Maize School District
    Connections - Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - October 2016 - OneMa1ze
In This Issue
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Important dates
  • Nov. 23-25: No school (Thanksgiving Break)
  • 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)
Fall Maize Messenger

 Please click here to access a digital copy of our Fall Messenger newsletter, which includes photos and information about our students' successes a message from Superintendent Chad Higgins about how we all are part of Maize Schools' rock-solid foundation.

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.  
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.
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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 .
District photo album


Kansas Anti-Bullying Awareness Week took place earlier this month, and our elementary schools and their students and employees joined together in OneMa1ze fashion to show support against bullying by wearing blue.


Superintendent Chad Higgins spoke with parents and volunteers at the annual District Site Council meeting Oct. 3.


Maize South High School had its Homecoming Parade on Oct. 7.


Maize High School graduate and Project Teacher Director
Terry Johnson, left, delivered donations to elementary school teachers earlier this month. 


A few Maize Early Childhood Center preschool students dressed up as future careers earlier this month. One dressed as Maize Superintendent Chad Higgins.


Pray-Woodman Elementary School hosted Muffins with Mom recently, inviting mothers to enjoy school breakfast with their children before class.
Superintendent's Message
Important work on student placement policy continues this month with meetings

BY CHAD HIGGINS 

       
I am extremely thankful for the time, work, and ideas that so many in our community have devoted in recent months as we continue to fine-tune a proposed student placement policy.  We have made great progress on the issue this school year. 

During this month's Maize Board of Education meeting on Oct. 10, m embers reviewed the updated student placement policy proposal. Please click here to read it in full .

As written, elementary students would be placed as they are now, in any of our elementary schools and following older siblings. Fifth-graders would attend boundary-assigned schools next year. Middle and high school students would return to their current schools until they advance to high school or graduate. Secondary students new to the district would attend boundary-assigned schools. All students attending our middle schools this school year would preference a high school during their 8th-grade year. 

Board members have indicated interest in taking action on a student placement policy separate from a boundary map, which a team of administrators and I are developing. 

Board members will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20 to hear community feedback about the policy and again at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 to potentially vote on the policy and see a recommended map. Both of these meetings are open to the public and will take place at the Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize.

We also have scheduled two community meetings, during which parents and neighbors can share feedback and ask questions about the boundary map. Those meetings will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 in the auditorium at Maize South High School, 3701 N. Tyler Road in Wichita, and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2 in the auditorium at Maize High School, 11600 W. 45th St. North in Wichita. These meetings are informational meetings, not Maize Board of Education meetings, and no official vote or other action will be taken.

While a new policy of this magnitude cannot please everyone involved, please know that what is best for all of our students has been a driving goal for  our Student Placement Policy Team volunteers (including students and parents), our Maize Board of Education members, and our employees working on this policy change. All involved have read parent e-mails and feedback that you have been sending us. We are listening and will continue to do so.

Thank you for your support and feedback  as we continue to work on this  crucial project that will strengthen the future of Maize Schools.

Sincerely,
  
Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Maize Board of Education update 
 
School board considering revised student placement policy proposal

During the Oct. 10 Maize Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Chad 
Higgins provided an overview of the proposed student placement policy, an update and amended version of  the draft the Student Placement Policy Team presented in August. 

The group met twice to discuss  the changes, which were options members had considered several months ago. At that time, it had not seemed  feasible based on enrollment projections. New data and current enrollment figures, including an overall growth  of only 25 students year-over-year (a smaller number than projected), changed that.

Middle school students new to Maize USD 266 visited with middle school administrators during One Stop Enrollment this year to learn which school they would attend.
A key change in the proposed policy is a transition plan that would allow all students attending Maize USD 266 middle schools this school year to select a high school of preference during their 8th-grade year. Those 8th-grade students could choose Maize High School or Maize South High School as a preference. Eighth-grade students who do not indicate a preference would be assigned to a high school by administration as space allows. Students with younger siblings would be placed in their boundary-assigned high school, enabling them to be in the same path as their younger siblings. 

Students currently in 5th grade and younger would attend their boundary-assigned middle and high schools starting next year, regardless of where their older sibling(s) attend(ed). For the next three years, the district would encourage 8th-graders to consider this when choosing their high school of preference in the case that they want to attend the same high school as any younger sibling(s). 

Transfer requests would be considered for middle school students only for placement during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. If a returning middle school student is attending the middle school not in his/her boundary, he/she could request to transfer to his/her boundary-assigned school for the 2017-18 and/or 2018-19 school years.

The proposed policy does not include continuing with middle and high school legacy, the practice in which younger siblings follow their older siblings' paths through middle and high school. (Elementary school students would continue to follow older siblings' elementary school path.)  Higgins explained that including secondary  school legacy with boundaries would make enrollment numbers difficult to predict and manage.

Higgins explained that the policy team considered a K-12 feeder system, in which two or three elementary
schools would be tied to a specific middle and high school. There are challenges with that option, including the risk of imbalanced elementary classroom sizes throughout the district.

Higgins and board members discussed a timeline for the board to consider the policy and related boundary map. He explained that the high schools devote much time in the spring semester to class enrollment and related tasks. The timeline would be for board members to have a meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 to hear community feedback and then meet Oct. 24 to consider action on the proposed policy. Members have not yet looked at any potential maps but could do so during the Oct. 24 meeting. Administrators are developing a map that, among other factors, addresses building capacities and the balance of student demographics.

There also will be two community meetings, during which parents and neighbors can share feedback and ask questions about the boundary map. Those meetings will be at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 in the auditorium at Maize South High School, 3701 N. Tyler Road in Wichita, and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2 in the auditorium at Maize High School, 11600 W. 45th St. North in Wichita. These meetings are informational meetings, not Maize Board of Education meetings, and no official vote or other action will be taken.

Find Maize Board of Education agendas, meeting minutes, and contact  information at www.usd266.com/schoolboard.
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.  Tuesday, 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 next week on 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 www.usd266.com/vote  or call the Educational Support Center at 316-722-0614.
Bond issue update 

New drone videos show a month of progress on bond projects district-wide

Maize Middle School expansion, Sept. 1

Maize Middle School expansion, Oct. 4

During the Oct. 10 Maize Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Chad Higgins gave a bond construction update. He said that the new Maize Early Childhood Center has hit a few delays, mainly related to challenges with inspections and paperwork. There also are fiber lines running under the entrance to the new site that may cause a delay.

Higgins also shows a new video with drone footage by Maize South High School student Dominick Decker, via his company Apollo Sky Films. The new video compares construction project progress from Sept. 1 and Oct. 4 at Maize Middle School, as shown above, as well as from our Maize Early Childhood Center and Maize South and Maize high schools. Please click here to watch itDecker has been working with Hutton Construction to document the bond project as work continues. Click here for a recent Wichita Eagle article about Dominick and his business.

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 .
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 Amazon.com as usual, and Amazon will make a donation to support the Foundation. To sign up or learn more, please visit smile.amazon.com.

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 was Maize Central Elementary School teacher Courtney Merseal. Her instructional grant "Individualizing Kindergarten Centers with iPads" provided $977.98 to allow her kindergarteners to use student-friendly applications and activities designed for their age group during classroom guided reading and math tier time.

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.