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MAIZE unified school district 266
Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - November 2018
Superintendent's Message
A new perspective can provide a glimpse of the bigger picture for our OneMa1ze community



Last month, I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience: I took a flight in an airplane built by our students.

You may remember that our Maize High School and Maize South High School students, with the help of professional mentors, teachers, and instructors, spent the 2017-18 school year building an RV-12 plane, which we revealed in May at our new Maize Career Academy . Special thanks again to Airbus, TangoFlight, WSU Tech, and all supporters of the project. It truly was a OneMa1ze effort, and one highlighted recently in an Air Capitol of the World video, which you can learn more about below.

As I said the day of my flight, when I climbed into the plane they built, I have complete faith in our teachers and students and enjoyed their work. You can see nearby photos from my flight. Things really do look a little different when you can get a new perspective and look at the big picture.

The same can be said about s portsmanship and politics, both on the local and national levels: If we can focus less on opposition and more on support, we can create a more civil, more ideal, and more productive atmosphere for everyone. It is a complex balance of spirit and respect.

At Maize USD 266, we aim to work together to prepare children for their dream of success, to be the best version of themselves. OneMa1ze is not about an expectation that we all will be singing around a campfire together; it is much bigger than that. OneMa1ze serves as a focal point and constant reminder of that collective effort in cooperation between the district, parents, and the community.  The most import work we can do is together doing everything in our power to help our children become happy and fulfilled adults. It is critical that we stay focused on the idea that, in almost every way, we are more alike than different, regardless of job, age, or mascot.

There is value in competition and in differing opinions and perspectives. We occasionally field complaints about the enforcement of good sportsmanship and recently were challenged with an unpleasant and disappointing display of poor sportsmanship. Working with students, both competitors and supporters in the athletic arena, is another opportunity to teach. Sportsmanship rules basically exist to prevent the harassment of opposition and to prevent bullying. While we all should cheer for the teams and ideals we believe in, we can do so in a positive way that doesn’t debase others who wear a different jersey or have an opposing ideology. What we often forget in the heat of competition or debate, in triumph or defeat, is that all of us have made mistakes, have shortcomings, and have sought forgiveness or empathy.

Through these efforts and our Maize Way character education program, among other leadership and educational efforts, Maize USD 266 takes a stand against bullying. We believe it is important to support your own and, if possible, the other children and adults working to do good things for children. It seems to be a reasonable request to improve our own small piece of the planet, if not the world beyond our school district. Students, and sometimes adults, exhibit poor sportsmanship, and it is our responsibility to address it as a learning opportunity. Poor sportsmanship, similar to bullying, may never be completely eradicated from schools. But, we must remain vigilant in monitoring and teaching our children, as I was taught, to simply treat others the way we all want to be treated.

In May, I mentioned in my Connections Superintendent's Message that we created a Student Support Network of caring OneMa1ze community members who agreed to help meet needs of our families when they arise . We have utilized that support network recently, and, in doing so, have helped some of our fellow community members and ensured that a few of our students have a better chance to achieve success with us. Another initiative that has and will continue to involve community collaboration is our OneMa1ze, OneVision Strategic Plan, which you can read about below.

Even when there are divisions and differences that create a patchwork landscape, if we can take a deep breath and get just a bit of distance from the situation, that time, or our own perspective, we will see that the view of our community nonetheless really is quite spectacular.


Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Thank you for your civic engagement
In my newsletter message last month, I encouraged our OneMa1ze community to register to vote and participate in the November General Election, an election that had much at stake for Kansas public schools. Sedgwick County saw historically high turnout at the polls, and I want to thank all voters who exercised their civic responsibility.

Wonder how Maize USD 266 spends our dollars? Please click here to get a closer look at information and charts, including the 2018-19 Total Budget Expenditures pictured at right.
Mark Your Calendar
Important dates
  • 21: End of Term
  • 24-31: No school, Winter Break

  • 1-3: No school, Winter Break
  • 4: No school, Teacher Work Day
  • 21: No school, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

  • 15: No school, Professional Development Day

  • 8: End of Term
  • 11-15: No school, Spring Break

  • 17: Parent-Teacher Conferences, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • 18: No school & Parent-Teacher Conferences, noon to 8 p.m.
  • 19: No school, conference comp day
Winter Break
Dec. 24-Jan.4
Maize Board of Education Update
Board members approve OneMa1ze, OneVision Strategic Plan
District leaders will continue work on the new OneMa1ze, OneVision strategic plan in coming weeks and months. Thanks to community feedback from a Thoughtexchange online survey, a community planning session earlier in 2018, and the hard work of participants, Maize USD 266 will be focusing on the following areas:

  • World-Class Academic Preparation.
  • Professional, Civic, and Social Development of Students.
  • High-Quality Employees.
  • Responsible Operations.

