Maize School District
    Connections - Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - October 2017 - OneMa1ze
In This Issue
Important dates
  • Nov. 20 through 24: No school, Conference Comp Day and Fall Break
  • Dec. 20: End of Term
  • Dec. 21-Jan. 3: No school, Teacher Work Day and Winter Break
  • Jan. 4: School resumes
  • Jan. 15: No school, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Nov. 7 election includes 
Maize Board of Education seats

The  Maize Education Association on Oct. 23  hosted a Maize Board of Education Candidate Forum at Maize Middle School. Candidates on the ballot for the Nov. 7 election are, as pictured from left:
  • Kate Doerksen (District 1)
  • Farris Jibril (District 2)
  • Richard Stiverson (District 3)
  • Joshua Belcher (District 3) 
Anyone with questions about the election or voting may call the Sedgwick County Election Office at 316-660-7100.

OneMa1ze students earn
impressive academic honors

Congratulations to Maize High School senior Sophia Shaar, left, and Maize South High School senior Cale Thimmesch! They each scored a perfect ACT score of 36.

Sophia and Brodie Gullic, Maize South High School senior, are among 25 Wichita-area students to be named National Merit Semifinalists.

Maize USD 266 is extremely proud of these significant academic accomplishments!
National award celebrates middle schools' commitment to student health, physical activity
Maize Middle School and Maize South Middle School this fall have received a 2017  Let's Move! Active Schools National Award. They were among only 24 schools in Kansas to earn the title. The award celebrates a  school's outstanding efforts and commitment to providing students with at least an hour of physical education and physical activity before, during, and after school on a daily basis.
Second organization selects Maize High principal
as administrator of the year

Congratulations to Dr. Chris Botts
Maize High School Principal, named an Administrator of the Year by the K ansas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and
Earlier this school year, Dr. Botts was named as Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative No. 618's Principal of the Year.
Thank you, bus drivers!

The State of Kansas earlier this month recognized School Bus Drivers' Appreciation Day. Did you know that Maize USD 266 school bus drivers transport 3,243 students a day? 

Welcome home reunion

One day in September, Maize South Elementary School second-grade student Xane was waiting for his mom to pick him up from school. He didn't know his dad, just off a plane and home from his U.S. Air Force deployment, would be there, too. Please click here to watch a video of their reunion, which has been viewed more than 27,000 time and shared 110 times on the Maize USD 266 Facebook page.
Find events, opportunities on
Online Bulletin Board

Maize USD 266's  Online Bulletin Board  is the place to go for information about upcoming events, fundraisers, and  other opportunities available through the district and partner agencies. Those interested also may sign up to receive e-mail updates when new information is added.  
District photo album
The  Rotary Club of West Wichita on Oct. 24 hosted Maize Superintendent of Schools 
Dr. Chad Higgins at Rolling Hills Country Club to hear more about the great things going on in the district.

Maize High School's large-scale "Menken Magic" recently featured music by famous composer Alan Menken and his songs from Disney's "Little Mermaid," "Hunchback of Notre Dame," and other scores.

OneMa1ze administrators rode a Blackhawk helicopter with the Kansas Air National Guard in September and learned more about the benefits they provide our students.

Maize High School science teacher
Stan Bergkamp hosted a breakfast watch party before school Sept. 15 so he and his physics students could watch Maize High 2007 graduate and  NASA 
 Flight Controller  Michael Staab 
as he guided the Cassini Grand Finale, NASA's years-long Saturn mission.

The Maize High School KAY Club recently hosted a dance with the  help of StuCo and ProStart. About  30 students and 30 residents and employees from The Oxford Grand Assisted Living and Memory Care attended.  Photo courtesy of Maria Loving.
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. Please call the Transportation Office at 316-722-0582 for more information.

Maize USD 266 also is looking for:
* food service workers.
* Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Paraprofessionals.

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.
Superintendent's Message
Feedback will be an important component 
of collective vision
Our students know they cannot improve without a healthy dose of self-reflection. They study before their tests, take their tests, and then review the answers they missed. They practice before the game, play the game, and then watch the film to celebrate well-executed plays and examine missed opportunities.

