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

Important dates
  • Aug. 2: One Stop Enrollment for new students
  • Aug. 10: First day of school for students in grades 1 through 6, freshmen, and kindergarten students who have last names that begin with letters A through M.
  • Aug. 11: First day of school for students in grades 7, 8, 10 through 12, and kindergarten students who have last names that begin with letters N through Z. (Students in grades 1 through 12 will attend on this day, with one exception: Kindergarten students with last names beginning with A through M will NOT attend on this day.)
  • Sept. 5: No school, Labor Day
  • Sept. 28-29: Parent-teacher conferences
  • Sept. 29-30: No school
Nine things 
for parents to know 
to prepare 
for the school year
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2. First day of school: Please see the "Important dates" list above to identify your child's first day back, which varies by grade and, for kindergarten students, last name.

school_supplies_tool.jpg 3. School supplies:  Find out what you need by clicking hereLists are specific to grade levels. (Also, please consider donating supplies for our students in need. See below for a fun opportunity on Aug. 5.)

4. Get an early peek: Schools are hosting Meet your Teacher nights and building tours before the first bell rings. Please click here for the district calendar.

5. Fees: Visit Fee Management in Skyward Family Access to pay your child's fees. Access information about fees and lunch prices here. And learn additional details about the fees and methods of payment here.

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6. Breakfast and lunch: If needed, add money to your child's Food Service account in Skyward Family Access before the first day of school. Breakfast and lunch menus are available here.

7. Stay connected:  Follow Maize USD 266 on Twitter, like the district on Facebook, and sign up for Online Bulletin Board alerts (please see below).

8. Consider getting involved: There are endless ways parents can support their children and Maize Schools, including by volunteering in the classroom or at your child's school, by joining your school's PTO or Site Council, and by getting involved with the Maize Education Foundation. Learn more about the Foundation below, and contact your child's school for other opportunities.

9. Get ready for success! Our district-wide state assessment scores are higher than the state median across-the-board, in each of our grades and in every content area. And a n average 83 percent of our graduates go on to pursue a college education at public and private institutions in Kansas and across the nation.

We look forward to great things in the 2016-17 school year at Maize Schools!
Online Bulletin Board

cellphone_laptop.jpg 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.

Maize South High School student places at National Speech and Debate Tournament
Maize South High School senior April Taylor was the 5A state champion in Humorous Interpretation and was the state runner-up in Dramatic Interpretation. April also placed 20th  in the nation out of more than 250 students at the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Salt Lake City this summer.

Maize Board of Education members recognized her and other state champions during their July 11 meeting.

Congratulations to April! 
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. 

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.

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.


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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.

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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 jwheeler@usd266.com for more information.
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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.
Thanks for checking out our Summer Bookmobile!

Thanks to all involved in another year of our r oving Maize USD 266 Summer Bookmobile, which this month made a series of stops in Maize and Northwest Wichita to promote summer reading.

The program is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Maize Education Foundation.

Anyone who still has Bookmobile books checked out can return them at their earliest convenience to the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize. Thank you!



Superintendent's Message
Major improvements in store 
for OneMa1ze in 2016-17

BY CHAD HIGGINS 

       
The countdown to the first day of school is on. We have been training new teachers, enrollment is in full swing, and school supplies dominate displays in stores throughout our community. 

The new school year will have many important developments for Maize USD 266 as we continue to work to keep our students and employees safe, improve our policies so they are fair and efficient,  and live our mission to connect, learn, and lead.

Following are a few of the big changes we will introduce this 2016-17 school year:

Student placement: Members of the  Student Placement Policy Team met for the ninth time this week to  finalize a recommended policy that will guide which schools our students attend in future years.  

Maize Board of Education members will receive a recommendation during their 7 p.m. Aug. 8 monthly meeting at the Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize.  That will include strictly a policy and not maps or boundary lines, and board members have indicated that they will not take action on the policy that evening. 

Policy team members especially have given careful thought to potential transition options. They have worked for months to ensure that their recommended policy to the Maize Board of Education is palatable for families, neighborhoods, and our community and is something the district can manage in the immediate and long-term future. 

The transition period will be important, no doubt, but so will implementing and maintaining a consistent policy. We will aim to keep class  sizes balanced throughout the district.

The current student placement policy is not one we can logistically sustain, as our current enrollment growth pattern would have us filling up one high school. We cannot continue to grow the student body in one building while underutilizing another.  We realize that any change or new policy cannot possibly make e veryone happy but strongly believe that a change will allow for an improved educational environment and community climate.

Maize USD 266 is in a  unique situation, addressing this issue several years after opening our second high school. W e do not have neighborhood schools, and our smaller high school is located closer to where the vast majority of our students and their families live. 

It certainly is a puzzle, but one that will have a good solution: Our students will be placed in classrooms with talented and caring teachers who will strive to help each individual reach his or her full potential. 

I appreciate the many, many hours that the Student Placement Policy Team -- made up of parent volunteers, staff members, students, and two board members -- has provided through this process. 

Crisis planning:  Earlier this summer, staff members from every  school in our  district attended training that taught and 
stressed safety in our schools. When our teachers and staff members return soon to prepare for the upcoming year, they will receive new safety resources that will guide them in the event of a crisis, natural or otherwise. They will be better-educated and even more prepared on how to keep your children safe while they are in our care. This is our top priority. 

