Maize School District
    Connections - Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - June 2016 - OneMa1ze
In This Issue

Important dates
  • July: Online enrollment for returning students
  • Aug. 2: One Stop Enrollment for new students
  • Aug. 10: First day of school
  • Sept. 5: No school, Labor Day
  • Sept. 28-29: Parent-teacher conferences
  • Sept. 29-30: No school

(Thank you to Maize Central Elementary School for the student artwork pictured above.)
Legislative session on education funding keeps schools open
Public school districts around Kansas, including Maize USD 266, will remain open in July, thanks to the outcome of a Legislative special session last week in Topeka. 

Lawmakers met to respond to the Kansas Supreme Court, which again ruled the state's school funding bill unconstitutional. The court tasked the Kansas Legislature to provide equitable school funding. 

District leaders continue to work to learn exactly what the legislators' solution means to Maize Schools, and the good news is that the district operating budget will remain at the same level as it was in 2015-16.

For our Maize Virtual Preparatory School, base funding will remain the same, but the program will not receive an expected increase in state funding.

The legislature still will need to address the issue of adequately funding public schools. 

One ongoing challenge for Maize USD 266 is that the state no longer provides additional funding to growing districts. This means that as more students enroll in our schools, the state provides no extra dollars to hire additional teachers and resources needed to educate our larger student body. 

As we do year-round, we make available online information for Maize-area state senators and representatives. You can access that information here.

Thank you for your continued support of Maize USD 266.
Maize USD students clinch state titles
Congratulations to our student-athletes who won state championships this spring/early summer:

Maize South High School individual track champion Kassidy Johnson won three 5A state championships in the 400-, 800- and 1600-meter races. Kassidy will be a senior this fall at Maize High School. Click here to read media coverage about her three titles.

Maize High School 2016 grad Kameron Swenson won the 5A state javelin title. Click here to read more about his victory from VarsityKansas.

Maize South High School's Wells Padgett placed first in boys golf. Click here to read about his championship.

William Mercer, a 2016 Maize High School grad, placed first in the 5A state forensics Impromptu Speaking competition. He also placed third in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking.
Summer camp central
We've rounded up information on Maize USD 266 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.
salad-banner.jpg 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 meals and snacks to children 18 years old and younger who are in need. 

Partner organization planning free concerts

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.

Organizers are planning free concerts this summer in NewMarket Square. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair. Please click here to learn more.

Save the date: 
Fill the Bus 
school supply drive

Maize USD 266 will be working with the Chick-fil-A at 21st Street and Maize Road on its 4th-annual school supply drive. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 5. Donors will receive a coupon for a free sandwich.

Have you liked Maize Schools on Facebook?

In August 2014, 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!

Join our team!
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.

Substitute food service workers needed: 
Maize Schools is looking for substitute food service workers who can fill in when needed in schools across the district. Hours coincide with the school day. No weekends or holidays.

Substitute nurses needed:
The Maize School District is looking for substitute school nurses to fill in when needed. As a substitute school nurse, you must:
* Be a registered nurse in the State of Kansas.
* Be certified in CPR and AED.
* Have had a TB test within the last year.
* Pass a background check.

You may submit an application online by clicking here. The daily rate of pay is $95. Please contact Maize USD 266 Nursing Coordinator Joann Wheeler, RN, BSN, at for more information.
Paraeducators needed:
The Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative No. 618 needs paraeducators (teacher aides) for students with special needs at Maize USD 266 elementary and secondary schools.
Competitive salaries and health insurance benefits are available for those working more than 30 hours a week. The rewarding jobs follow Maize school days and hours.
To apply, please click here.
Principals, district leaders give back by helping at Kansas Food Bank

Maize USD 266 building principals, assistant principals, and district administrators in late May toured the Kansas Food Bank to learn more about programs that feed our students and community members in need. The #OneMa1ze team then gave back by helping sort and package donated food items.

