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

Important dates
  • Sept. 5: No school, Labor Day
  • Sept. 28-29: Parent-teacher conferences
  • Sept. 29-30: No school
  • Oct. 13: End of Term 1
  • Oct. 14: No school
  • Nov. 23-15: No school
Emergency alerts 
and notifications

In the event of an emergency in your child's school, Maize USD 266 will use the Blackboard Connect parent notification system to notify you of the situation and will alert you about steps you need to take in order to reunite with your child. Voice messages will be sent to all phone numbers and emails listed in Skyward Family Access "Family 1."

To view the contact information the district has on file, please log on to  Skyward Family Access and click on "Student Information." If you are unsure how to log on to Skyward Family Access, please contact your child's school for assistance.  
Helpful links 
for parents
  • Stay connected: , like Follow Maize USD 266 on Twitter, like the district on Facebook, and sign up for Online Bulletin Board alerts (please see below).
  • Activity pass: Maize USD 266 offers an activity pass to individuals and families planning to attend multiple extra-curricular middle and high school events to support their children and our students. Purchasing a pass can be an economical option for residents looking for a positive form of of frequent family-friendly entertainment in the Maize Schools community. Please click here to purchase an activity pass. Thank you for your support of Maize Schools!
Online Bulletin Board
Be the first to know about school fundraisers, camps, special events, classes, and more put on by Maize Schools and our partner agencies. Click here to visit our Online Bulletin Board. While you're there, you can sign up to receive email updates when new opportunities are added.
Thank you, 
Fill the Bus donors!

Thanks to Chick-fil-A and to all generous donors and volunteers who made the f ourth annual Fill the Bus school supply drive Aug. 5 at the location at 21st Street and Maize Road a big success for Maize USD 266.

Donors gave Maize Schools more than 1,500 items this year, including:
  • 300 spiral notebooks 
  • 150 boxes of crayons 
  • 125 packages of glue sticks 
  • 125 packages of pencils
  • 100 packages of pens
  • 100 packages of notebook paper
  • 75 boxes of markers
Our students will be provided the supplies they need to have a successful school year. Thank you!
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.
Calling all Bookmobile books

Do you still have a book from our Summer Bookmobile that you checked out in recent weeks? Please  return your book at your earliest convenience to the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize. Thank you!

Online Credit Acquisition 
and Credit Recovery Courses to begin Sept. 1

M aize students interested in taking online credit recovery and acquisition courses can sign up by Sept. 1 to do so. The district offers credit acquisition and credit recovery through an online curriculum through our Educational Outreach Center. It is expanded and more affordable to participants. 

A student interested in earning credits otherwise unattainable because of scheduling conflicts may benefit from this program, as might students who need to retake a course they failed. Courses offered include English, algebra, chemistry, history and more. 

Maize USD 266 teachers teach the courses, and all teachers are certified in the course that they are teaching. The online courses also allow students to free up coursework time in their school schedule to allow them to take electives of interest to them. It could help a student graduate early or may assist the student in earning college credit or accessing skills for career readiness.

Course orientation will be at 3:15 p.m. Sept. 1 at the Educational Outreach Center, 201 S. Park in Maize. Half-credit courses will be $150, and full-credit courses will be $300. Credit recovery courses are $30 a month. Registration must be done online. Payment is due at orientation or in Skyward if the student has taken courses in this program before.

Please click here to find answers to additional questions you may have about the Educational Outreach Center online courses.
Kansas State Board 
of Education launches 
new vision for future 
of education

The Kansas State Board of Education has launched a new vision for Kansas education in which  "Kansas leads the world in the success of each student." 

This initiative aims for a more student-focused educational system with support and resources for individual student success and requires all parties to collaborate on this goal. 

Please click here to learn more about the visionWith your support, Kansans Can! 

Annual Emergency Safety Interventions notice
School districts are required by law to provide an annual notification to parents regarding policies related to the protection of student rights. Below are links to the policies in place to protect your rights to your student's records, right to privacy and access to district programs for students with disabilities. 

Annual Emergency Safety Interventions notice
Emergency Safety Interventions (ESI) are seclusion and restraint that are used when a student presents a reasonable and immediate danger to him or herself or others.

Maize USD 266 has written policy regarding Emergency Safety Intervention. You can view the Maize USD 266's board policy in full by clicking here. (ESI is addressed in Article V, Section 30.)

You also can visit our ESI resources page by clicking here. Among resources there you will find a guide for families that includes further definitions and descriptions, as well as information about when ESI may be used, related requirements, parent notifications, and how to file a complaint.

