Maize School District
    Connections - Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - September 2017 - OneMa1ze
In This Issue
Important dates
  • Sept. 28-29: Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • Sept. 29: No school, Conferences
  • Oct. 13: End of term
  • Oct. 16: No school, Professional Development Day
  • 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
Aerospace engineering students begin to build airplane

Maize High School and Maize South High School students in our aerospace engineering class have worked this semester already to inventory airplane parts as the first step in the work to build a flyable plane, a project that will take all school year. 

It is taking place at Maize South now but will move to the Maize Career Academy once it opens later this year. Professional mentors in the community will join the students to lend their expertise.

Use of student info in the media and in district publications
and social media

Information that may be shared with the news media or used in district publications or on district social media platforms, including official Maize USD 266 district Facebook and Twitter, is limited to participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, school activities, honors and awards received, grade level, and photographs.

Parents/guardians have the right to refuse or permit the designation of any or all of the above information for use in the media or in district publications (via both print and digital platforms), including official district social media accounts. Parents/guardians who do not want this information published must file written notification with Lori O'Toole Buselt, Director of Communications, Maize USD 266, 905 W. Academy Ave, Maize, KS 67101 by Sept. 25, 2017. 

If you do not file a refusal, Maize USD 266 assumes you have no objection to the release of the above information for media or district publicity purposes. 

If desired, please click here to access the Parent Request to Withhold Student Information from Use in Media form.
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 phone numbers and e-mails listed in Skyward Family Access "Family 1" and, when applicable, the primary contact in "Family 2."

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.
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

Maize High School Cheer on Sept. 8 welcomed home a Kansas Honor Flight at  Eisenhower National Airport. Please click here to watch a Wichita Eagle video of the event featuring freshman Melanie Pereira singing. Later that day, the Eagles celebrated a patriotic-themed night, including recognition of U.S. veterans and a fundraiser, during its home football game.

On Sept. 8, Maize South High School students involved in football, dance, cheer, and marching band were featured on  KWCH, Channel 12's "Where's Shane?" morning program with  Shane Konicki, a Maize High School Class of 2007 graduate.

The Aug. 21 solar eclipse allowed students across the district to learn more about our sun and moon and have an exciting learning activity.

Trevor McChristian, 2013 Maize High School graduate and star of Music Theatre Wichita "Newsies," visited the choir at his alma mater in August. He and co-star Melissa Steadman Hart spoke about skills needed in music theater and how practice, preparation, and -- above all, kindness -- are components students need to succeed in any industry. The Wichita Eagle and KAKE-TV covered the visit.

Maize South Elementary School students participated in Lighthouse Assemblies to kick off another year as Lighthouse Leaders. The school's new lighthouse structure was a focal point of the events. Last year, the school was the first in Kansas to be named a Lighthouse School by the Leader in Me organization, which emphasizes FranklinCovey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
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
With a nod to our veteran and new employees alike, we set our sights on student success
On the day before the first day of school a few weeks ago, all of our teachers and staff members gathered for a special Convocation. We celebrated our colleagues reaching milestones of 20 years of service or more in their careers with Maize USD 266 and heard from VIP guest Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education.

Congratulations to Maize South Middle School teacher Randy Mark, pictured at right, whom we 
honored  for his 35 years as a OneMa1ze teacher. His was the biggest milestone celebrated this year.  The tremendous commitment from him and his colleagues is  another example of what makes our schools and school community so special. 

During Convocation, we also welcomed a large group of new teachers (pictured below), and we are excited to have them as part of our OneMa1ze school family.  As I shared during Convocation, we get the best, we keep the best, and the expectations will be high because of our talented veteran educators

Dr. Watson (pictured at right at Maize High School) spoke about goals for the Kansas Department of Education, which aims for our state to  lead the world in the success of each student. A successful  Kansas high school graduate, he said, has obtained both academic and non-academic skills to propel their futures. Our graduates need  academic and cognitive preparation, technical and employability skills, and civic engagement. 

Dr. Watson said that  Kansans want, among other items, quality preschool and collaboration between schools and businesses.  He said that Kansans have reported that changes need to be made to address school culture and to reorganize schools around the students, not the educational system itself.

We have been fortunate to be able to address preschool needs via our new Maize Early Childhood Center school building and school-business engagement via our new maize:connect and Maize Career Academy programs, all thanks to our June 2015 bond issue. 

We will have the opportunity to address additional visions, many that will mirror the values and needs Dr. Watson highlighted, during our strategic planning process this year.  I shared during Convocation that I welcome goals under the themes of:
  • a collaborative culture.
  • providing a place for each student.
  • innovation. 
  • building connections.
To make sure all of our students are successful, we must ensure that each is successful now. 

Thank you for your support as we continue into our 2017-18 school year. We have exciting work to do and times ahead.

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Employee awards

Elementary teacher Crystal May wins national award for teaching excellence
Pray-Woodman Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Crystal May, one of only five recipients nationwide of the NEA Foundation Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence 2018, was surprised with a reception last week.