District photo album

Thanks to the Westside Rotary Club and Interact High School
Rotary Club members, who last month 
painted a map of the United States and hopscotch squares on the Pray-Woodman Elementary School playground. More than a dozen volunteers, including current and former Maize USD 266 students and parents, assisted with the project. Volunteers also provided a guide that teachers can use with the map when teaching their students.
(Photo courtesy of Randy Bowles.)
At this month's Maize Board of Education meeting, board members learned about Maize Elementary School's inaugural School Marathon, in which students ran one mile at a time to reach their 26.2-mile goal. Pictured above are a few involved: parents (including organizer Kelli Scott), students, Principal Kyle White, and Vice Principal Lindsey Vincent.

Board members on June 13 honored retirees, many of whom devoted decades to Maize Schools.
Superintendent's Message
Important summer work vital 
to smooth-running school year


The "lazy days of summer" phrase does not apply to the summer work list for those of us who work through June and July here at Maize USD 266.

This year's Kansas Legislative news has brought some additional attention to school districts' summer to-do lists, so I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you a bit more about ours. 

Simply put, when students are not in the classroom, valuable behind-the-scenes work takes place that otherwise would interrupt precious learning time. We continue to prepare for enrollment and that wonderful first day of school (Aug. 10 for us this time around). 

Take for instance just some of the things we have been working on throughout the district this summer:
  • Instruction/Curriculum: As soon as the school year ends, our staff members begin to prepare for the next year, updating teaching plans, training teachers (including those working to align our district with Next Generation Science Standards), and distributing teaching supplies and curriculum resources. For our elementary schools alone, we have distributed 2,100 social studies textbooks; 1,500 science textbooks; and 1,250 math workbooks. Teachers also bargain shopped for items to assemble 110 tubs of materials, summer work that saved the district about $14,000. (Pictured are OneMa1ze teachers from left: Jami Weston of Maize South Elementary School, Alexis Branson of Vermillion Elementary School, and Laurie Koci of Maize South Elementary.) Students will use these materials in the classroom for hands-on science activities to supplement traditional textbook instruction and online learning. This summer prep work ensures that teachers have the resources they need to be as effective as possible when it comes to teaching their students from minute one. 
  • Maintenance, Grounds, and Custodial: There is an enormous and concerted effort from more than 50 people in these departments and summer painting and cleaning crews to move, clean, paint, fix, and mow throughout the summer. They clean every classroom, student desk, chair, office, library, and gym from the top to the bottom. These employees also address major electrical, plumbing, and HVAC issues/upgrades, getting everything ready for the first day of school. We make sure our learning environments are healthy and ideal for our students.
  • Human Resources: We are busy preparing training for the coming year, including that for supervisors, mentor teachers, and teachers -- including those in Special Education -- who are brand new or perhaps just new to Maize Schools. (We snapped the photo pictured at right during a new teacher training last August.) We update manuals and handbooks for the Maize Board of Education. We interview and hire new employees and help them acclimate to the district. Getting these things done during summer months is imperative to a smooth operation when school is in session. This work means we are fully staffed, appropriately trained, and ready to go as soon as the first bell rings in August.
  • Technology: Summer offers a time to do infrastructure upgrades, format/refresh devices that our students will use for curriculum and instruction, clean all projectors and desktop computers, and deploy new devices. Our technology employees are busy doing maintenance on devices, extending the lifespan of those machines without disrupting classroom time.
  • Finance: Staff members balance and perform a fiscal year closeout of 27 funds with a total budget of more than $100 million. They develop the budget for the upcoming school year (a task that grows more challenging each year), complete purchase orders, and pay bills for utilities, supplies, maintenance, and bond projects. 
  • Strategic projects: Summer allows time for our district leaders to dig into larger-scale projects. This year, we are focusing on new crisis training for our staff. Last week, for instance, representatives from every school attended a SafeSchools training. These employees will become trainers who help the rest of our 700-plus employees be better prepared in the event of a crisis. 
  • Superintendent duties: I miss our students in the summer, but their break means time for me to tackle my summer workload, which includes work on bond projects (please read more about that below), addressing policy updates, and collaborating with staff members to develop strategies for funding solutions, instructional improvement, and facility planning. This summer I also have spent time communicating with state lawmakers and monitoring the school funding situation (please read an update at left). I do get to eat a few more dinners at home without the hectic evening student activities and meeting schedule, but the summer months can be busier otherwise.    
Indeed, when summer temperatures peak, so does the summer work here at Maize. I thank all who are part of it for their focus and commitment. It makes that first day of school even more rewarding, to know all that went in to make it happen.

