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Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - April 2019
Superintendent's Message
Momentum drives Maize USD 266 forward on important key issues

BY DR. CHAD HIGGINS 

Greetings!

As we find ourselves in the final term of our 2018-19 school year, I continue to be excited about the momentum of so many important issues. I would like to update you on those today:

Facilities and growth: To accommodate the student enrollment growth we continue to experience, manage class sizes, and meet student needs, the district is adding 27 new instructional positions for 2019-20. Recent action by the Kansas Legislature ensures adequate and consistent funding for the next several years and provides the district with the confidence needed to add these teaching positions.

Looking ahead further to our future, the facility committee continues to review options for a potential bond issue, which may include updates to Maize High and Maize South High schools, as well as safety and security upgrades and construction of two new intermediate schools for grades 5 and 6.

The committee is considering the option to include an auditorium and swimming pool. Needs also are space for special education and a Complete High School Maize storm shelter. A new development is that a legal opinion related to the bond cap imposed by the Kansas Legislature has created a queuing system for districts seeking bond funding approval. This has forced the district to accelerate the timeline to seek approval for a bond election and not risk delaying construction of necessary facilities another year.

With support from the Maize Board of Education, we have updated the timeline for board members to consider a plan, with the first formal review of a facility proposal on April 22 and a potential adoption of a bond proposal in early May, perhaps during a special meeting. Please click here to watch a recent KAKE-TV news story about our growing district and our need for additional space .

I appreciate your ongoing support. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please e-mail facilityplanning@usd266.com.

OneMa1ze, OneVision: There has been much work with our strategic plan going on across the district in recent weeks and months since our Maize Board of Education approved the plan in November. The chairpersons of our 16 focus teams have been meeting with members who represent various buildings, departments, and perspectives to identify goals and action steps in our following four key areas:
  • World-Class Academic Preparation
  • Professional, Civic, and Social Development of Students
  • High-Quality Employees
  • Responsible Operations

We currently have about 100 people involved throughout the district and will continue to engage others. We view this process as an ongoing initiative to make OneMa1ze the best it can be for our students, employees, and community. The overall strategic plan does not have an end date, as the work will continue as needed and as we reach various successes and identify additional needs.

This work continues to represent the vision and desires of our employees and our community, in part as shared via last year’s ThoughtExchange online survey. This work has developed from a plan that initially began to take shape in 2018 thanks to the work and insight from a large, comprehensive group from our greater OneMa1ze school community. Please click on the OneMa1ze, OneVision logo below to access our strategic plan summary sheet.

Thanks to all involved and for your going support of our district.

Sincerely,

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Your opinion needed in state Parent Perception Survey
To address needs of current and future students, the Kansas State Board of Education wants to know: How do you as a parent or guardian define success for your child? 

If you are the parent or guardian of a child 18 years old or younger, please click here to take a short survey. Thank you for your feedback.
Mark Your Calendar
Important dates
April:
  • 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

May:
  • 7: Last day of school for seniors
  • 9: Maize South High School graduation, 6:30 p.m., Hartman Arena
  • 10: No school, Professional Development Day
  • 12: Maize High School graduation, 6:30 p.m., Wichita State University's Koch Arena
  • 22: End of term and last day of school
Reminder:
No school
April 18 & 19
Maize Board of Education Update
Student music instrument rental fee, adult school lunch cost to increase in 2019-20 school year while other school fees remain unchanged
During its regular monthly meeting April 8, the Maize Board of Education approved curriculum and food service fees for 2019-20. Most fees are unchanged. The fee for use of district-owned musical instruments will increase from $70 to $100 a year to help cover costs, including maintenance. The adult lunch cost will change from $3.60 to $3.75.
Maize, area districts reviewing possible changes to special education
On April 8, Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools, provided a special education report to Maize Board of Education members. He explained that member districts of the Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative are considering a new organization of three separate cooperatives.

Under this plan, which would aim for more efficiency and effectiveness, Maize USD 266 would partner with Renwick USD 267 to form a cooperative. The process has several steps it must clear first, including majority approval by the special education board, which consists of a board of education member from each of the Interlocal’s nine member schools.
Board members celebrate employees for their life-saving heroism
During the April 8 Maize Board of Education meeting, board members recognized Maize South Elementary School Nurse Stephany McClellan and Para Glen Shafer for saving the life of fourth-grade student Keegan Dalton.

In January, Keegan was choking on a chicken nugget during lunch and could not breathe. His heroes took turns administering the Heimlich maneuver until they successfully dislodged the nugget, allowing Keegan to breathe.

Maize South Elementary School Principal Meg Thimmesch told board members that several other people helped, including a classmate who went to get water, students who remained calm, and an employee who called 911.

Keegan’s mother Kristina Dalton, a Maize substitute teacher who was working in the school that day, was present at the board meeting to celebrate the happy ending of a critical situation.
Maize High School Cheer recognized for ongoing support of veterans
Maize High School Cheer gave a presentation during the April 8 Maize Board of Education meeting about its ongoing support of Kansas Honor Flight.

This includes themed football games and welcoming veterans home from visits to Washington, D.C. In some cases, they are homecomings veterans never received.

For information on how to join Maize High Cheer to welcome home veterans, click here to visit the Kansas Honor Flight website.

