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Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - January 2020
Superintendent's Message
As OneMa1ze surges into our new Roaring 20s, we reflect on an amazing decade
BY DR. CHAD HIGGINS 

Greetings!

As the first month of 2020 already is slipping away, some experts still debate whether this year is the official start of a new decade. Regardless, the 20s represent a new chapter for Maize USD 266. Before we get too far into it, I'd like to reminisce with you a bit about some of our accomplishments in the past 10 years. This is by no means a "best of" list, but these are highlights we can celebrate together.
 

  • maize:connect: This program, which gained steam publicly in 2017, is a vision to strengthen and formalize community connections. The Maize Career Academy especially has grown opportunities for students and their education by connecting businesses and professional mentors, resulting in increased shadowing opportunities, mentoring, and more in a more robust way thanks to the intentional relationships we have fostered.
 
 
  • Growth: Our OneMa1ze community is an attractive one to many, as we have seen rapid growth in recent years, growing more than 10 percent in the past decade.
 
  • Increased safety: Part of the 2019 bond issue will be the addition of added security measures to schools and classrooms, the latest in a series of efforts throughout the past several years. In 2016, the district organized a safety committee to review and update our crisis preparedness plans. The outcome of this work included lockdown drills and “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol. Our district also continues to use the Speak Up anonymous tip program and encourages our students and community to say something if they see something.
 
  • Student support: This school year, Maize has added additional Student Support Specialist positions. These employees serve in a coaching role for teachers, allowing them to become even more effective instructors for our students. Schools have been using Capturing Kids Hearts, Second Step, and other programs to build relationships with students and give them the tools they need to be successful. Also new this year and thanks to a state grant, two behavioral health professionals are working as school liaisons for middle and high schools. They link students and their families to local mental health agencies and needed resources. Among other initiatives that support our students are our OneMa1ze Support Network, Mental Health Initiative, and Superintendent Student Advisory Team.
 
  • Character education: We continue to prioritize teaching our students to be good people via our homegrown Maize Way character education program, among other efforts. Our schools have been recipients of multiple state and national character education awards.
 
 
  • Maize Virtual Preparatory School: Maize's virtual school was founded in 2011, providing personalized digital and blended learning to students. It is like no other virtual school in the state of Kansas. Students are required to attend live sessions online with their instructors. In addition, no grade below a C is recognized or accepted. Learn more at maizevirtualprepschool.com.
 
  • Secondary boundaries: The process was not an easy one, but in 2016, our Maize Board of Education approved the district's first secondary boundary lines, dictating which middle and high school schools our students attend. Among other benefits, the process provides predictability for families and more consistent growth predictions for the district.
 
  • Elementary school mascots: Ending on a more lighthearted note, our elementary schools last year selected official mascots, a new avenue to further create school identities and school pride. School logos are being developed now.
 
It is good to look back together as we prepare to look forward at what the next 10 years will hold for us. Thank you in advance for your support.

Sincerely,

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Mark Your Calendar
Important dates
February:
  • 12: Parent-Teacher Conferences, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • 13: No school and Parent-Teacher Conferences, noon to 8 p.m.
  • 14: No school, Conference Comp Day
  • 17: No school, Professional Development Day

March:
  • 13: End of Term Three
  • 16-20: No school, Spring Break

April:
  • 10: No school, Professional Development Day

May:
  • 12: Last day for seniors
  • 14: Maize South High School graduation, 6:30 p.m., Century II
  • 17: Maize High School graduation, 6:30 p.m., Wichita State University's Koch Arena
  • 20: End of Term Four and last day of school
2019 Bond Project Update
Large-scale bond issue projects now have preliminary design plans
During the January Maize Board of Education meeting, Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools, provided an update about the following bond projects in the works. He also showed these plans for the intermediate schools and aquatorium (pool and auditorium facility), results of input from teachers, staff members, administrators, and architects.

Intermediate schools: On Dec. 23, the Maize Board of Education had a special meeting, and members approved a $300,000 real estate purchase of property northwest of 45th and 119th streets for land for the north intermediate school. This purchase will provide added flexibility and cost savings. The schools are designed to be expandable as growth demands and will be as good or better than expected. The schools, which will offer the same programs, will be similar in design with different exterior facades.