Parents have a right to file a complaint through the local dispute resolution process and the Kansas State Board of Education's (KSBE) administrative review process. If you have an issue you would like to discuss with Maize USD 266, please contact Richard Bell, Executive Director of Operations and Special Projects, at 316-722-0614 or
District photo album

There's nothing quite like the buzz and excitement on the first day of school at Maize USD 266. Check out a few photos from that day on our Facebook page. Don't forget to "like" us while you're there!

Superintendent's Message
New academic year off to a smooth start for Maize Schools


The best part of my job is when I get to visit classrooms and observe the inspiring interaction and relationships between teachers and students. However, when students interact with me, it can be very interesting.

A student once thought I was the mayor. Another asked if I was the president. They often think I am their teacher's husband. (This spurs laughter and quick clarifications from both parties.) On the first day of school earlier this month, a little first-grade boy took note of my attire and remarked to his classmate, "Nice tie!"

There were many other things that had me smiling as I was visiting classrooms:  We had 42 new teachers who, like our students, were diving into their first day of school. They included  14 first-year teachers, one of whom is a K-12 graduate of Maize USD 266. 

We had veteran teachers welcoming back their new students as former students stopped by for a hug or a what-I-did-this-summer story. This was only a day after all of our employees district-wide gathered together for our annual back-to-school meeting, during which we honored colleagues for reaching milestone numbers of years of service to Maize USD 266. We gave a special round of applause to Maize Middle School teacher Randy Crow (pictured here) for reaching the biggest milestone of the celebration: 35 years.

At Maize Middle School, teachers and employees (including Principal Brian Thompson, pictured at right) greeted students back to a partially renovated building still in the midst of a massive bond expansion project. 

Whether it's because of a sincere compliment or the buzzing energy of a shared vision and visible improvements, it's simply a great feeling when things just seem to be going your way. 

I am filled with that it's-going-to-be-a-great-year optimism and would like to share with you a few of the things going right for Maize USD 266 at the start of this school year. Much of it is because of the diligence, talent, and focus of our employees and community, and I thank all involved for their work.

Budget: As I shared with Maize Board of Education members during their annual budget hearing on Aug. 8, Maize USD 266  is going in the right direction regarding the budget, including with cash reserves  and Capital Outlay. 

While, under the state's block grant, our General Fund budget is  essentially flat at $43 million, our mill rate will drop nearly 4 percent  to 59.571. Our patrons will realize this in an annual property tax savings of $25.93 on a $100,000 home. The
district's estimated assessed valuation is up 4.7 percent since last year at $401.5 million (following a 3 percent
increase the previous year), meaning that the district's tax levy generates more money per mill.

Work continues to build up the Textbook Fund to prepare for needed adoptions. The bond issue, which will pay for
some improvements, including roofing repairs that used to come out of the district's annual budget, has helped
reallocate money and allow flexibility for the district to make needed improvements or purchases elsewhere. Bond state aid will increase again this year, more positive news for the district.

There still is work to be done, of course: We want to be in a position to better compensate our employees for their work. We could not afford to give raises this year and instead are providing a one-time bonus. And we know that many teachers pay more and more for what they need to teach our students out of their own pockets. To help in this regard, we are fortunate to have support from local businesses and organizations, among them our Maize Education Foundation, PTO groups, Booster Clubs, and Site Councils.

We expect for the 2016-17 spending to remain flat but have the ability to respond to any "what-ifs" that may arise this year, including anything tied to state revenue and potential cuts.

Elections:  Public education seemed to be an important topic to many voters during the Primary Election earlier this month. As we continue to share, o ne of the most effective and simplest ways supporters of Maize Schools and Kansas public education can support students is to vote. Those interested in casting a ballot in the Nov. 8 General Election have until Oct. 18 to register to vote. Your vote and your voice can make a difference and  influence the future funding of our schools, the funding of the KPERS retirement system, and the future of Kansas public education! While the primary election showed promise in terms of voters' support for public education, community members' involvement in the General Election will be critical.

Capturing Kids Hearts: One of several programs that we at Maize Schools use to emphasize character education is Capturing Kids Hearts, which provides our educators with training to grow their relationships with students and colleagues. Good relationships of trust and respect create safe environments that are solid foundations for learning. We have expanded this program from our preschool and elementary grades to sixth-grade this year, helping our students and staff continue to flourish as they bridge into our secondary level.

With talented employees, strong community support, and more of the training and resources we need to be successful as OneMa1ze, we are off to a great start. Best wishes to your child(ren) this school year! 

Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Maize Board of Education update 
Maize Board of Education members considering proposed placement policy

Members of the Maize Board of Education this fall are considering a proposed student placement policy that was presented Aug. 8 by members of the Student Placement Policy Team.

