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

Important dates
  • Dec. 16: End of Term 2
  • Dec. 19-Jan. 2: No school (Winter Break/Teacher Work Day)
  • Jan. 3: School resumes
  • Jan. 16: No school
  • 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

(Thanks to the Maize Early Childhood Center for the artwork above.)
Inclement weather,
snow day notifications
With the arrival of cooler weather, it's a great time to remind our families of our practice for announcing school dismissals and cancellations.

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.

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."
Maize South High School cross country wins state
The Maize South High School boys and girls cross country teams earlier this fall took the state titles, and team members were featured on KAKE, Channel 10 for their inspiring demonstration of character : After winning the state titles, they took their new trophies and stopped by the home of Becky Birdsell, the widow of their former coach Alan Birdsell, who passed away in June.

Congratulations to Coach  Jason Parr, Assistant Coach Brian Hutton, and all of the runners for an incredible season!
Maize USD 266 participants in
Put Students First Week

In honor of Put Students First Week earlier this month, Maize USD 266 visited with a few of our future leaders at the Maize Early Childhood Center, which serves children from birth to age 5. Please click here to watch video to see what they had to say.

Put Students First Week aims to promote the understanding of education issues and encourage civic engagement.
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.

Maize South High School will perform "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" on  Dec. 1, 3, and 4.

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 .
Complete High School Maize serves up its biggest feast yet

Complete High School Maize, Maize USD 266's nationally award-winning alternative high school, on Nov. 22 hosted its largest Thanksgiving Feast in the school's history. More than 400 supporters, law enforcement officials, and community members attended. Thank you to all who attended and helped with the event!

Superintendent's Message
Now is a great time to refocus, reprioritize, and celebrate the big picture we all believe in
It has been quite the fall season, from the policy changes in our school district to the eventful election and everything in between.

And just like the stereotypical family holiday dinners that come to mind this time of year, there can be those moments and discussions and decisions in which those around the table may not exactly see eye-to-eye.

At work or at home, our perspectives and experiences give us different insights and opinions. We may not all be on the same page, but we know we each are part of a story we believe in.

This bigger picture encourages us to reprioritize and gives us the motivation to continue to work hard together. We realize what's important and keep our focus on those things we agree need to be a priority.

We knew tackling our new student placement policy, for instance, wasn't going to be easy. We have had many ideas and viewpoints along the way. As with other situations, I have appreciated the feedback we have received from staff, parents, and community members.

I believe the end product is something we all can be proud of. It brings us to a new era for Maize Schools that will allow us to focus on strategic planning, goal-setting, and many other exciting projects that meet one goal we can all get behind: Maintaining excellence and providing further improvement for your child's school and education.

Implementing a new student placement policy is a small step, but an important one, as we march forward in our quest to provide the absolute best education we can for our students.

Thank you for your continued support.

Thinking back once again to those family holiday dinners, I can't wait to see what the next course will bring.


Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Maize Board of Education update 
District working to implement new student placement policy; resources available to assist families, community

The Maize Board of Education on Nov. 14 unanimously approved the district's new boundary map, finalizing the new student placement policy.

The district has mailed  packets to families who have decisions to make regarding various exemptions during the policy's transitional implementation phase. 
A reminder that the deadline for most decisions is Dec. 14, 2016.

Parents who expected to receive a packet in the mail and have not can contact the Maize Educational Support Center at or 316-722-0614.

The district has developed resources to help families and the community navigate the new student placement policy. Please click here to access a web-based boundary map that allow users to search for school assignment by home address, answers to common questions, a flow chart to help guide families through options, a copy of the boundary map, and a description of the boundary lines (including a breakdown by neighborhood).

During the Nov. 14 school board meeting, Superintendent Chad Higgins  reviewed the process the district used in creating the proposed boundary and the community meetings  that followed earlier this month. The map seeks to address several factors, including school building capacity,
the district's geography, current and future growth, current enrollment, transportation, demographics, in and
out migration (the rate at which our students enter and leave our schools), yield rates (the number of students
our community tends to produce by neighborhood), and clarity. The boundary and new placement policy over
time will better equalize the socioeconomic balance of our students, specifically between high schools.

