Maize School District
    Connections - Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - January 2017 - OneMa1ze
In This Issue

Important dates
  • Feb. 1: No school (Professional Development Day)
  • Feb. 15-16: Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • Feb. 16-17: No school (conferences)
  • March 10: End of term
  • March 20-24: No school (Spring Break)
  • March 27: School resumes
  • April 14: No school (Professional Development Day)
  • May 5: No school (Professional Development Day)
  • May 9: Last Day for seniors
  • May 11: Maize South High School graduation, 6:30 p.m. Hartman Arena
  • May 14: Maize High School graduation, 6:30 p.m. Koch Arena
  • May 18: End of term and last day of school

(Thanks to the Maize Early Childhood Center for the artwork above.)
Inclement weather,
snow day notifications

In the event of school being dismissed or canceled because of inclement weather, the district will send out an e-mail, phone notification, and -- for those who have opted to receive them -- a text message to the primary contact associated with both Family 1 and Family 2, if applicable, for each student. Those phone notifications will go out as early as 5:30 a.m. on the day of the closure. If a decision is made the night before to call off school, calls and texts will go out no later than 10:30 p.m.

It is wise to verify that we have your correct contact information on file. To do so, please log on to Skyward Family Access and click on "Student Info." If you are unsure how to log on to Skyward Family Access, please contact your child's school for assistance.

District officials will update the district's Web site (, official Twitter account (@maize266) and official Facebook page as soon as the decision is made to call off school. We also will contact local media outlets about any closures. When in doubt, we encourage parents to verify school closings by consulting multiple official sources.

Similarly, in the event of an emergency in your child's school, the district will use the Blackboard Connect parent notification system to notify you of the situation and alert you to steps you need to take in order to reunite with your child. Communications would go to all contacts listed in Skyward Family Access "Family 1" and the main contact in "Family 2."

(Thanks to Vermillion Elementary School for the artwork above.)
Join us for Feb. 21 
Maize USD 266 
College and Career Night
College and Career Night will be 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Maize Recreation Center, 10100 Grady Ave. in Maize.

All USD 266 high school students and their families are welcome to attend.

Representatives from four-year universities, private colleges, community colleges, and vocational-technical institutions will be present to inform you of the educational options available at their schools. A financial aid presentation is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

More than two dozen colleges, universities, and organizations plan to attend.   Click here for the list of participants.

This is an opportunity for families to begin the process of exploring various post-secondary educational opportunities.

If you have questions, please contact Kelsey Vinopal at 316-350-2281 or
Winning Maize High choir performs on B-98 FM
Congratulations to vocal music teacher Doris Prater and the Maize High School choir, which last month won B-98 FM's Christmas Choir Contest. The title came with the opportunity to record a concert, which was aired twice on the station on Dec. 25. Please click here to listen to the choir.
Maize South teacher 
wins $500 grant
Maize South High School science teacher Daniel "Jed" Heath has received a $500 TGIF Grant from Credit Union of America for a Phantom 3 Drone.

One of his class subjects is Scale of the Universe and the Solar System. His students will use an outdoor field to create a scale by flying the drone to take a time lapse video. The experience will enhance students' learning and introduce them to a career option with drones.

Pictured from left are Credit Union of America Branch Manager Carol Clifford, Mr. Heath, and Maize South High School Principal David Hickerson.
Academy Sports donates bicycles to Maize Central Elementary students

Thank you to Academy Sports for the donation of 30 bicycles and helmets for Maize Central Elementary School students, who were invited to enter to win a bicycle during a recent after-school family event.
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. Please click here to visit our Online Bulletin Board. While you're there, you can sign up to receive e-mail updates when new opportunities are added.

Current opportunities include the Greater Wichita YMCA's Jan. 27 Stay & Play event and the  Maize Recreation Commission's Feb. 11 Daddy-Daughter Dance.

Another opportunity is the March 25 Run2Believe 5K in memory and honor of Kylie Jobe and Kyle Thornburg, Maize High School sweethearts who became innocent victims of a drunk driver.  Proceeds benefit Maize USD 266 After Prom activities, the Maize Education Foundation, and the Oklahoma State University Foundation. Dust off those running shoes for a good cause. And please don't drink and drive.
School breakfast a healthy, affordable choice
Maize USD 266 provides a nourishing, affordable breakfast option that can save parents time and keep students focused on learning -- and not their growling stomachs -- during morning classroom time.

There are three choices each day that include donuts, cereal, breakfast pizza, and pancakes on a stick.  Breakfast costs $1.80 per meal and includes a drink.