I have shared that Maize USD 266 is at the beginning stages of a large-scale strategic planning process that  will require similar introspection and self-examination. Just as our teachers and coaches work together with our students for improvement and success,  we want to have a conversation with our students and their parents, our community members, and our employees about what we do well and what we could do to be even better. We are curious about what we do that is most valuable for your child's future and the best things about your child's current school experience.

The careers of tomorrow may not exist today. When our current kindergarten students graduate in May 2030, we will send them on to post-secondary education and professions that use technologies our society has yet to dream up. 

With that in mind, our goal is for a strategic plan with  short-term and long-term components that is nimble enough to constantly adapt to emerging innovations, occupations and opportunities.

Maize USD 266 recently has  jumped a few important hurdles. We have  addressed policy issues that demanded our attention. With our OneMa1ze community's support, we are wrapping up a bond issue that is necessary for the growth of our district and the needs of our students. We are becoming  optimistic about the financial situation for public schools in Kansas through increased support.

We continue to concentrate on tasks for which Maize Schools has become known:  keeping up with our community's growth,  hiring the best teachers, and seizing new opportunities for our students. 

But just as we expect our students to do before the test or the game or in life in general, we want to strive to be better. 

That's why I'm asking you today to please begin to  think about what Maize USD 266 does best and how we can be better. You may consider topics including safety, social-emotional programs, academics, and other special initiatives.  We want to know w hat you would like to see incorporated into your child's current school experience. We will ask h ow we can better prepare your child for his or her future and career.

District leaders will request your feedback on these topics and others along the way as part of our strategic planning process.  We also will seek input from graduates,  those who are successful adults in a variety of  areas and industries, and those we could have better prepared for the world, whether on an academic or social-emotional level.

Before we set out on this quest, we first must make sure we know where we are now and where we want to be. Thank you in advance for your help navigating the process.

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Maize Board of Education update
District to begin placement process for eligible 8th-graders 

During their monthly meeting Oct. 9.,  Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Maize Schools, updated  Maize Board of Education members on the  district's plan to send information about high school placement to  families of eligible students. Those qualified to select a high school for the 2018-19 school year  must be current 8th-graders  who were enrolled in the district Oct. 24, 2016 when the board approved the new student  placement policy. 

The process will be conducted digitally this year with a targeted Dec. 1 deadline.  Please click here to access the Maize Board of Education policy in full. Eligible families can watch for an e-mail to come from the district in early November with complete details.

Board members celebrate
teacher's national recognition
Maize Board of Education members in October honored Pray-Woodman Elementary School teacher Crystal May. She is one of only five recipients nationwide of the NEA Foundation Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence 2018 and will be recognized in February in Washington, D.C. 

She and teacher Angela Knapp and a few of their students also spoke about the $10,000 grant they received last year from Virginia-based nonprofit group ASCD. It funded a teacher-led coaching model to help teach math in an innovative way. They and a few of their students explained how they approach math differently and the benefits of using data to drive a deeper conceptualization of math. The school has seen math proficiency improvements, and students are learning to love math.

Pictured above from left, Pray-Woodman Elementary School students Brandon Morales, Carson Levey, Connor  Levey, and Dani Hill with teacher Crystal May, Superintendent Dr. Chad Higgins, Principal
Nils Gabrielson, and Vice Principal Karen LaMunyon. (Also pictured in back: Maize Board of
Education President Matt Jensby and Vice President Dr. Jeff Jarman.)

District moves forward on new  valedictorian selection process

graduation_cap.jpg Board members in October reviewed a draft of a Maize USD 266 Valedictorian Selection Process,  accessible by clicking here. Board
consensus was for the district to move forward with the plan, but members did not take any action.

District and high school administrators  have been researching this topic and reviewing the district's
practice, which is that the student of each high school with the highest weighted GPA is named valedictorian. The second highest is named salutatorian. 

The new process offers the opportunity to be recognized as  valedictorian and salutatorian both to students who have attended a Maize USD 266 high school for all four years and to those students who  have transferred into the Maize School District who have earned grades with  weightings in courses not offered in the Maize district. 