Maize Board of Education members during their regular monthly meeting on Nov. 12 formally approved the plan. Please click here for additional information about the plan.
Next meeting
The Maize Board of Education meets next at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. The meeting is open to the public.
Additional Board of Education updates
  • TransNet sale: Board members on Nov. 12 accepted a $300,000 offer for the purchase of the former TransNet location on Tyler Road in Wichita, which has been for sale.

  • See Beyond Maize Solar Project: Board members also gave a nod to updates to Maize High science teacher Stan Bergkamp’s See Beyond Solar Project, which now includes plans for ground-based solar panels planned for west of the Maize Career Academy. The district will work with King Solar on a contract that would allow that company to invest in the project, partner with the district, and qualify for $120,000 in Federal income tax credit. The net cost of the project is $280,000. Thanks to the partnership, the budget for the project will be $100,000 less than originally planned. Bergkamp has raised $132,000 for the initiative, including $15,000 for a Cargill Cares grant; $9,000 raised by the Maize High Choir; $10,000 raised from an Earth Day auction; $78,000 in donations from alumni, parents, and students; and $20,000 from corporations. The remaining balance would be paid in monthly payments in the next six years and will save the district an estimated $3,260 a month in energy costs. In addition to the energy savings, the solar panels could be incorporated into district-wide curriculum.

  • March meeting: Board members approved the March regular monthly meeting to be at 7:30 a.m. March 4 at the Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. The regularly scheduled meeting on the second Monday of the month conflicted with the district’s Spring Break.

  • Kettlebells at PE: Pray-Woodman Elementary School physical education teacher Tom Buchanan and a few students shared about using kettlebells in class to teach strength training and cardio. The equipment purchase was made possible thanks to a grant from the Maize Education Foundation. A few students joined him to demonstrate some exercises they use the kettlebells for at school.
Shining Stars
Maize High School science teacher Amy Hammett was recognized Nov. 12 as the recipient of a $500 award from the Wendell G. Mohling Foundation, which supports high school science teachers by sponsoring their attendance at a national or regional science conference. Pictured from left: Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools; Foundation
Board Member Marlin Weyer; Carol Mohling, who started the foundation in honor of her late husband; Hammett; Foundation Chairwoman Kay Neill; and Dr. Chris Botts, Maize High Principal.
Maize Board
of Education President
Dr. Jeff Jarman, left, and
board members on Nov. 12
recognized Corey McDowell,
Maize South High School senior and one of only 25 National Merit Semifinalists from the entire Wichita area.
Maize Education Foundation update
Donate to the Maize Education Foundation's #MaizeChallenge by Dec. 3, and Heartland Credit Union will provide up to $2,500 to match your gift
 Thanks to everyone who supported the Nov. 27 Giving Tuesday #MaizeChallenge event ! The event was in partnership with the Maize Education Foundation and Heartland Credit Union.

So far, the #MaizeChallenge has raised nearly $750, and Heartland has generously agreed to match that, so in total, we’ve raised nearly $1,500 toward our $5,000 goal!

There’s still time for you to help us meet that goal! Between now and the end of the day on December 3, any donation -- online or in-person -- will still be matched 1:1 by Heartland Credit Union! Money raised will help support the students and educators of Maize USD 266.

So please bring your spare change and drop it in the bin at Heartland Credit Union at 3777 N. Maize Road, or visit www.maizechallenge to donate.

A little change can help us make big change for the students and teachers of Maize USD 266! Thank you in advance for your help.