If you have any questions, please contact your child's school.
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 .
Superintendent's Message
New year full of promise, potential for Maize USD 266 
Just five days into 2017, Maize Schools already had something to celebrate in the new year: We announced  that two of our teachers had been named winners of the  Kansas State Department of Education 's prestigious 2017 Horizon Award. 

This award recognizes outstanding first-year teachers and is given to only 32 teachers statewide. 

Congratulations to Vermillion Elementary School's Alexis
Schirmerpictured at right with Principal Michael Dome, and Complete High School Maize's Mike Russell, pictured below with Principal Dr. Kristy Custer and a few of their students (who may have been in on the surprise).

On Jan. 5, both teachers received an unexpected phone call from Deputy Commissioner of Education Brad Neuenswander, w ho announced the news of their award.  ( Please click here to see additional photos from the day's surprise announcements. )

These award-winners join a growing list of teachers honored in our district, including Crystal May, who was recognized last fall as one of eight teachers statewide to be a finalist for the Kansas State Department of Education's 2017 Kansas Teacher of the Year title.

On Jan. 2, The Wichita Eagle highlighted a $10,000 grant awarded to May and fellow Pray-Woodman Elementary School teacher Angela Knapp for their teacher-led coaching model they developed to help teach math in an innovative way.

Our teachers and staff members no doubt make Maize Schools an ideal learning environment. But it is a magic mix of community support, engaged parents, and eager students who thrust us into something exceptional.

Take a look at a few things I especially am looking forward to in 2017 for OneMa1ze:
Thank you for your continued support in this new year.


Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Maize Board of Education update
Student presentations highlight recent elementary school service projects, high school internship opportunities

Our students have an opportunity to present to Maize Board of Education members during monthly meetings. In December,   Maize South Elementary School students (pictured at right with Assistant Principal Eric Nachtigal), s poke about their community service projects,  including helping those in need at the St. Anthony
Family Shelter. 

This month, Maize High School seniors  Andrew Clark and Jonathan McIntyre (pictured below) spoke about their recent internships at  Wichita City  Hall and  Wichita Thunder. 

Under teacher  Penny McAnulty , the school partnered with
businesses to provide on-site learning.  Maize South High School counselor Adam Melichar updated the board about a committee reviewing internship opportunities for students throughout the district with a goal of providing value and service that is real and meaningful and to give back to the business community as much as we're receiving.

District continues one-to-one Chromebook implementation

Maize USD 266 is dedicated to using technology to enhance learning in a way that engages and empowers our students.  During the Jan. 9 board meeting,  Gary Lewis, Assistant Superintendent of Education Outreach and Legislative Services, and Director of Technology Clark Fichtl presented information about the district's technology plan, including a five-year purchase plan. The district has a District Technology Committee and a 1:One Sub-Committee reviewing needs and plans.

There also is a technology support team and standardization across classrooms and schools. Maize USD 266 has 4,500 Chromebooks currently active district-wide, as well as desktops and traditional laptops. 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 and require less maintenance than laptops  and provide the educational support students need. The district recently  purchased two additional Chromebook carts and units for each elementary school, allowing greater access to curriculum resources.  I n 2018-19, Maize USD 266 plans to distribute Chromebooks to all middle and high school students. 

Curriculum drives need for technology in our classrooms, and Lewis said that the demand across the district is greater than it has ever been.  Plans also are in place to build the district's infrastructure. These intentional steps will bolster and further the district's vision to use technology to enhance, empower, engage, and educate. 

Thank you, board members!

January is School Board Recognition Month, and we want to thank our seven Maize Board of Education members for the countless hours of time they volunteer on behalf of our students, our schools, and our community.

Our board members are elected volunteer representatives. Members are:
  • President: Matt Jensby (represents district's southwest portion)
  • Vice President: Mike Downs (represents east portion)
  • Dr. Scott Crawford (represents west/northwest portion)
  • Kate Doerksen (represents district's southwest portion)
  • Dr. Jeff Jarman (at-large representative)
  • Bruce Nicholson (represents east portion)
  • Richard Stiverson (represents west/northwest portion)
Find Maize Board of Education agendas, meeting minutes, and contact  information at The board is next scheduled to meet for its regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave., in Maize. Meetings are open to the public.
Bond issue update

Newest drone video shows vast progress on bond projects in 2016

Bond projects continue to surge ahead in the new year, and the most recent  drone video shows how far projects came in 2016. To view the video, filmed Dec. 23 by Maize South High School student Dominick Decker of Apollo Sky Films, please click here . The photo above shows the progress of our new Maize Early Childhood Center being built near Maize South High School. 

