Maize Schools student enrollment did not increase proportionately with the district's assessed valuation as compared with other Kansas districts. Ultimately, this means that Maize Schools will receive a slightly higher state aid percentage to help pay bond principal and interest. A new grid is established each year to determine bond state aid for the coming fiscal year.   
On June 15, members of the Maize Board of Education met to approve bond-related resolutions and agreements and to authorize the sale of the bonds. (Please click here to view those agreements via our Board Docs portal.)


Voters' approval last month will bring these projects to Maize Schools to provide a safe and promising future for all of our students:

  • tornado safe rooms and a Career and Professional Center at Maize High School.

  • a new Early Childhood Center.

  • a renovated and expanded Maize Middle School.

  • additions and improvements at Maize South High School, including a new fine arts storage addition and an expanded gym and cafeteria.

  • a new transportation facility.

  • roof replacements at various buildings.

  • technology and infrastructure improvements at various buildings.

  • athletic upgrades, including new locker rooms, stadium upgrades, all-weather playing surfaces, bleachers, lighting and equipment.

You can learn more about the bond vision by visiting our bond resource page at

Maize Board of Education update 


District Chromebook initiative continues to maximize technology budget  


During its June 8 meeting, members of the Maize Board of Education approved the purchase of 1,300 Chromebooks for $265,390.99. Chromebooks are thin computers that rely heavily on internet connection and take minimal time to load, allowing more valuable classroom time for instruction.

The devices are less expensive than laptops and provide the educational support students need. Last year, the district
purchased 1,100 Chromebooks to upgrade aging district devices.

The ongoing Chromebook initiative is a cost-saving plan, as each device is half the cost of a new laptop. Purchasing these has allowed Maize Schools to buy twice as many new computers, getting new technology into the hands of more students and teachers.

Maize, Vermillion elementary schools add band along with fifth-grade classes

The school board on June 8 also approved $30,511.15 for 5th-grade band instruments, music stands and cabinets. As the district grows all elementary schools to kindergarten-to-5th-grade centers, this will allow Maize Elementary and Vermillion Elementary schools to offer its students 5th-grade band, which is the case at the district's three other elementary schools, Maize South Elementary School, Maize Central Elementary School and Pray-Woodman Elementary School.

Board members are next scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. July 13 at the Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize.

Parents as Teachers summer playdates 


Four generations of our Maize Schools community enjoyed playtime, a snack and a story during our Maize Early Childhood Center's Parents As Teachers summer playdate on June 24 at Buffalo Park in Wichita. Thanks to all who participated!


The next and final playdate in this summer's series, open to those living in the Maize School District who have children ages birth to 5, will be at 10 a.m. today (July 1) at Sedgwick County Park's Boundless Playground, 6501 W. 21st St. North. See you then, parents, for educational fun with your child! The event is free.


Earlier this summer, families gathered for playdates at parks throughout the Wichita area, including those in Maize, Eastborough and Valley Center. 


Please click here to learn more about the Maize Early Childhood Center, including Parents as Teachers. 

2015-16 student enrollment under way  


Maize Schools is in the midst of enrollment for the upcoming school year. If you haven't already, please complete the Phase 1 -- Transportation portion of enrollment by Monday, July 6. Parents can complete this portion of enrollment online via a secured website. According to state requirements, all parents must provide this information regardless of whether your student will be riding the bus.

On July 8, you will receive a letter with instructions on how to complete the 2015-16 enrollment process. You can pay enrollment fees online using a credit card or by mailing in a check. Families who qualify for free and reduced lunches and complete the Waiver of Confidentiality form will have fees waived, if approved.

On July 1, the free-and-reduced lunch application will be available online. If you think you may qualify, please print, complete and mail in your application. Do not submit your payment until your application has been processed.

If you do not have Internet access, you may access a computer at the Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize, between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays between July 8 and July 17.

Have an enrollment-related question? Please email, and a district representative will contact you.

We look forward to learning with your child during this upcoming school year!
Administrative changes for 2015-16   


In addition to welcoming Chad Higgins, our new superintendent of schools, Maize USD 266 is proud to share this list of administrative changes for the upcoming school year. (Administrators are pictured from left, first row to second row, as listed below.)



Check out the Summer Bookmobile in July


Ready to read? The Maize USD 266 Summer Bookmobile is ready to roll!

Thanks to the generosity of the Maize Education Foundation, the roving library-on-a-bus has a month of stops scheduled at areas around Maize and Northwest Wichita to promote summer reading.

All are welcome, and participation is free. Check out three books at a time (for pre-K to adult readers) and simply return them on the last day.

Every Tuesday in July:
  • 9 to 9:30 a.m.: Target, 2727 N. Maize Road
  • 9:45 to 10:15 a.m.: Tammy Hall & Audrey Winget Daycare, 1936 N. Socora St.
  • 10:30 to 11 a.m.: Sedgwick County Park Boundless Playground, 6501 W. 21st St. North
  • 11:15 to 11:45 a.m.: MOXI Junction, 319 S. Park
    in Maize

Every Wednesday in July: 

  • 9 to 9:30 a.m.: Fun Factory at Pray-Woodman Elementary School, 605 W. Academy Ave. in Maize
  • 9:45 to 10:15 a.m.: Walmart, 21st & Maize
  • 10:30 to 11 a.m.: Warren Theatre, 21st & Tyler
  • 11:15 to 11:45 a.m.: Maize South Middle School, 3403 N. Tyler Road
Maize grad wins athlete of the year 


Congratulations to 2015 Maize High School graduate Keiryn Swenson, who was named the Lynette Woodard High School Female Athlete of the Year during the recent 18th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet.

According to the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, the annual event recognizes achievements and dedication of local high school athletes, among others.
Maize USD 266 Mission Statement  The mission of the Maize School District is to inspire students to discover their potential through connecting, learning and leading.