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Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - June 2019
Superintendent's Message
A closer look at the safety features in our district's upcoming bond issue election



Our OneMa1ze community often hears me say that our No. 1 priority is the safety of our students and employees. In this era of school safety, our Facilities Planning Committee of parents, students, and other community members and our Maize Board of Education agree with employees and members of our district's Crisis Committee that Maize USD 266 must seek to continually upgrade what we are providing right now in terms of school safety.

I hope by now you have had a chance to learn more about the bond plan that our community voters will consider on Aug. 27. It is a vision for growth, safety, and opportunity that will have zero impact on the local tax levy but big changes for students. Part of this bond issue, like the district's OneMa1ze, OneVision strategic plan, focuses on safety:

  • Improved access control and security cameras: The district has an outdated building access control system and outdated security cameras. The current access control system does not allow the capability for the district to monitor exterior doors that may be jarred open and operates on an antiquated platform. The current video surveillance system performs below its capacity due to limited server space and lacks many of the features available today. The bond would help close gaps in coverage.

  • More secure classroom doors: Teachers currently use magnets as a way to quickly lock their classroom doors in the event of a school emergency. Upgrades to classroom locking capabilities will provide staff members and students with an increased barrier should the need arise.

  • New storm shelter: Complete High School Maize, the district's nationally award-winning alternative high school, does not have its own storm shelter. In inclement weather, students and educators must leave their school and flee to take shelter at a neighboring district building by going outside and into potentially harmful and threatening severe weather.

  • Secure swimming space: Without a district swimming pool, the Maize High School and Maize South High School swim teams practice at the Greater Wichita YMCA's northwest location. While the YMCA is a great community partner, students share practice spaces, as well as restrooms and locker rooms, with the YMCA’s membership. This does not provide the safety and security Maize USD 266 desires for all of its students.

  • Safer elementary school playgrounds: Our kindergarten through fifth-grade students spend their recesses on play spaces that have gravel, sand, and mulch. Windy days mean scratchy eyes, a fall may mean splinters, and rocks in shoes are a daily occurrence for some. The bond plan would provide rubber pellets and irrigated grass and comparable, comfortable environments at each of the five elementary schools.

I encourage you to visit www.usd266.com/bond for additional information about the bond issue. Please note that safety-related issues are included in both question No. 1 and No. 2 in the bond issue. Also, please be aware that the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election is Aug. 6.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Maize USD 266.


Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Are you registered to vote?

The deadline to register to vote in the Aug. 27 bond issue election is Aug. 6.

For those interested in casting a ballot, make sure you are registered to vote. (You can click here to check.) If you have moved or changed your name, you must re-register. Click here for a printable voter application. You also may choose to request an Advance Voting Application from the Sedgwick County Election Office to vote by mail.

For more information, call the Sedgwick County Election Office at 316-660-7100.
Mark Your Calendar
Important dates
Please note that Maize USD 266 will have a staggered back-to-school schedule as follows:
  • Aug. 13: First day of school for kindergarten students with last names beginning with letters A through M only and all students in grades 1 through 5, 6, and 9.
  • Aug. 14: First day of school for kindergarten students with last names beginning with letters N through Z (students with last names beginning with letters A through M do not attend this day). All students in grades 1 through 12 attend.
  • Aug. 15: All students attend.
Super Story Time
Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Maize Schools, invites the #OneMa1ze community to join him as he reads a children's story or two at MOXI Junction, 319 S. Park in Maize, for the annual summertime Super Story Time event. It will begin at 10:30 a.m. July 2. The event is free and open to the public.

Maize Board of Education Update
System will bring new features to district's school bus fleet for added student safety

Maize Board of Education members during their regular monthly meeting June 3 approved the $117,800 purchase for transportation GPS with student tracking and notification software. This will be a safety enhancement that will assist the district and families.

The equipment will include new cameras and rider management system for buses, as well as a parent communications component. The system also will assist with driver training. Please stay tuned for additional information to come to parents.
Thank you, retirees!

The Maize Board of Education on June 3 honored retirees who have made a difference in the community for years. Collectively, they devoted more than 300 years to education. Congratulates to each of them.

A few recent retirees, pictured from left: Susan Thoman, Deb Phillips, Laurie Koci, Joni Ketter, and Kathy Killingsworth.
Culinary arts students, teacher cook up success on national stage
Congratulations to the OneMa1ze culinary arts program! Students were state champions at the 2019 Kansas ProStart Invitational March 6 in Wichita and advanced to compete in May at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C. They also won scholarships for various places as a result. Teacher Cara Poole was honored there as the Kansas ProStart Educator of Excellence.

The ProStart program at the Maize Career Academy connects students to the hospitality industry, through opportunities to meet and work with industry members, scholarships, and mentorships.  