The board meets next at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize. The meeting is open to the public.  Find agendas, meeting minutes, and contact information at .
Bond issue update

Work continues on Maize Career Academy, transportation center

Crews have been busy finishing projects near 45th and 119th streets in Maize that are part of the June 2015 bond issue. The Maize Career Academy (pictured at right) is scheduled to open in January to Maize High School and Maize South High School students. The academy will house Career and Technical Education and Pathway programs.

Also visible from 119th Street is a  metal structure that will serve as the transportation driver and administrative building. The block structure inside of that building is the storm shelter area. Asphalt paving has started on the driver and maintenance parking lots. A vehicle maintenance shop is being constructed to the east side of the current maintenance building. The plan will include bus parking that will cover the front portion of buses,  reducing the need for drivers to scrape bus windows. Each stall will have an outlet to plug in block heaters. The bond project's cost is $4.8 million.

In September, Maize Board of Education board members gave a nod to a plan to use bond funds to build a simple game field with bleachers and lighting on the  Maize South Middle School campus. There also will be a renovation to the Maize Middle School track and the use of  sod rather than turf at the Maize Middle football field. This plan will alleviate a number of logistical challenges  with middle school fall sports. The Five-Year Capital Outlay Plan also includes a parking lot expansion at Maize South Middle School . These changes will provide each middle school with their own home game field.

Maize USD 266 appreciates the community's continued support on the bond projects. You can learn more about the bond vision by visiting our bond resource page at .
Maslow's Pantry a free resource
for entire OneMa1ze community

Maslow's Pantry is a students-helping-students program that provides food, hygiene items, and clothes to students, their families, and others in our community.

The pantry is in the building in front of Maize High School that formerly served as the police station. Maslow's respects anonymity and depends on donations. Students visit to select items they need.

In OneMa1ze spirit, two Pray-Woodman Elementary School  students in September donated $156.50 they raised by running a lemonade

How you can support Maslow's Pantry:
Others interested in helping can deliver donations to the front office at Maize  High, 11600 W. 45th St. North in Maize.  Needs include dried boxed food, personal hygiene items, and  prom dresses. A local business will dry clean and alter gowns for Maslow's prom  dress exchange, which started last year and aims to be even larger this spring. Thank  you for your support!

Pictured above from left, Maize High School senior Madeleine Gillispie, senior Megan Paul, teacher Sherry Pfeifer, junior Emma Bise, and sophomore Abigail McCoy (who also helped design the logo above) with Pray-Woodman Elementary School third-grade students Evelyn Tran, left, and Preslie
Complete High School gaming curriculum boosts attendance
Maize USD 266's alternative high school, Complete High School Maize, has seen positive gains this semester after introducing its own innovative gaming curriculum believed to be perhaps the first of its kind in the nation. 

The program is a vehicle to teach students other skills, including web design, HTML, and social skills like teamwork. 

The school featured its new program during a recent Kansas Department of Education convention at Century II in downtown Wichita. Students spent time explaining the program to other educators, journalists, and even Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education, pictured in center above.

Teacher Mike Russell explained how the curriculum provides an avenue for his students to attend college, having the opportunity to fill spots on collegiate gaming teams while earning degrees in any area they choose. The class has boosted school attendance this year.  Please click here to watch recent coverage of the program on KAKE-TV .
Maize native Alexander shares musical talents with students

Thanks to a grant the City of Maize received, Maize Middle School jazz and concert band students were invited to work with the acclaimed Maize native Glenn Alexander and the band Shadowland in September. The band has traveled the globe and performed with huge names in the music industry. Together, Shadowland and Maize students talked about music theory and timing and the love of music. Many students also performed along with the band during a free community concert. Please click here to see additional photos from the workshop. To watch a video from the workshop, please click here.
Shop via Amazon Smile to support the Maize Education Foundation 

Foundation Logo 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 nearly $35,000 in instructional, technology, and enrichment grants to Maize USD 266 teachers to supplement their classroom and school resources.
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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.