She will be recognized in February at a gala event in Washington, D.C.  May was one of eight 2017 Kansas Teacher of the Year Finalists. Last year, along with fellow Pray-Woodman Elementary School teacher Angela Knapp, she received a $10,000 grant from Virginia-based nonprofit group ASCD for their teacher-led coaching model to help teach math in an innovative way.

Pictured above from left: Maize High School Reading Specialist and Maize Education Association President Amy JensenKansas NEA Secretary-Treasurer Kimberly Howard, KNEA President Mark Farr, May, KNEA Vice President Sherri Schwanz, and Horace Mann Assistant Regional Vice President Rob Curtis.

Two teachers recognized at Kansas Teacher of the Year Region IV Banquet

Maize South Middle School teacher Andrea Burnett and Maize Early Childhood Center Teacher CoCo Bontrager were recognized Sept. 9 at the Kansas State Department of Education's Kansas Teacher of the Year 2018 Region IV Banquet. Burnett also was recognized as one of only three of the region's Kansas Teacher of the Year Secondary Semi-Finalists.

Pictured above from left: Maize South Middle School Principal Gillian Gaskill Macias, Burnett, Bontrager, and Maize Early Childhood Center Principal June Rempel.
Bond issue update

Coffee & Crayons community event celebrates unveiling of new Maize Early Childhood Center preschool building

Maize USD 266 employees were proud to host a  Coffee & Crayons community open house event Aug. 31  at the new Maize Early Childhood Center. Guests toured the building, mingled with educators and other community members, enjoyed coffee and cookies, and  watched a video about the new school. (Please click here to watch it, too.)

A special thanks to our student and alumni volunteers, donors, vendors, and others who made the event possible. And t hank you, #OneMa1ze community, for making this dream come true! Please click here to see a full list of donors and additional photos from the event.

Bond work that remains to do through the district involves athletics facilities, including concession stands, restrooms, and the track at Maize High School. The Maize Career Academy is scheduled to be completed in December, with classes starting there in January. Work on the new Transportation Department began in August and will continue this year.

You can learn more about the bond vision by visiting our bond resource page at .
Maize Board of Education update
Graduate honored for sharing drone video filming, editing skills with district

Maize Board of Education members during their Aug. 14 monthly meeting recognized Maize South High School 2017 graduate Dominick Decker of Apollo Sky Films. He used his knowledge of filming and editing drone videos to document the district's  bond project progress. (Please click here to watch his videos.) He also documented the district's OneMa1ze Walk during the May 5 employee wellness fair .

Board approves 2017-18 budget 
with slight drop in residential taxes

Board of education members met Aug. 14 for a budget hearing, during which Director of Finance Steve Williams presented budget details. He explained how Maize USD 266 patrons will realize a very slight drop in residential taxes, with the district's mill rate dropping .039. Commercial and agricultural land owners will see a small decrease in taxes, as well. 

The district's mill rate remains competitive with other area public school districts at 60.542, which includes one mill for the Maize Recreation Commission.

Through careful spending and financial planning, the district has worked to maintain and provide the highest quality education for students through several years of state budget cuts and freezes. Under Senate Bill 19 that is still pending the Kansas Supreme Court ruling, the district will realize an operational budget increase this year. Among other things, that will help pay for the previously approved employee compensation and operations of the expanded Maize Middle School, Maize Early Childhood Center, Maize Career Academy, and Maize South High School special education addition.

With area growth and development, the assessed valuation of the Maize USD 266 community has increased $24 million, or 6 percent. This is a good change but does affect district state aid, as that is figured based on assessed valuation per pupil on a sliding scale.

The board meets next at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 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
Maize Education Foundation news

Annual Foundation golf tournament eclipses event fundraising record

The event is the 501(c)3's single largest fundraiser to support Maize USD 266 and fund instructional, technology, and enrichment grants for our teachers and students. 

Thanks to the many sponsors (including Presenting Sponsors Hutton Construction and Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture), golfers, volunteer board of directors, and everyone who made this great event possible. 

Foundation Logo
The Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization,  awarded nearly $35,000 in teacher grants in May  and more than $240,000 since its inception. This total includes thousands of dollars in Student Enrichment Grants to send  students to leadership camps, national seminars, and more. Recent winners participated in  American Legion Boys State of Kansas, Business Professionals of America National Conference, and Mountains and Minds Touring Orchestra. 

Thanks to all who support the Maize Education Foundation!

Foundation accepting Student Enrichment Grant applications

Maize USD 266 students in grades seven through 11 are invited to apply for a Maize Education Foundation Student Enrichment grant of up to $500 to help pay for an academic/leadership seminar, workshop, fine arts camp, etc. Applications are due Oct. 17. The Foundation has committed to awarding up to $5,000 each semester. Please click here to apply and to access complete details.
Thank you, Fill the Bus donors!

Maize USD 266 joined Chick-fil-A at 21st Street and Maize Road for its 5th-annual school supply drive on Aug. 11. The drive helps our students in need be prepared for the school year. 

Maize USD 266 had such tremendous support that the district collected the most supplies of participating school districts, allowing the district to  win a free catered meal for all the teachers and staff members at Maize Central Elementary School.

Thank you, OneMa1ze community, for your support! Items donated included spiral notebooks, scientific calculators, backpacks, markers, hand sanitizer, and other items.

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.