Herb Duncan with Kansas Honor Flight said the students’ patriotic support helps veterans with the healing process.
Maize High School Cheer gave a presentation April 8 to the Maize Board of Education about its support of U.S. veterans and the Kansas Honor Flight. Volunteers with the organization attended the meeting and thanked the cheerleaders for their work to raise funds and awareness.
Next meeting: The Maize Board of Education meets next at 6 p.m. April 22 with the City of Maize at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize. Its next monthly meeting will be at 7 p.m. May 13 at the same location. The meetings are open to the public.
District deploying one:1 Chromebooks in middle schools next year
In line with the district's five-year technology plan, the Maize Board of Education on April 8 approved the purchase of 2,100 Chromebooks for $420,000 for Maize Middle and Maize South Middle schools for one:1 deployment. As occurred this year with high school students, this will allow the district to pair middle school students with lightweight and affordable laptop-type devices designed primarily with web access and digital sharing in mind.

This is the latest step in the district's ongoing commitment to connect students to the vast world around them with the help of technology and resources. Secondary students then have the opportunity to use district Chromebooks in the classroom and at home to delve deeper into hands-on multimedia learning. The device will accompany the student rather than the student seeking out the device. Our students will have the ability to more easily access creative learning in a variety of formats. The district has worked for years to reach this point, building infrastructure and professional development for teachers to support this move.
Shining Stars
Five Maize schools earn national character education designation
Congratulations to Maize Central Elementary School, Maize Middle School, and Maize South Middle School for each being named a Capturing Kids' Hearts National Showcase School!

Vermillion Elementary School and Pray-Woodman Elementary School received the designation again this year after winning it in the past.

The award comes from the Flippen Group, which developed the program, which emphasizes teachers' and staff members' connection and relationships with students, as well as social-emotional learning that welcomes openness and acceptance. The award recognizes schools across the country that have demonstrated through the program improvement in attendance, discipline, climate/culture, or academics.
Teacher named Golden Apple winner
Vermillion Elementary School kindergarten teacher Erin Packer was named a recent winner of the KAKE-TV Golden Apple Award!

Thanks to KAKE,  Project Teacher , and  Davis-Moore Auto Group  for r ecognizing her! Project Teacher donated $1,000 of school supplies to Mrs. Packer's classroom. Please click here to watch KAKE's news piece about the surprise award .
Celebrating Excellence in Education Award
Congratulations to the Maize USD 266 2019 Celebrating Excellence in Education winners!

They have been recognized by their peers and administrators as professionals who use effective strategies for improving student performance, interact positively with parents and patrons in the community to promote education, provide leadership and mentoring to fellow teachers, and work as a team player in the district to provide quality educational experiences for students.

Kristen Dooley and Amy Hammett also have been selected as the district's nominees for the Kansas Department of Education's 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year.
Celebrating Excellence in Education Support Staff Awards
Congratulations to the most recent winners of the 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. Nominees were surprised with a recent visit from Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools, at their workplaces.
Maize High School Para Tina Kiley
Also pictured from left: Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools; and Maize High School Principal Dr. Chris Botts
Maize South High School System Administrator Marlon Rios
Also pictured are Maize South High School Principal Dave Hickerson, Director of Technology Clark Fichtl, Dr. Higgins, and Maize USD 266 technology staff members
Vermillion Elementary School Custodian Cheryl Rogers
Also pictured from left: Vermillion Elementary School Assistant Principal Marney Hay, Dr. Higgins, and Principal Michael Dome
Bus Driver Karen Znamenak
Also pictured: Director of Transportation Becky Andrews, Maize South Elementary School Reading Interventionist Shelly Jennings (who nominated Karen), Dr. Higgins, and student passengers
Maize Education Foundation Update
Spring Breakfast event raises more than $14,000 to support USD 266
A huge thank you to everyone who attended, sponsored, and/or supported the March 28 inaugural Maize Education Foundation Spring Breakfast event, which raised more than $14,000 to support educators and students!

It was a special morning with friends new and old as we celebrated successes and partnerships, honored a dear friend, and challenged OneMa1ze to continue to work together toward what is best for our students.

Guests enjoyed breakfast provided by the Maize Career Academy Culinary Arts program, met the students and teacher who make the Complete High School Maize General Store possible, and listened to Foundation Executive Director Travis Bloom; Dr. Chad Higgins, Maize USD 266 Superintendent of Schools; and Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education.

Thank you also to the students who helped create such wonderful and clever centerpieces for the inaugural event.

We'd like to recognize and thank these major sponsors:
  • Presenting Sponsor Hutton
  • Gold Sponsor Textron Aviation
  • Buffet Sponsor Credit Union of America
  • Red Sponsor City of Maize
Around School
Kansas Commissioner of Education visits Maize USD 266 schools
Thank you to Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education, for speaking at the  Maize Education Foundation  inaugural Spring Breakfast March 28 and then visiting Maize USD 266 schools and speaking with employees and students! 
Maize South High School utilizes grant money to create calming room
Maize South High School this school year received a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas' Habits for Life program to create the new Mav-lows Calming Room at the school. It is a multi-purpose space for students to cope with stresses or anxiety, regulate their emotions, and return to the classroom, ready to learn.

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.