The recommended policy would maintain the district's current placement practice for elementary buildings: Kindergarten through 5th-grade students are placed in any of the district's five elementary schools. Siblings follow siblings in elementary school.

Students in grades 6 through 12 would attend their boundary-assigned middle and high school based on the student's primary residence (that associated with "Family 1" in the Skyward Family Access student management system). Maize Middle School would feed to Maize High School, and Maize South Middle School would feed to Maize South High School. A transition plan would phase in the recommended policy and cause as few disruptions as possible, offering the best educational environment for our students.

The proposed policy includes exemptions for siblings and employees, as well as a transition plan with a goal to be as minimally disruptive to learning as possible. The district will host community meetings in October to provide an opportunity to answer questions. The proposal now is in the hands of board members, who may review boundary options in October and consider a decision between November and January. The proposal is for a Fall 2017 implementation. The presentation was for information only, with board members taking no action.

Superintendent Chad Higgins and team members explained that the goal for the policy is to alleviate anxiety, improve morale, and provide stability and consistency. 

Throughout 2016, under the guidance of board members, the new policy team worked to research and develop a recommended policy that provides an equal and fair educational environment. The group established core beliefs, conducted thorough research, collected patron feedback, and sought to build a proposed policy that was easy to understand. 

Previously, the district has not had boundaries dictating which school students attend.

Please click here to access to find updates, answers to frequently asked questions, and the recommended policy as presented to the Maize Board of Education. Additional information as added on Aug. 19.

Pictured above: Maize South High School senior Dominick Decker is a member of the Student Placement Policy Team and, during the Aug. 8 Maize Board of Education meeting, was one of the presenters of the recommended student placement policy.

Find agendas, meeting minutes, and contact  information at .
Use of student info in the media, district publications, and district social media

Information that may be shared with the news media or used in district publications or on district 
social media platforms, including official Maize USD 266 district Facebook and Twitter, is limited to participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, school activities, honors and awards received, grade level and photographs.

Parents/guardians have the right to refuse or permit the designation of any or all of the above information for use in the media or in district publications (via both print and digital platforms), including official district social media accounts. Parents/guardians who do not want this information published must file written notification with Lori O'Toole Buselt, Director of Communications, Maize USD 266, 905 W. Academy Ave, Maize, KS 67101 by Sept. 21, 2016.

If you do not file a refusal, Maize USD 266 assumes you have no objection to the release of the above information for media or district publicity purposes.

If desired,  please click here to access the Do Not Photograph form.
District asks volunteers to consider paying  for their background checks

Maize USD 266 is extremely thankful for the many volunteers who selflessly give of their time in our classrooms. Our schools are stronger thanks to the help and support of our community members, and our students benefit from this relationship.

Safety is a top priority for the district, which since 2008 has conducted background checks of potential volunteers. This, however, comes at a cost: During the 2015-16 school year alone, Maize USD 266 spent approximately $13,300 on background screenings. According to Maize Board of Education policy, "volunteers who work in a classroom on a regular basis, supervise students during a field trip when a staff member is not present, or work with students away from the supervision of a classroom teacher are required to have a background check." 
This extra step helps ensure that we are keeping our students safe.

This year, Maize Schools is asking our volunteers to please consider helping us cover that cost, allowing the district to continue to invest as much of our budget as possible into our teachers and classrooms.

Those interested in becoming elementary school volunteers can visit their school page on our district website and click on the "Volunteer Background Screening" link in the left rail to 
begin their background check process through the National Screening Bureau. After providing some information, would-be volunteers will be prompted to pay $22 by credit or debit card on a secure system and will receive a receipt via email. (The National Screening Bureau uses a secure server and cutting-edge screening technology in order to protect privacy.)

Maize Schools does not wish to discourage any potential volunteer from getting involved in our classrooms and with our students and will pay for background screenings for anyone who chooses not to pay themselves.

Thanks to all parents and volunteers for continued support of our students and district!
Election 2016: Your vote, 
voice matters

Voting is one of the most effective and simplest ways supporters of Maize Schools and Kansas public education can support students.

Kansas voters can influence the future funding of our schools and the future of Kansas public education.

For those interested in voting in the Nov. 8 General Election, please follow these steps.

Today:  Make sure you're registered to vote. If you've moved or changed your name, you must re-register. To register, please click here for a printable voter application. Oct. 18 is the last day to register to vote for the General Election.

This week: R equest an early voting mail ballot,  which allows you to vote from home at a time convenient for you.  Click here to apply . Complete the form (be sure to fill in "General Nov. 8" on Section 5 of the form), and you'll be set to make your vote count in November.