Aquatorium: The pool-auditorium center will include two pool spaces, one with shallower water and zero-entry and another with a deeper space for diving. Seating for fans will be above the pool deck. Locker rooms will be underneath the spectator seating. The auditorium will have a large stage and orchestra pit and and will be two stories with a balcony and seating for more than 1,200 people. It will have a large lobby area for crowds and multiple uses. Professionals will utilize separate mechanical systems to allow the pool and auditorium to be in the same building without causing humidity and other problems. Dr. Higgins said spaces may be rented out and that a plan is being developed to include employee health and wellness space using Capital Outlay funds.

Infrastructure: Leaders are collaborating with the city of Maize on infrastructure, including sewer, roadways, and the intersection of 45th and 119th streets.

Safety: Regarding safety and security components of the bond issue, the district is piloting secure locks, which will be installed in phases throughout the district. Designs are being finalized to construct a secure shelter at Complete High School Maize .

Other projects: Once the district gets enough work completed on the projects with time-sensitive deadlines, it will begin work on other bond projects, including the elementary school playground updates and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) labs.
ABOVE: Preliminary plans for the north intermediate school at 45th Street North and 119th Street in Maize.
ABOVE: Preliminary plans for the south intermediate school on 37th Street North west of the Maize Early Childhood Center in Wichita.
ABOVE: Preliminary plans for the aquatorium facility at Academy Avenue and 119th Street North in Maize.
Maize Board of Education Update
Maize USD 266 decides not to pursue Juul litigation
During the Jan. 10 Maize Board of Education meeting, Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools, recommended to the board that the district not pursue Juul litigation and instead will intensify work with student leaders and external organizations to better inform students, parents, and community members about the dangers and impact of vaping.

Those interested in learning more about Juul, vaping, and smokeless tobacco can visit the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Vape-Free Schools webpage.
Board members approve 2020-21 Maize USD 266 Calendar
The Maize USD 266 2020-21 School Calendar has been set, after gaining approval Jan. 10 from the Maize Board of Education. Access a printable PDF calendar by clicking here.

Highlights of the 2020-21 calendar include:
  • First day of school: Aug. 11
  • Parent-teacher conferences: Sept. 16 and 17, Feb. 10 and 11, 2021
  • Last day for seniors: May 11, 2021
  • Maize South High School graduation: May 13, 2021
  • Maize High School graduation: May 16, 2021
  • Last day of school: May 25

No school days in 2020-21 include:
  • Sept. 7 (Labor Day)
  • Sept. 17 and 18 (Conferences and comp day)
  • Oct. 12
  • Oct. 29 and 30 (Professional Development)
  • Nov. 23 through 27 (Fall Break)
  • Dec. 21 through Jan. 5, 2021 (Winter Break and Teacher Work Day)
  • Jan. 18, 2021 (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
  • Feb. 11 and 12, 2021 (Conferences and comp day)
  • March 15 through 19 (Spring Break)
  • April 22 and 23 (Professional Development)
Next meeting: The Maize Board of Education's next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 10. The meeting will be at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize. Meetings are open to the public.
Thank you, board members, for your service to Maize USD 266!
January is Kansas School Board Member Appreciation Month. Maize USD 266 would like to extend a special thank you to our board members who have spent countless hours of devoted leadership to OneMa1ze as elected and unpaid volunteers! We invite you to show your appreciation on social media by using the hashtag #ThankBOE.
Enrollment
Pre-K, Kindergarten enrollment night March 31 at Maize High School
If you have an incoming Pre-K or kindergarten student who will start school at Maize USD 266 in August 2020, please plan to attend our enrollment night, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 31 at  Maize High School , 11600 W. 45th St. North in Maize.
 
For incoming Pre-K families:  Maize USD 266 is excited to offer Pre-K to all children who live within the Maize School District.
 
Our Pre-K sessions are at our  Maize Early Childhood Center  on Monday through Thursday and use Pre-K reading and literacy curriculum, along with developmentally appropriate activities, and are taught by licensed teachers. If your child meets at least one of our state's at-risk criteria, there is no fee for the program other than the curriculum fee. If you would like your child to attend and he/she does not meet a criteria, a monthly fee applies.
 
Spaces are limited! Enrollment is first come, first served.  Learn more by clicking here  or by calling 316-722-3105.
 