Join me for story time at MOXI Junction! 
Parents, please bring your children to hear a few stories from me as I play guest reader during the local coffeehouse's weekly story time event at 10:30 a.m. July 5. Combat summer brain drain one step further by checking out our Summer Bookmobile, which will pull up to the location at 11:15 a.m. (You can read more about the Bookmobile below.) See you there!

Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Maize Board of Education update 
Student Placement Policy Team evaluating potential transition options

The Student Placement Policy Team, which consists of parent volunteers, staff members, students, and two board members, is studying options related to a phased transition plan for a policy members will recommend to the Maize Board of Education.

Team members will meet next in early July, and district employees meanwhile are working to gather data related to the various options.

During the June 13 Maize Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Chad Higgins shared with board members that the policy team does not intend to recommend moving all students, including high school students.

In the meantime, anyone can share student placement-related feedback by emailing

Maize Board of Education members' next monthly meeting will be at 7 p.m. July 11 at the Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize. Meetings are open to the public.

Find agendas, meeting minutes, and contact information at

New activity pass prices will help offset athletics operational costs, expenses

Board members on June 13 approved an activity pass admittance price change, the first in six years. The goal is to increase revenue without affecting attendance. This will help offset operational needs and pay for expenses,
including equipment, uniforms, event entry fees and hosting expenses, and maintenance of scoreboards, track
timing equipment, and more. 
The change makes activity pass fees more comparable with neighboring schools. 

A family pass is $150 for two adults and two students, and families can purchase additional student passes for $25 each, with a per-family maximum of $200. Student passes are for children in Kindergarten through 12th grade or college students ages 18 to 22. Single adult passes are $60. For current and retired employees (not substitutes), family passes are $50, allowing a spouse and two children into games without the employee.

Pep club passes will be accepted at middle and high school activities.

Fans can choose the package best for their needs or opt to pay single game admission. Pass maximums
accommodate families with multiple children.

Board gives green light to crisis plan

Also at their June meeting, board members approved the district crisis plan. The goal is a clear, concise, and consistent district-wide plan. It is student-focused, increases accountability, and uses best practices. Training will be key. A group of staff members developed the plan with input from building representatives and law enforcement agencies
throughout the community. Please stay tuned for additional information about how Maize USD 266 is working to keep our students and employees safe.
Election 2016: Your vote, voice matters

One of the most effective and simplest ways supporters of Maize Schools and Kansas public education can support students is to vote.

The November election may be on your radar, but did you know that many Kansas races are determined during the August primaries? Kansas voters can influence the future funding of our schools, the funding of the KPERS retirement system, and the future of Kansas public education.

For those interested in voting in the Tuesday, Aug. 2 primary election, follow these steps.

Today: Make sure you're registered to vote. If you've moved or changed your name, you must re-register.

This week: Click here to apply for a mail ballot for the August primary. A mail ballot allows you to vote from home at a time convenient for you. Complete the form (be sure to fill in "Primary Aug. 2" on Section 5 of the form), and you'll be set to make your vote count in August. The last day to register to vote for the August primary is July 12.

Before Aug. 2: Find out who will be on the Republican and Democratic primary ballots -- and learn their positions on the issues that are important to you. Review voting records, campaign literature, websites, and personal conversations
or e-mails to decide which candidates best match your views.

On or before Aug. 2: Vote! In-person advance early voting begins July 20. You can click here for more information on those options.

Thank you for your civic contribution, which allows Kansas to maintain strong public school districts, including Maize USD 266.

For more information, call the Educational Support Center at 316-722-0614.
Bond issue update 

Bond work at full-speed this summer

At Maize Middle School (pictured above), teachers moved classrooms, and demolition work for the school's renovation and expansion started on the first day of summer break. Crews are working on a new broadcast room and masonry and will be adding two locker rooms and storage space. 