For competition, students worked in teams to create a menu and had 60 minutes and two butane burners to make all of the dishes. Teams were judged on safety and sanitation, teamwork, skill level, taste, and appearance. Dishes were presented to members of the restaurant industry, and cost sheets and menus also were judged. Management teams created a business concept, including everything from menu to pricing to advertising, then presented all aspects of their concept to a panel of industry judges. 

Pictured: Maize Board of Education President Dr. Jeff Jarman and his fellow members on June 3 recognized Mrs. Poole and state champions, from left, Maize High School incoming seniors Madison Beemiller and Olivia Bishop and Maize South High School graduate Courtney Downs . Not pictured: Maize High School incoming seniors Michaela Birkholz and Cassie Onwugbufor , Maize High School graduate Caitlin Gooding , and Maize South High School graduate Alex Palmer .
Next meeting: The Maize Board of Education meets next at 7 p.m. July 8 at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize. The meeting is open to the public.
District News
Current Student Registration for 2019-20 school year
On July 15, current student registration will reopen for any student who was not registered in May. Parents will be able to see their child's schedule/teachers o nce registration is complete and the approval process is completed, which will occur within one to three business days. Athletic packet forms, fee payment, and food service payment processing also will be available at this time.

Contact our enrollment hotline at 316-350-2050 or e-mail enrollment@usd266.com  for help with enrollment. Please hold questions concerning schedules or teacher assignments until Aug. 1 when school building personnel are available. We look forward to learning with your child in the 2019-20 school year!
Shining Stars
Complete High School Maize teacher named Lowell Milken Center Fellow
Complete High School Maize teacher Heidi Albin will devote a week this summer as a fellow with the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott. There, she will participate in Unsung Heroes projects with students who together will study stories of role models from throughout history who have impacted the world. The center is an international educational non-profit organization. Albin and other fellows were selected as educators who have set themselves apart by teaching respect and understanding. In 2017, she was named a Milken Educator and, among other roles and contributions at Complete, teaches students character education by implementing innovative programs, including a therapy dog program and a community garden.
Maize High School science teacher wins Wolfe Family Teaching Award
The University of Kansas School of Education in May recognized Maize High School's Stan Bergkamp as one of three outstanding teachers and winners of the Wolfe Family Teaching Award. Winners were nominated by KU seniors, and former Maize High School student Elizabeth (Ellie) Hardesty nominated her former science teacher, writing in part that Bergkamp "inspires me to learn and grow every day, even four years later."

Recipients each received a cash award of $3,000, and their high schools each received $1,000. They were honored during KU's Commencement.

Pictured: Mr. Bergkamp with KU School of Education Dean Dr. Rick Ginsberg.
Congratulations to Maize High School graduate Caleb Grill, who was the 5A state champion in high jump, with a jump of 6 feet, 8 inches.
Congratulations to the Maize High School state champion 4x100 relay team, who won first place with a time of 42.96 seconds.

Pictured from left: incoming seniors Caden Cox and Andrew Hanlin , graduate Brandle Easter , and incoming senior Preven Christon .
Maize Education Foundation Update
Choose your way to help make the Annual Golf Tournament a success
The Maize Education Foundation 2019 Annual Golf Tournament presented by Hutton is just a couple of months away. Tournament committee members are shooting for a record this year and hope to raise $45,000 at the Aug. 19 event, at Reflection Ridge Golf Club in Wichita, to support the students and educators of Maize USD 266. Here are ways to help:
  • Volunteer: Help run on-course competitions.
  • Donate: Help offset the costs of hosting the tournament.
  • Sponsor: Sponsorship opportunities are still available!

Visit www.maizeeducationfoundation.org to learn more about the tournament, or contact Executive Director Travis Bloom at travis@maizeeducationfoundation.org to find out how you can help make this tournament a success!
Around School
Community invited to 2019 Solar Fest event to celebrate project completion
OneMa1ze community members are invited to Solar Fest 2019, a free event at 6 p.m. June 27 to celebrate the completion of the solar project at 45th and 119th streets in Maize. The event is free and open to the public and will feature live music and Freddy's Frozen Custard and Kona Ice available for purchase.

Thanks in part to the generosity of donors, the 740 solar panels installed this spring and summer is one of the region's largest privately owned solar power systems and will produce enough energy to power 80 percent of the nearby Maize Career Academy . The effort is part of the Maize Solar Initiative championed by Maize High School science teacher Stan Bergkamp. Click here to read recent coverage in The Wichita Eagle .

OneMa1ze reaching out
Maize USD 266 administrators spent a few hours in late May volunteering at Wichita Habitat for Humanity through United Way of the Plains. Building and district administrators, including school principals and assistant principals, learned and worked together to frame walls for the Women Build home. Participants were grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community.
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 $17.25 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:
  • Preventative Vehicle Maintenance Technician
  • HVAC Maintenance Technician
  • Bus drivers
  • Transportation Maintenance Assistant
  • Food service workers
  • Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Paraprofessionals. For this position, please click here to apply.

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.