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Maize USD 266 Parent Newsletter - November 2019
Superintendent's Message
Recognizing, thanking employees showcases OneMa1ze passion, talent

BY DR. CHAD HIGGINS 

Greetings!

It's the month of gratitude and counting our blessings, and, when it comes to the talented employees at Maize USD 266, that list of blessings is very long.
 
It is vital that we recognize the importance of employees by awarding them and affirming them, reminding passionate individuals in a variety of roles just how important they are to our OneMa1ze school community. We truly are stronger and better together, and we recognize that any employee can play an important part in the life and future of a student.
 
We are in our second year of our Celebrating Excellence in Education Support Staff awards, and we continue to honor four employee winners each quarter. Please see below for our latest winners, who were nominated by their peers. Since the program's inception, we have honored 20 employees selected from more than 200 nominations. The stories we hear are inspiring. One teacher nominated a bus driver who, hearing that one of her student passengers, a foster child, did not have any treats to take to school for a birthday celebration, purchased birthday treats and dropped them off at an elementary school for the child. We have recognized employees who work as a nurse, hardware specialist, paraeducator, secretary, and bookkeeper, among others.
 
Last year, working with my Superintendent Student Advisory Team, students encouraged their peers to thank teachers and Maize USD 266 employees who played a pivotal part in their lives, and we displayed their hand-written comments for others to see. They were touching and genuine and a good reminder of what motivated us to work in education in the first place.
 
Many of our departments and schools have their own systems and processes to affirm employees. The Maize USD 266 Transportation Department, for instance, recognizes a driver and para of the month, and we have celebrated the monthly winners so far this year here in Connections and on our official district Facebook and Twitter accounts.
 
We also have a OneMa1ze, OneVision strategic plan focus team looking at other ways to get you and members of our OneMa1ze community engaged and involved in appreciating our employees. This project supports our strategic plan to attract, develop, and retain high-quality employees. Our staff family is the foundation of our district, and we want to continue to strengthen that great foundation. We look forward to the rollout of this program later this school year. If there is a Maize USD 266 employee who has made a difference in your life and/or the life of your child, please do not wait to share with that employee the influence they have had on your family. It will be one more blessing for them to count this Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools
Mark Your Calendar
Important dates
November:
  • 25-29: No school, Fall Break

December:
  • 20: End of Term Two
  • 23-31: No school, Winter Break

January:
  • 1-2: No school, Winter Break
  • 3: No school, Teacher Work Day
  • 20: No school, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Maize Board of Education Update
Board of education selects Hutton to construct bond project facilities
Maize Board of Education members during a special meeting on Nov. 18 unanimously named Hutton as the Construction Manager at Risk for the Maize USD 266 2019 bond construction projects. The district has used this process successfully with past bond issues. The intermediate school design team met for its fourth time to continue creating the vision for the two fifth- and sixth-grade centers. The swimming pool and auditorium design teams each met separately once and will meet together this week to discuss shared spaces.
Next meeting: The Maize Board of Education's next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Maize Educational Support Center, 905 W. Academy Ave. in Maize. The meeting is open to the public.
OneMa1ze voters elect two new Maize Board of Education members
In January, two new board members elected during the Nov. 5 General Election will join the board: Shannon Edwards will represent the district’s southwest portion, and Heather Killpatrick-O’Conner will represent the district’s west/northwest portion. Incumbents Bruce Nicholson and Dr. Jeff Jarman will retain their seats. 

Maize USD 266 thanks Matt Jensby and Dr. Scott Crawford for their leadership and commitment to Maize USD 266. As always, thanks also to community members who got involved in the election by casting their ballot.
Maize Elementary School showcases Stop Everything and STEAM
During the Nov. 11 Maize Board of Education meeting, Maize Elementary School presented about its Stop Everything and STEAM program. Funded by a Maize Education Foundation grant, it introduces all of the school’s kindergarten through fifth-grade students to science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Students challenged board members to join them in building towers and programming robots. Please click here to see more photos from the evening . You also can click here to watch recent media coverage from KWCH .
Shining Stars
Parents as Teachers earns international Blue Ribbon designation
Maize Early Childhood Center's Parents as Teachers program recently earned the prestigious Blue Ribbon Affiliate, the highest designation from its parent organization as a standout for serving families and changing lives in the OneMa1ze community. Maize USD 266's program accomplished 100 percent of criteria.

The program aims to promote young children's ideal early development, learning, and wellness by supporting and engaging with them and their families with the belief that parents are a child's first and best teacher.