News about that project and others were part of a bond update that representatives from Schaefer, Johnson, Cox, Frey Architecture and Hutton Construction provided during the June 13 Maize Board of Education meeting. 

Work also is underway at Maize and Maize South high schools. At Maize South High, recent rain delayed work a bit. Crews prepped dirt for the new athletics entrance, and next will come columns for the cafeteria/commons expansion. (Early work on that component is pictured here.) The locker room has a new epoxy floor. 

At Maize High, the athletics entry was torn down, and concrete footings for the storm shelter on the north side were installed. Locations for stand-alone locker room buildings at both high schools have been finalized, with utility lines and fire codes in mind. Reroofing at Maize High should be completed before school starts. Turf bids are out for fields at both high schools.

Plans for the Early Childhood Center include potential savings in materials that could lead to an additional classroom.

Voters' approval in June 2015 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 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 South Elementary School named first Lighthouse School in Kansas

Maize South Elementary School is the first school in Kansas to be named a Lighthouse School by the Leader in Me organization, which emphasizes with staff members and students FranklinCovey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

There are only 235 Lighthouse Schools worldwide but 2,634 in The Leader in Me process, according to the organization. Maize South Elementary is a leader in building leaders of tomorrow, and educators statewide have visited the school to learn more and see the model in action.

School staff members have intertwined the program with regular curriculum and the district-wide Maize Way character education program, which teaches students to be good people through traits including responsibility and friendship.
Maize Education Foundation seeking sponsors, golfers for upcoming tourney
The Maize Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 that supports Maize USD 266 schools, teachers, and students through grants, is hosting its 8th-annual fundraising golf tournament this fall.

The event will be at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at Reflection Ridge Golf Club. The money raised funds the Foundation's annual grants. 

Last month, the Foundation Board of Directors presented more than $43,000 in instructional, technology, and enrichment grants to Maize USD 266 teachers to supplement their classroom and school resources.

We would welcome your support as a golf tournament sponsor or participant! Please click here to find out how you can get involved.
Join us for summer playgroups, stories

Parents and their children are invited to our Maize Early Childhood Center summer playgroups. The events will include free story and playtime at 10 a.m. Wednesdays through July 6 at the city of Maize park, 401 S. Khedive in Maize.
Summer Bookmobile to roll out in July

Ready to read? We're ready to roll!

Our roving Maize USD 266 Summer Bookmobile has a month of stops scheduled in Maize and Northwest Wichita to promote summer reading.
All are welcome!

Check out three books at a time (for pre-K to adults) and simply return them on the last day.

Follow the bus to the next stop.

Tuesdays in July: (July 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th)
  • 9-9:30 a.m.: Target, 29th & Maize
  • 9:45-10:15 a.m.: Tammy Hall & Audrey Winget Daycare, 1936 N. Socora St.
  • 10:30-11 a.m.: Tyler's Landing playground (neighborhood southeast of 37th & Tyler)
  • 11:15-11:45 a.m.: MOXI Junction, 319 S. Park Ave. in Maize

Wednesday, July 6th:

  • 10:45- to 11:15 a.m.: City of Maize Park, Academy & Khedive, Maize

Mondays in July: (July 11th, 18th, & 25th)

  • 9-9:30 a.m.: Fun Factory, Pray-Woodman Elementary School, 605 W. Academy Ave. in Maize
  • 9:45-10:05 a.m.: Aberdeen playground (neighborhood northeast of 21st & 119th)
  • 10:15-10:45 a.m.: Walmart, 21st & Maize
  • 11-11:20 a.m.: Sedgwick County Park Boundless Playground behind Horseshoe Shelter
  • 11:30-11:45 a.m.: Ridgeport Apartments, behind Scooter's at 34th & Ridge

Made possible thanks to the generosity of the Maize Education Foundation.

Important 2016-17 enrollment info

Please click here to access information about enrollment for new and returning students. We look forward to great things in the 2016-17 school year at Maize Schools!
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.