Efficiency: Maize USD 266 has been working with the  Kansas Legislative Post Audit on an efficiency audit for the past year. We are sharing the full report with our community and appreciate and respect the outside opinion the process has invited. I will work with district leaders and the Maize Board of Education this year to further evaluate suggestions to continue to make our district more efficient. That is not an easy task given the work that we and districts statewide have been doing in recent years to accommodate ongoing reductions in state funding.  We will continue to value resources in the classroom and balance our goals with our fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers. But we also do not want to lose sight of the fact that cheaper doesn't mean better. We value a quality education.

I look forward to my second year here at Maize Schools and, while I may no longer be "the new guy," I can't wait to meet more students and more families and to celebrate more successes with you. I am certain there will be many.

Sincerely,
  
Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Maize Board of Education update 
 
Student Placement Policy Team 
to present recommendation Aug. 8

After careful study of options related to how Maize USD 266 places its students in its five elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools, members of the Student Placement Policy Team are scheduled to present a recommended policy to the Maize Board of Education during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 8.

The recommendation will include strictly a policy and not maps or boundary lines. It  will be presented as information only, as board members have said during previous meetings that they do not plan to take action on the policy on Aug. 8, allowing them time to review it in depth.

Maize USD 266 will communicate the recommended policy to parents following the Aug. 8 school board meeting. 

Superintendent Chad Higgins explained to board members during their July 11 meeting that t he policy team --which  consists of parent volunteers, staff members, students, and two board members -- has spent countless volunteer hours studying the topic, m ost recently devoting special attention to  a phased transition plan.  The policy team  does not intend to recommend moving all students, including high school students.

Find agendas, meeting minutes, and contact  information at  www.usd266.com/schoolboard .

District to host annual budget hearing

financial-planner.jpg Members of the Maize Board of Education during their July 11 monthly meeting directed administrators to proceed with developing and publishing the budget for the 2016-17  school year. The board's annual budget hearing will be at 6:15 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Maize Educational Support  Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize. The regular monthly meeting will follow at 7 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public.
District completes efficiency audit with Kansas Division of Legislative Post Audit; final report available online

Earlier this week, Superintendent Chad Higgins met at the Kansas State Capitol in Topeka with the  Kansas Legislative Post Audit   Committee, a  bipartisan group of five state senators and five state representatives, regarding an efficiency audit of Maize Schools.

The yearlong audit process included site visits, interviews, meetings, and research and  culminated with a final report, which is available in full by clicking here. Maize USD 266 was randomly selected to participate in the audit process, which state law requires to involve three public school districts of various sizes across the state each year.

During the past year, Maize administrators have worked with the audit team to identify potential efficiency opportunities to save money. 

The report includes auditors' suggestions, divided into categories of options that would have little to no, moderate, or significant impact on students or the community. The district then was given the opportunity to formally respond to those suggestions. Maize USD 266 is under no obligation to implement the recommendations but, in some cases, has agreed to either pursue or consider suggested changes.

The recommendations include those related to staffing levels, employee compensation, school schedules, district boundaries and transportation, and policies. District officials also conducted extensive research, especially along the lines of staffing levels.

As Superintendent Higgins shared with lawmakers in his written response for the meeting Wednesday, it is important to invite inspection and scrutiny from multiple perspectives. Maize Schools will be  better for it in the long run. However, Higgins said that a superficial study of any aspect of the district or any other organization is not the same as a true in-depth analysis. 

Maize Board of Education members are aware of the data produced by LPA and district staff members as a result of the audit. Throughout the year, board members and district staff members will continue to analyze the data and make decisions based on what is best for our students. 

The process has allowed Maize Schools to showcase cuts and efficiency measures that already have taken place independent of the audit, steps that have saved taxpayers millions of dollars.

"Efficiency is important in  education, as with other organizations, but not as important as student learning, student safety, and a  positive work environment," Higgins said.

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.

This week: There is still time to request a 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 "Primary Aug. 2" on Section 5 of the form), and you'll be set to make your vote count in August.

Before you vote: 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 began 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 progressing quickly at Maize Middle School, updated rendering presented for Early Childhood Center 



Work that has been underway all summer at Maize Middle School is now even more evident to passersby. Crews poured the  slabs for the school's stage and mechanical room (pictured above) and began masonry work.  Restroom fixtures (pictured at right) are complete, and floor finishes are in the works.  The concrete footings have been poured for the stage in the  new cafeteria-auditorium. Soon, crews will build  walls there, and progress will become even more  apparent.  P roject leaders plan to film droid  videos every other week to document the project.

During the July 11 Maize Board of Education meeting, b oard members saw an updated rendering of the new Maize Early Childhood Center (pictured at right), which will feature  natural light and a design with young children in mind.

This summer's rain has slowed down the athletics addition at Maize South High School a bit, but the cafeteria expansion there has gone as planned. Project leaders hope to open that later this fall. Material covering the commons glass there serves as a protective feature during construction. 

At Maize High School, crews poured the concrete slab and footing for the north storm shelter and started to lay a double block wall. Roofing work also is in progress there.  For the Career and Technical Education center there,  a kitchen consultant will be helping design the layout for the culinary area. 

For athletics improvements, Hellas  Construction will be handling soccer fields, and AstroTurf will be doing baseball and softball fields at both  campuses. The work will provide Maize USD 266 with some of the best athletic facilities in the state.

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 www.usd266.com/bond .
Story time with Superintendent Higgins

Thanks to everyone who attended the July 5 story time with Superintendent Chad Higgins at MOXI Junction!

The second annual event drew students and community members, who listened to stories about Pete the Cat and construction.

The latter was a nod to the bond projects in the works throughout the district. As Higgins read to the children, "Load the dirt. Load the dirt. Scoop and swing and drop. Slam it down into the truck. Bump! Whump! Whop!"
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.
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.