Oct. 31, 2023 Maize Pulse
Maize USD 266
Dr. Greer: Maize earns recognition for graduation rate, social-emotional growth
We at Maize USD 266 work diligently on many areas of teaching and learning, and the Kansas State Department Education recently took note by recognizing the district through its Kansans Can Star Recognition Program. We were recognized with the following stars in these areas:
- Gold star: Graduation
- Silver star: Postsecondary Effectiveness
- Bronze star: Social-Emotional Growth
- Copper stars: Individual Plan of Study and Academically Prepared for Postsecondary
I am especially proud of our gold star for graduation! To be eligible for the gold star, a district must have a graduation rate at or above 95 percent. The state average is 89.9 percent. Leaders at Maize USD 266 and the state agree that Kansas schools must increase the number of students graduating high school and increase those graduating with the right skills and attributes they need to be successful. This vision is reflected in our Lead Forward strategic plan. One of our four long-term goals is the instruction target of increasing our graduation rate from 95.2 percent to 96 percent by 2028. In 2022, Maize received a silver star in this area, so we are already improving.
I also am pleased about the recognition for social-emotional growth, as this is a new star area for Maize. Part of our strategic plan to Elevate Student Learning is to Strengthen Resilience. Supporting students with social and emotional skill development helps them learn better. Read about our new programs below.
Our new partnership with The Pando Initiative, thanks to support from the Love like Remi Foundation, is one way we are meeting students' needs even better this year. I invite you to read more about it in a new article sharing how the program is alive in all five of our elementary schools.
We also now have Mental Health Intervention Team therapists in all of our intermediate, middle, and high schools to support students in grades five to 12. Students receive individual counseling, connection to outside therapeutic resources, and family support.
The district also uses strategies from the Capturing Kids’ Hearts program, which trains employees how to further build meaningful relationships with students and grow classrooms and schools that prioritize social-emotional well-being and relationship-focused culture. Additionally, students receive a high level of counseling support in each school.
Thank you to our amazing staff members, and congratulations to our students for helping Maize achieve in these important categories!
Dr. Raquel Greer
Maize USD 266
Calendar reminder: No school Friday, Nov. 10, Fall Break Nov. 20 through 24
Important upcoming dates
- Friday, Nov. 10: No school, Professional Development Day
- Monday, Nov. 20 through Friday, Nov. 24: No school, Fall Break
- Wednesday, Dec. 20: End of Term 2
- Thursday, Dec. 21: No school, Teacher Work Day
- Friday, Dec. 22 through Friday, Dec. 29: No school, Winter Break
- Monday, Jan. 1 through Tuesday, Jan. 2: No school, Winter Break
- Wednesday, Jan. 3: Start of Term 3
- Monday, Jan. 15: No school, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Please note that the updated 2023-24 district calendar, approved during the July 10 Maize Board of Education meeting, includes a half day of school on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, the last day of school for the school year. Please stay tuned for more information about that day's schedule.
Future teachers invited to 2023 Teacher Recruitment Fair
New and experienced teachers, please plan to attend the Monday, Nov. 6 Teacher Recruitment Fair at Maize South Intermediate School, 9701 W. 37th St. North in Wichita! Attendees will learn about Maize USD 266 and interview for jobs with principals and for schools across the district. The event is free and open to the public.
Join our team!
Maize USD 266 is actively hiring paraprofessionals, substitute teachers, and seasonal employees. Seasonal employees must be 18 years old, and the position would be ideal for college students who can work during their winter break. Employees can make an important difference in Maize Schools and the lives of students!
District news and updates
Share your feedback about the Maize USD 266 website
Improvements and upgrades are coming in 2024 to the district website, www.usd266.com! Please share feedback to help with this initiative. Thank you for your time!
Overall, how well does www.usd266.com meet your needs?
New partnership with Pando Initiative in full swing to boost student success in all five Maize USD 266 elementary schools
In Latin, Pando means “to spread out,” and the Wichita-based non-profit organization Pando Initiative does just that — it spreads out into the community and connects with resources to support students as they achieve their full potential.
The Pando Initiative has been supporting schools in Wichita, Derby, and Haysville for nearly 35 years, but this school year is the first year Pando has partnered with Maize USD 266 schools. A full-time Pando employee, called a student support advocate, was hired for each of the five elementary schools in Maize.
The program provides basic needs, including clothing, hygiene items, food, and school supplies. It also offers groups for students, such as empowerment groups, mindfulness, and social skills groups. Pando provides one-to-one mentoring, as well as small lunch groups, social-emotional support, goal-setting for attendance, and incentives for improvement.
“The Pando Initiative supports students and families so teachers can focus more time on student learning," Maize USD 266 Superintendent Dr. Raquel Greer said. “As we work as a district to boost our graduation rate, student post-secondary success, and student proficiency in reading and math, I am truly grateful for partners like Pando and Love Like Remi.”
Full STEAM ahead: Students learn about science, technology, engineering, art, and math in new classroom spaces
Walk into a STEAM classroom in a Maize USD 266 elementary or intermediate school, and you’ll find 3D printers, Legos, programmable robots, building blocks, balloon-powered cars, and drones. New this school year, the district offers students in kindergarten through sixth grade dedicated teachers and spaces to explore STEAM.
Through hands-on projects, students learn about teamwork, persistence, collaboration, determination, and how to deal with failure in order to try again and succeed.
It's all part of a vision included in the district's $108.2 million bond issue, which voters overwhelmingly approved in 2019. Thanks to community members and the Maize Education Foundation for supporting this initiative for the benefit of our students!
Coming soon: Get to know our STEAM teachers through a series of profile feature stories!
STEAM provides an opportunity for students to create self-portraits with a twist
During STEAM instruction, Maize Intermediate School students recently created self-portraits to look like a Tim Burton movie version of themselves.