Pictured from left at the Nov. 27 event: Heartland Credit Union Business Development Officer Tyler Harrison, Maize Councilwoman Karen Fitzmier, Wichita Vice Mayor Bryan Frye, and Maize Education Foundation Executive Director Travis Bloom.
Celebrating Excellence in Education Support Staff Awards
Congratulations to the first winners of our new Celebrating Excellence in Education Support Staff Awards! The award celebrates Maize USD 266 support staff members for the amazing work they do for the district and its mission of connecting, learning, and leading.  This award is intended for any non-teacher employee who works with Maize USD 266 students. (Teachers are recognized annually with the district's Celebrating Excellence in Education Awards.) Nominees were surprised with a visit from Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools, at their workplaces recently.
Maize Elementary School Kitchen Manager Jake Edwards , pictured with Director of Food Services Julie Shrewsbury.
Maize Middle School para Lacie Spain , pictured with Maize Middle School Principal Brian Thompson; Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools; and Maize Middle math teacher Pam Stallard, one of the employees who nominated her.
Maize Early Childhood Center custodian Jimmy Price , pictured with Maize Early Childhood Center Principal June Rempel and Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools.
Maize High School Registrar Kristi Olinger , pictured with Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools, and Maize High School Principal Dr. Chris Botts.
Around School
Maize High students welcome home veterans via Kansas Honor Flight
Did you know that Maize High School students regularly support the Kansas Honor Flight, an organization that provides trips for war veterans to visit memorials in Washington, D.C? Eagles were on hand at the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita to welcome home a recent flight. Thanks to our students and to our veterans!
Maize Central Elementary School teacher wins Golden Apple Award
Congratulations to Maize Central Elementary School teacher Laura Potter, recent winner of the Golden Apple Award. She was surprised with the news in her classroom and received more than $1,000 in school supplies. Thanks to sponsors KAKE-TV, Davis-Moore Auto Group, Lane Enterprises, and Project Teacher for recognizing our very deserving teacher!

Start your day
with school breakfast
Maize South Elementary School students welcome guests during a recent Breakfast with Mom event.
Maize USD 266 wants students to be hungry to learn but not hungry for food each school day. The district provides breakfast for students daily.

The district's Food Service Department serves 48,000 breakfasts each school year with the help of 60 employees.

Pictured above: Maize South Elementary School students welcome guests during the recent Breakfast with Mom event.
Complete High School Maize Thanksgiving Feast serves hundreds
About 400 guests attended the Nov. 15 Complete High School Maize 20th Thanksgiving Feast! Wal-Mart donated 16 turkeys, and the students and staff members prepared food. The meal included side dishes and pies, and the students learned about budgeting, math (multiplying recipes), speaking skills (to welcome guests), and more.

Students also practiced gratitude, as the event was a show of appreciation for all those who support the district's award-winning and nationally recognized alternative high school.

The students also demonstrated putting others first, as they worked through the two-hour event feeding the crowd before eating their own lunch.

OneMa1ze football
The Maize South High School Mavericks and Maize High School Eagles faced each other Nov. 2 at Maize High School. Congratulations to all students who played and participated.
Thank you, school bus drivers!
The men and women of the Maize Transportation Department daily drive more than 3,000 students on 76 separate bus routes to deliver our most precious cargo.

Please click here to watch a video produced to thank those employees in honor of the recent School Bus Drivers' Appreciation Day.
District program bolsters talent pipeline in Air Capital of the World
Maize USD 266 recently was featured in a video highlighting the role the district is playing in developing the aerospace engineering talent pipeline right here in the Wichita area, the Air Capital of the World. Please click here to watch the video.

Watch to see how Maize USD 266 is working with local partners and businesses for the sake of our students and community alike! Click here to learn more about our Maize Career Academy.
District accepting bids on farmland lease
Maize USD 266 is seeking competitive bids for a three-year lease of about 225 acres of farmland near 45th Street North and 119th Street. The term would run Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2021. Bids are due at 10 a.m. Dec. 17. Please click here for full details and the official request for proposals.
Winter Weather Reminder
Inclement weather, snow day notifications
A shovel is propped up on a snowy porch.
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 (www.usd266.com), official Twitter account (@maize266), and official Facebook page (Facebook.com/MaizeUSD266) 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."
School Safety
Speak Up! to keep #OneMa1ze safe

See something?  
Say something. 

Thank you for your help in making our #OneMa1ze community a safer place.
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 
  • Fall, Winter, and Spring break off
  • No evenings or weekends 
  • Bonuses

Click here to read three reasons to take the wheel and drive a school bus for Maize USD 266. Bus driver positions pay up to $15.25 an hour. The district also is looking for bus paras. Please call the Transportation Office at 316-722-0582 for more information.

Maize USD 266 also is looking for:

Come and work in our OneMa1ze community, supported by parents, graduates, and Maize and Northwest Wichita. This would be a great opportunity to participate in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.
#OneMa1ze www.usd266.co m

The mission of the Maize School District
is to inspire students to discover their potential through
connecting, learning, and leading.