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. Dec. 12 at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave., in Maize. Meetings are open to the public.
Bond issue update

New drone video shows month  of bond progress on projects district-wide

D uring the Nov. 14 Maize Board of Education meeting, Hutton Construction and Schaefer, Johnson, Cox, Frey Architecture presented a bond update.  They showed a new drone video by Maize South High School student Dominick Decker, which compares bond progress over the course of a month. Please click here to watch the video

Concrete panels for the Maize Early Childhood Center storm shelter now are standing vertically. Work on the median in front of the new school will be complete early next month.

Maize South High School recently opened its Commons addition (pictured at right), and work remains on the expansion to add a conference room, teacher work room, and small conference room for counseling. The school also will have new special education space on the north end and new fine arts storage space.

Thanks to the mild fall weather, work has progressed rapidly at Maize Middle School (pictured above), including the addition of a roof. The new area to the north, including administration space, should be open during Spring Break. Work on a new locker room on the school's south side is scheduled to begin in January. Nearly every room will be upgraded in the building as part of the bond project by next August. The school will get new Project Lead the Way space (for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), with a classroom and dirty lab located where the kitchen is currently. 

The north addition at Maize High School (pictured at right) should be open this month. The school now has a new rooftop air conditioning unit and will get a new batting cage soon. Crews are laying turf for the baseball and softball fields there and have been working lately past dark to take advantage of the good weather. Similar work is in progress on fields at Maize South High School.

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
Pray-Woodman Elementary School teacher Crystal May honored as Kansas Teacher of the Year Finalist

Congratulations to Pray-Woodman Elementary School teacher Crystal May, who was recognized during the Nov. 19 Kansas Teacher of the Year event in Wichita. She was one of eight teachers statewide to be a finalist in the Kansas State Department of Education program.

Mrs. May (pictured in center above) now will collaborate with her fellow finalists to represent public teachers statewide in a variety of ways, including public presentations, classroom visits, and other initiatives aimed to improve schools, student performance, and the teaching profession.

She and Maize South High School teacher Mark Bradshaw  were honored in September as Kansas Teacher of the Year nominees.

Superintendent Chad Higgins, several members of the Maize Board of Education, and Maize Schools teachers and administrators attended the banquet.

Mrs. May is the next in a series of elementary-level finalists Maize Schools has produced in recent years. Also pictured above with her and Mr. Higgins are  Vermillion Elementary School Assistant Principal Marney Hay, left, a 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year Finalist; and Maize South Elementary School teacher Shelly Jennings, a 2016 Kansas Teacher of the Year Finalist.
Pray-Woodman teachers win $10,000 grant for teacher-led coaching model

Pray-Woodman Elementary School teachers Angela Knapp, left, and Crystal May have won $10,000 for their grant  Peer Coaching to Implement Effective Teaching Strategies. 

The Teacher Impact Grant comes from the  ASCD, the nonprofit Alexandria, Virginia-based organization, formerly  the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 

The Maize USD 266 project will create a teacher-led coaching model that will allow teachers to collaborate with certified math trainers and master teachers to help build conceptual understanding of grade-level standards.  The program is part of Teach to Lead, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, ASCD, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Earlier this month, Mrs. Knapp and Mrs. May traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. Congratulations to them!
Support Maize Education Foundation by shopping via Amazon Smile portal

Did you know that by using Amazon Smile you can contribute to the Maize Education Foundation at no additional cost to you?

Maize Schools supporters can shop on as usual, and Amazon will make a donation to support the Foundation. To sign up or learn more, please visit

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  Vermillion Elementary School's Christy Paul Jenny Nash, Pam Wood, and Megan Bish. They received  $4,996.77 for the instructional grant A'Maize'ing Integrations.

This grant purchased kits, theme boxes, activity cards, book sets, and more for science, social studies, math, and reading. These resources will support teachers in their efforts to intertwine standards and enrich the curriculum their classrooms already are teaching. 

Thanks again to the Foundation and donors who make this and other grants possible!
Consider these stats in light of recent School Bus Drivers' Appreciation Day

Maize USD 266 recently observed School Bus Drivers' Appreciation Day. The following are statistics about the district's top-notch transportation department, which has more than 70 employees who:
  • drive 38 big buses on double routes each day (76 total routes).
  • drive 11 kindergarten routes at noon.
  • drive 16 mini buses on special education routes.
  • drove more than 750,000 miles last year.
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.