“We were looking at characteristics of his art,” fifth grade STEAM teacher Maggie Hatesohl said. “Every artist has a different style. We also got to talk a little bit about stop motion animation and Claymation and how they make those movies.”
Four Maize Board of Education seats on the General Election ballot
In additional to mayoral and city council positions, the Nov. 7 General Election includes school offices. For Maize USD 266, a candidate is running unopposed in each of the following four positions:
- District 1, Position 1: Andrew K. Johnson
- District 2, Position 2: Todd Dumler
- District 3, Position 3: Michael Russell
- At Large, Position 7: Troy Palmer
Voters who reside in the Maize USD 266 school district boundary can cast a vote for one candidate from each district. Here are the ways Sedgwick County voters can cast a ballot in the election:
- Vote early in person: Voters can cast their ballots at any early voting site, which includes satellite locations and the Sedgwick County Election Office. Click here to access the full schedule of times and locations, which includes the Sedgwick County Extension Center, 7001 W. 21st St. North in Wichita, and Westlink Church of Christ, 10025 W. Central Ave. in Wichita from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 2 and 3 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 4.
Vote on Election Day: Vote at your assigned poll between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 7. Click here to find your polling place.
For more information: Find answers to voter registration and voting questions on the Sedgwick County Election Office website at www.sedgwickcounty.org/elections. You also may call the office directly at 316-660-7100.
Your vote and voice matter! Thank you for educating yourself and taking steps now so you can cast your vote.
Students host Maize Board of Education candidate forum
On Oct. 11, Maize South High School Advanced Placement (AP) Government students hosted a Maize Board of Education candidate forum. The event was open to the public, and students asked candidates a series of questions about district policies, the future of Maize Schools, and why candidates want to serve.
Maize Board of Education news
Next school board meeting
The Maize Board of Education's next monthly meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13 in the classrooms at the Maize Performing Arts and Aquatics Center, 1155 W. Academy in Maize. Meetings are open to the public. Find a link to meeting agendas and minutes, school board member information, and policies at www.usd266.com/schoolboard. Regular monthly meetings are broadcast live at bit.ly/Maize266YouTube.
Teachers surprised with news that they are district's nominees for Kansas Teacher of the Year award
Congratulations to Maize South Intermediate School teacher Leslie McEntire and Maize High School teacher Stan Bergkamp, surprised recently with the announcement that they had been selected as this year's Maize USD 266 nominees for the Kansas Teacher of the Year Award! The annual Kansas State Department of Education award recognizes excellent teaching in classrooms across Kansas and celebrates educators who are leaders in the improvement of schools, student performance, and the teaching profession. McEntire is a is a 5th grade English Language Arts teacher, and Bergkamp teaches honors chemistry, honors physics, advanced placement (AP) physics 1, AP physics 2, and AP chemistry.
Maize Pulse receives two state-level school communications awards of excellence
The Kansas School Public Relations Association this month honored Maize USD 266 with two 2023 Awards of Excellence for the Maize Pulse e-newsletter. The district's communications department is led by Executive Director of Communications Lori O'Toole Buselt, who led the launch of Maize Pulse in August 2022. It is produced about once a month to help keep the Maize USD 266 community informed about news and updates related to the school district, including Maize Board of Education policies. Click here for an archive of Maize Pulse editions.
More than 6,300 Maize USD 266 supporters attend Sept. 29 Rumble on the River
Thanks to the entire Maize USD 266 community for making the Sept. 29 Rumble on the River event a memorable one for all who attended in support of our Eagles, Mavericks, and Maize USD 266! More than 6,300 people came out to Wichita's Riverfront Stadium for the game, the first in the inaugural Air Capital High School Football Series. We are so proud of our students, who showcased their many talents, and to the greater community for supporting our students, schools, and district!
Gaming-themed Level Up With School Lunch serves up fun for students, adults
This month during the district’s gaming-themed Level Up With School Lunch National School Lunch Week celebration, elementary school students engaged in a Mario Kart Tournament against the adults in their school courtesy of partner organization the Maize Recreation Commission. The winning team at each school (either kids or adults) will get to pick the lunch menu for one day in November. Students who enjoyed the Mario Kart Tournament can sign up to participate in Maize Rec’s upcoming tournament on Nov. 4.
Food Service facts
- A healthy lunch at school supports students' social and emotional well-being by providing opportunities for students to interact with caring adults within their school community as well as relax and connect with peers at the lunch table.
- Parents are always welcome to join their students for school lunch. Contact your child’s school for more details. Please click here for a school contact information.
- Students are more likely to eat food they select themselves. New menu items for the 2023-24 school year include: Sloppy Joe, Lasagna, Ravioli, Cranky Turkey Wrap, Wing Wednesdays, Fiesta Burritos, Pupusa, Calzones, Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies, and Greek Pita Flatbread.
- Each day, students can choose from three to five lunch entrees, available with a variety of components. Did you know that students could go 35 school days without having the same entree twice? Click here for pricing, frequently requested forms, and quick help guides.
Maize South High celebrates Maverick pride during Homecoming parade
Maize South High School celebrated Homecoming 2023 Oct. 6 with a parade featuring the school's sports, clubs, and students! Students from other Maize USD 266 schools enjoyed the event as spectators and cheered for the Mavericks.
October is National Principals Month
Maize USD 266 is proud of the principals and assistant principals who work with students from pre-school through 12th grade in schools and programs across the district! They lead with vision, support educators, serve with staff members, and help our students achieve success today and prepare for bright futures tomorrow! Thank you, principals, for all you do! Please enjoy these photos of a few of our principals.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month
In recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month, Maize USD 266 is thanking educators, staff members, parents, students, and everyone who helps make the district and its schools a safe place to teach and learn!