At the December Maize Board of Education meeting,  Hutton Construction and Schaefer, Johnson, Cox, Frey  Architecture gave a bond update: 
  • Maize South High will have a new stagecrafts/storage addition to provide secure storage for tools and extra space for the band. 
  • Project leaders will continue to meet with the district Transportation Department to finalize plans for the new stand-alone facility to be built along 119th Street west of Maize High. 
  • They showed new renderings of the Career and Professional Center, to be built as an addition to Maize High. The new athletic entrance there already is open.
  • Perhaps the most visible is the expansion at Maize Middle School, which should be completed around Spring Break. Next at that school will be construction work on the south side for a new locker room. 
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 Early Childhood Center receives $2,000 grant for school library

Our Maize Early Childhood Center, which serves students from birth to pre-K, is the recipient of a recent $2,000 grant from  bestselling author James Patterson in cooperation with Scholastic Reading Club. The school will  expand its listening center library and add more books for students to check out each week.

As part of the grant, Scholastic matches Patterson's donation with "bonus points" that teachers can use to acquire books and other materials for their classrooms.

Teacher CoCo Bontrager's application for  Maize Early Childhood Center was selected among thousands of applications  in response to Patterson's $1.75 Million Pledge to School Libraries. Congratulations!
Maize South Marching Band makes history with competition performances

Congratulations to Band Director Grant Whitcomb and the Maize South High School Marching Band members, who competed in the Lee's Summit North Marching Band Festival in the fall and were awarded first place in their division. They also placed second in Class 4A and were eighth out of 21 bands in prelims in the Kansas Bandmasters Association Marching Competition in Topeka. They placed for the first time in school history as finalists in the competition.
Programs, schools showcased during recent Meeting All Kids Needs tour

In December, Maize USD 266 hosted  school board members and superintendents from across Kansas for a day as part of the  Kansas Association of School Boards ' Meeting All Kids Needs event. Participants learned about our multi award-winning Complete High School Maize alternative school, career and professional education programs, Maize South Elementary School's nationally recognized Leader in Me program, nationally recognized Maize Way character education program, and Maize Early Childhood Center's five Kindergarten readiness strategies.  Thanks to all involved, especially our impressive students.
Wanted: Applicants for student enrichment grants of up to $500

Calling Maize USD 266 students in grades 7 through 11: Would you like free money to pay for an academic/leadership seminar, workshop, fine arts camp, etc.? Past grants awarded have sent students to music camps, dance camps, national conventions, and more. 

Students can apply for a Maize Education Foundation Student Enrichment Grant for up to $500! Applications are due March 27. Find the application by clicking here.

In the fall, the Foundation awarded $3,135 for the first round of Student Enrichment Grants of 2016-17.  Congratulations to:
  • Maize South Middle School 7th-grade student Ben Gorman, $500 for Merits of Space Boy Scout camp.
  • Maize South High School junior Andrew Haskell, $275 for The American Legion Boys State of Kansas.
  • Maize South Middle School 7th-grade student Tad Keller, $500 for Merits of Space Boy Scout camp.
  • Maize High School junior Brett Loving , (pictured in hat at right), $500 for National High School Journalism Convention.
  • Maize High School sophomore Johnathan Smith,(pictured at right) $360 for National High School Journalism Convention.
  • Maize High School junior Hayley Tice, $500 for the Jayhawk Debate Institute.
  • Maize High School freshman Abby Turner, $500 for Camp Electric.
Brett won a medal for a superior rating in the first-year photographer contest for the photo below. No more than 10 percent of entries were judged superior. Congratulations!

Maize Education Foundation grant helps fund new therapy dog program

The Foundation is a separate 501(c)3 that supports Maize USD 266 schools, teachers, and students through grants. In May, members of the Maize Education 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.

Among grant winners were Complete High School Maize's  Heidi Albin. Her $8,451.16 enrichment grant was the largest Foundation grant award ed in 2016. It  defrayed the costs of a new 
Therapy Dog Program the school is using to build student/staff relationships, improve student achievement, and provide meaningful professional devel opment. A therapy dog has bolstered the Maize Way character education program by providing opportunities to teach responsibility and community. And with a cohort graduation rate hovering around 97 percent, Complete's staff believes that the last push to 100 percent graduation will require persistence and creativity. Students have warmly welcomed Kinsey the black lab into the school this year.

Thanks again to the Foundation and donors who make this and other grants possible!

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.