For incoming kindergarten families:  If you have an incoming kindergarten student who will start school at Maize USD 266 in August 2020, please plan to attend the come-and-go enrollment night. Online pre-enrollment for kindergarten will be Feb. 10 through March 30 and must be completed prior to arriving at the March 31 kindergarten and Pre-K enrollment session. Please note that arriving early has no impact on your child's building assignment or class placement. 
 
For more information about kindergarten enrollment, please click here  or call the enrollment hotline at 316-350-2050.
Shining Stars
Six Maize schools are nominees for national character education award
Congratulations to the following Maize USD 266 schools, recently named 2019-2020 Capturing Kids' Hearts National Showcase School Nominees!


The award comes from the Flippen Group, which developed the program. It 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.
Maize High duo takes state in two-speaker debate

Congratulations to Maize High School's two-speaker debate 5A state champions! Pictured from left: coach Curtis Shephard , senior Brynn Nelson , and junior Jeannine Lopez . They debated teams from Salina and Topeka in the elimination rounds at the state tournament. 
Transportation Department names
monthly contest winners

Congratulations to the Maize USD 266 Transportation Department's January bus driver and para of the month, driver  Tracy Case, left, and para Linda Larson. We appreciate the work they do to safely transport our students to and from school each day!
Teachers receive $1,500 in total grants from Credit Union of America
Congratulations to the teachers who were recent recipients of Credit Union of America's TGIF-Teach, Grow & Inspire the Future grant program, which supplements the funding of classroom projects. The following Maize USD 266 teachers each received a $500 grant.
LeAnne Bryant, Maize South High School, Classroom Headphones/Holders
Sheryl Tillery, Complete High School Maize, Entrepreneurial Spirit
Stephanie Knutson, Maize Middle School, Outdoor Classroom
Around School
Pray-Woodman Elementary School planning 25th-anniversary employee reunion

Pray-Woodman Elementary School is hosting a 25th-anniversary staff member reunion on March 12. Current employees are reaching out to connect with former staff members for the event. Please click here for additional details. Reservations are requested but not required.
Student for a Day

As part of a district-wide initiative, educators including Maize South Middle School language arts teacher Shelbi Self spent a day recently shadowing students.

Educators in schools throughout the district participated in a range of classes, including physical education and fine arts, took tests, ate school lunch, and gained a unique perspective.
100 Days of School
Maize South Elementary School students and employees alike dressed to celebrate the recent 100th day of school for the 2019-20 school year.
Maize Education Foundation
Maize Education Foundation releases its 2018-19 Year in Review

The Maize Education Foundation would like to thank everyone who helps it in its mission to support the students and educators of Maize USD 266. The Foundation proudly shares its 2018-19 Annual Report, accessible by clicking here.
Annual Spring Breakfast fundraising event set for April 2 at Botanica in Wichita

The Maize Education Foundation is gearing up for its second annual Spring Breakfast event at 7:30 a.m. April 2. Special guests will include Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools; Legacy Honorees Deb Elliott and Dr. Craig Elliott; and students who will share their experience as Foundation grant winners in a panel discussion.

The event will be catered by the nationally recognized Maize Career Academy Culinary Arts students, and tickets are $50 each, available by clicking here.

All are welcome to attend to celebrate and support the Foundation and Maize USD 266!
District Reminders
See something? Say something! Speak Up tip portal can help
Safety is a top priority for Maize USD 266, and Speak Up is a tool in conjunction with the Crime Stoppers in Schools program in Sedgwick County that accepts anonymous tips to help keep students and schools safe. Click here to check it out.
Snow day notifications: Update contact information now
snowplow_big.jpg
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 the district has correct family contact information on file. To do so, please log on to Skyward Family Access and click on "Student Info." If needed, parents can contact their 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. When in doubt, the district encourages parents to verify school closings by consulting multiple official Maize USD 266 district sources.
New! Improved salaries and benefits
Join our team!
Interested in joining our Maize Schools team?

Open positions also include bus drivers and bus paras. Many openings are part-time jobs with full-time benefits, including:
  • Group health insurance 
  • Summers off 
  • Fall, Winter, and Spring breaks off
  • No evenings or weekends 
  • Bonuses

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.

The Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative has special education para positions open in Maize USD 266 schools, as well. Please click here to learn more.
#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.