Before you vote: Find out who will be on the 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 Nov. 8:  Vote! In-person advance early voting begins Oct. 26.

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

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

First phase of Maize Middle School renovation complete; plans surge ahead for other new stand-alone buildings

At Maize Middle School, the first phase of renovations is complete, producing new science labs (pictured at right),  innovation spaces where small groups of students will work on special projects , and a Family and Consumer Sciences room. Exterior work on the expansion will continue. 

T he Maize South High School  expansion is coming along with framing. The  athletics entrance there has been delayed a
bit because of this summer's rainy weather. 

The storm shelter expansion at Maize High School is going well and is scheduled to be finished in early November. Work is being done to complete the school reroofing project, and crews are working late into the night to finish the soccer field project, including new turf. 

For the new Early Childhood Center, plans now include cutting curbs to remove portions of median and create entrance points and turn lanes. The new school, as shown at right, will be built on 37th Street North west of Maize South High School. 

The school, now housed in Vermillion Elementary School,  will continue to offer educational services to families and children from birth to age five. This new building will  provide the Early Childhood Center with a permanent home and needed space for programs, which prepare our youngest students for their future at Maize Schools and beyond.

On Aug. 8, Maize Board of Education members saw plans (pictured below) for transportation that include a new stand-alone building with offices, training space, a lounge and conference room and more and a 7,000-square foot  expansion to the district's current maintenance building west of Maize High School to take advantage of shared spaces there and to add lifts, drive-through and wash bays, and storage.

Maize Schools operates its own fleet of buses and staff of drivers, who run more than 100 bus routes. About 4,000 students ride daily. Our facility at 7700 W. 53rd St. North was built for trash trucks. Drivers face a dangerous bottleneck daily while driving buses into and out of the center's narrow entrance. A safer new center will better maintain the district's transportation fleet. It will allow buses to be parked under a partial awning, protecting windshields and engines from the elements. There will be adequate space for bus repairs and maintenance.

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 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. 

In May, 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.
Please report suspicious social media activity to Maize Schools, Maize Police

socialmedia-keyboard.jpg The safety of Maize USD 266 students and employees is a top priority. We do not take any threats lightly, regardless of where or how they originate.

If you and/or your student ever see a threat posted to social media or elsewhere that makes you question the safety of our schools, please report it immediately. If it is after school hours, please report the threat to police. The Maize Police Department provides school security for USD 266. Please do not leave a message with one of our schools or at Maize City Hall after hours and instead report the perceived threat by calling 911. This will give law enforcement the opportunity to begin an investigation immediately.

Thank you for your diligence and cooperation in providing the safest school environment possible.
Two familiar Maize USD 266 faces step into different leadership positions

Maize USD 266 is pleased to welcome two returning employees to new administrative positions:

Richard Bell, pictured at right, is the district's new Executive Director of Operations and Special Projects. The position is a new one the district created after its associate superintendent position became vacant this summer following an employee retirement. Among other programs and projects, he will lead crisis planning, training, and readiness; work with special education; and oversee  the district's transportation and buildings, maintenance, and grounds departments. He also will work to further develop community partnerships, which will lead to additional student internship opportunities and other avenues of support for Maize Schools. 

Bell has eight years of experience in school administration, including working last year as Maize South High School assistant principal. He also has worked in Arkansas City and Clearwater. He has taught p hysical education and reading and has coached football, basketball, and track. 

He has served on the district's Crisis Committee and Maize Way Character Education committee, among others.

Bell has a bachelor's in Physical Education from Fort Hays State University, a Master's in School Leadership from Baker University, and earned his District Level License from Wichita State University.  He and his wife Rachel celebrate 19 years of marriage this month and have two children who attend Maize Schools: 5th-grader Carley and Kindergartener Cooper.

New Maize South High School Assistant Principal  Alison Klock  previously taught math for 11 years, at Ottawa High School and then at Maize High School since 2011. Among other leadership duties, she will be overseeing the school's state assessments, ACT, and ACT Aspire.

She is a member of the Kansas National Education Association  and Kansas Exemplary Educators Network.  Klock has undergraduate degrees in math and English from Ottawa University and is  certified in secondary education. She earned her Master's  in Educational Leadership and a Master's  in Curriculum and Instruction from Emporia State University.

She and her husband Jim have a son  who is involved in Parents as Teachers through the Maize Early Childhood Center. 

Klock is pictured below with her fellow Maize South High School administrators. From left: Assistant Principal Dave Nash, Principal Dave Hickerson, Klock, and Athletic Director Curtis Klein.

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.