Congratulations to, pictured from left, Principal June Rempel, Lead Parent Educator Michelle McAllister, and Parent Educators Jana Kubik, Stephanie Simmon, Petrissa Palmer, Erin White, and Samantha Berry! This year alone, they support 160 children in our community, a nearly 26 percent increase over last year. They have visited the homes of those children more than 400 times already this school year to provide vision, hearing, and developmental screenings; encourage parent-child interaction; and support parents. They teach using research-based curriculum, connect families with resources in the community, and build lasting relationships.

Learn more about Parents as Teachers and/or register to participate at www.usd266.com/pre-k. Limited spots remain for this school year, and participation is free! You also can click here to watch a video about Parents as Teachers.
Celebrating Excellence in Education Support Staff Awards
Congratulations to our first round of 2019-20 Celebrating Excellence in Education Support Staff Award winners! The award honors Maize USD 266 support staff members for the amazing work they do for the district and its mission of connecting, learning, and leading. Winners were nominated by their peers. This is the district's second year for the quarterly awards.

Special thanks to the Maize Education Foundation! Executive Director Travis Bloom joined the recent surprises with a gift from the Foundation for each winner.
Head Custodian Carl Caldwell
Also pictured from left: Assistant Principal Carrie Thrash; kindergarten teacher and nominator Kara Loux; Principal Meg Thimmesch; Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools; Maize Education Foundation Executive Director Travis Bloom; Richard Bell, Assistant Superintendent, Personnel and Operations; and Dr. Karen Duling, Assistant Superintendent, Teaching and Learning
Maize Early Childhood Center Secretary Kelli Parson
Also pictured: Principal June Rempel; Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools; Maize Education Foundation Executive Director Travis Bloom; and many Maize Early Childhood Center colleagues
System Administrator Kevin Vu
Also pictured: Maize High School Athletic Director Eric Wolgast; Director of Technology Clark Fichtl; Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools; Maize Education Foundation Executive Director Travis Bloom; Dr. Chris Botts, Maize High School Principal; Elizabeth Parker, Coordinator of Secondary Education and Special Programs; Maize High School Assistant Principal Morgan Marsh; Maize High School Assistant Principal Craig Broadbent; and many technology colleagues
Para Jeanne Martin
Also pictured: Assistant Principal Megan Hemmerling; Maize Education Foundation Executive Director Travis Bloom; teacher and nominator Andrea Burnett; teacher and Maize Education Foundation board member Julie Eastlick; Assistant Principal Shane Paulus; Dr. Chad Higgins, Superintendent of Schools; Elizabeth Parker, Coordinator of Secondary Education and Special Programs; teacher and nominator Erin Loyd; Attendance Secretary/Receptionist and nominator Sherri Wright; and Principal Cort Haynes  
Around School
Preschool incorporates technology into meaningful, relational learning
Maize Early Childhood Center educators have an intentional approach to technology and screen time for preschool students, focusing on meaningful interactions with grownups to help them learn.

Maize Central Elementary celebrates veterans with assembly, song
On Veteran's Day Nov. 11, Maize Central Elementary School invited a few of their heroes to be honored with a school program and song. Please click here to watch a short video of their performance and here to see additional photos from the event. Thank you, Veterans!
New Teacher Feature:
Counselor Ashley Hett
Maize High School  Class of 2009 graduate and 13-year senior Ashley Hett is back this year as a  Pray-Woodman Elementary School counselor. She has a OneMa1ze family and says her heart has been in Maize since 1996. Please click here to learn more!
Maize Education Foundation
Giving Thanks for #GivingTuesday

The Maize Education Foundation would like to thank the many supporters and volunteers who give of themselves to help carry out its mission. The list is long, but the Foundation especially wants to thank the staff of Maize USD 266. 

Did you know that in the 2018-19 school year, district staff members donated nearly $14,000 to the Foundation? This tremendous support is above and beyond even the heart and soul they pour into their work every day. Thank you!

This year for #GivingTuesday, the Foundation invites the OneMa1ze Community to join the incredible staff members in their support of the Foundation. On #GivingTuesday last year, the Foundation raised $5,000, which is half of the funding needed to support its Student Enrichment Grant program. Please consider a donation in support of this program, and help the Foundation reach its 2019 #GivingTuesday goal of $10,000, which will fund 20 student grants!

To learn more about the Student Enrichment Grant program please visit www.maizeeducationfoundation.org .
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 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.