Jan. 17, 2023 Maize Pulse
Maize USD 266
Dr. Greer: School attendance matters for student success today and in the future
Happy New Year, Maize Family! I am excited for 2023 and all the great things it will bring for Maize USD 266. A new year brings fresh starts in the community, in our schools, and in our homes. As a working mom of three, I remember those years when my sons Mason, Trey, and Drew were all young. (Check out our old family photo below!) This picture brings back so many memories. They were pretty cute back then. Mornings with kids are their own version of controlled chaos, balancing all those important elements, including a good night's sleep, healthy breakfasts, personal organization, and simply getting everyone out the door with a smile. I can remember literally running through the house gathering needed items just to make it out the door on time.
As a lifelong educator and a parent, I have experienced the importance of school attendance, which provides students consistency, connections, and access to resources they need to be successful. Below are some interesting statistics related to school attendance.
Did you know?
Research connects attendance to improved graduation rates and increased academic achievement, providing our kids the best chance at success now and in the future.
Missing 10 percent (about 18 days) or more of school days labels a student as “Chronically Absent” by the Kansas Department of Education.
Missing just two days a month can quickly add up, causing a child to reach that chronically absent threshold.
Students who are chronically absent in pre-k and kindergarten are less likely to be reading by third grade.
Chronic absences can cause third grade students to be unable to master reading and sixth grade students to fail subjects.
Students who are chronically absent in a single year between grades eight and 12 are seven times more likely to drop out of high school.
Parents, thank you for all you do to continue to prioritize school attendance. If your family or your child is experiencing a barrier that is causing them to miss school, please reach out to your child’s teacher or school counselor. We want to work with you to support your child, and we have educators, nurses, counselors, and administrators ready to help. Parent-Teacher Conferences, on Feb. 9, are a great opportunity for valuable conversation about your child’s progress.
Together, we can partner to create the most ideal learning opportunities for Maize students! I look forward to working with each of you in that endeavor.
Dr. Raquel Greer
Superintendent of Schools
Connect with Dr. Greer
- On Twitter: @rockigreer
- Email: email@example.com
- Online: www.usd266.com/superintendent
Important upcoming dates
- Feb. 9: No school, Parent-Teacher Conferences, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Feb. 10: No school
- March 10: End term three
- March 13-17: No school, Spring Break
- March 20: Term four begins
Access the 2022-2023 Maize USD 266 Calendar by clicking here.
Maize Board of Education news
School board members to update member district map in accordance with Kansas statute
The Maize Board of Education is in the process of updating boundaries for its three board member districts, which are used for board member elections and are not tied to school attendance boundaries for students.
Kansas law requires the resident population of board member districts to each be within 5 percent of the mean population of the entire district, a balance that must be reexamined with every census. The current Maize Board of Education district map has District 3, the district in the northwest portion, at nearly 8 percent over, according to the 2020 Decennial Census.
With the help of demographic firm RSP and Associates, board members are considering two options. The first option redistributes about 1,100 people from District 3 to District 2 and provides a variance of up to 4.7 percent between the three districts. The second option redistributes about 2,300 people between all three districts to reach a variance of no more than 2.7 percent between all districts.
Board members are expected to select and approve a final map during the Feb. 13 meeting. Please click here to view the options and learn more.
School board members, district leaders gathering data ahead of official report about enrollment and boundary analysis
As the district continues to plan for long-term future growth, board members and district leaders are gathering data and input while awaiting the enrollment and boundary analysis, scheduled to be presented by demographic firm RSP next month. As previously communicated, the district plans to review whether potential elementary school boundaries could provide efficiencies and improvements. The district wants to ensure it is properly planning for student and staff needs, including those related to transportation, facilities, and resource allocation in the growing district.
The anticipated timeline is as follows:
7 p.m. Feb. 13: The enrollment and boundary analysis is scheduled to be presented during the Maize Board of Education monthly meeting.
6 p.m. Feb. 27: Maize Board of Education members will meet for a work session to focus on potential policies and ideas.
7 p.m. March 6: During the monthly school board meeting, board members may consider a decision regarding potential elementary school boundaries.
All meetings are open to the public and will take place in the classrooms at the Maize Performing Arts and Aquatics Center, 1055 Academy Ave. in Maize.
In the meantime, board members and district leaders have met with elementary school counselors and principals. Dr. Raquel Greer, Superintendent of Schools, also is meeting with educators as part of the ongoing Superintendent Employee Listening tour, during which she is meeting informally with employees throughout the district this school year. The district plans to seek feedback from a random sample of parents on these topics to gain better insight into what Maize families need. Parents will be notified via an email invitation if they have been randomly selected to participate. Small group discussions also will take place at Building and District Site Council meetings.
Next school board meeting
The Maize Board of Education’s next monthly meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13 in the classrooms at the Maize Performing Arts and Aquatics Center, 1055 Academy Ave. 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.
Thank you, school board members!
January is School Board Recognition Month. Please join Maize USD 266 in thanking the seven Maize Board of Education members, who devote countless volunteer hours to the community, schools, and students! Board members are unpaid representatives who serve four-year terms.
- Jeff Jarman, President and At-Large Representative
- Kerry Fellows, Vice President and District 3
- Andrew Johnson, District 1
- Jessica Pereira, District 1
- John Harrison, District 2
- Heather Killpatrick-O’Connor, District 2
Bruce Nicholson, District 3
Students share experiences with Maverick Time Electives
Dozens of Maize South Intermediate School students presented during the Jan. 9 school board meeting about their exciting elective classes. The school offers more than 20 electives, including coding, astronomy, robotics, broadcasting, Mav au Lait Cafe cooking, musical theater, and newspaper and yearbook. The innovative electives provide a hybrid approach, blending elementary and middle school philosophies and applying grade-level standards to real-world experiences. Students also shared food they cooked and performed musical numbers for school board members. Maverick Time Electives are an example of work Maize USD 266 educators are doing to make school engaging, relevant, and fun.
Maize South Elementary School students first to make a splash with new swim safety class
Maize South Elementary School third grade students have jumped into a new swim safety course at the Maize Performing Arts and Aquatic Center (MPAAC) this month. Since MPAAC’s design, swim education has been a vision for Maize USD 266 students.
The focus of these classes will be for students to learn general water safety and drowning prevention. The goal is to help them have fun, be safe, and feel comfortable in water. Maize USD 266 Aquatics Facility Operator Shea Poynter, certified by the American Red Cross as a Water Safety Instructor and a Lifeguard Instructor, is the lead instructor.
By the end of the semester, all third grade students will have the opportunity to take the new swim safety course during their normal school day.
Statistics Honors class research project supports the benefit of using flashcards with visual aids
In Fall 2022, Maize South High School’s Statistics Honors class, taught by Joel Burgeson, conducted a research project that supported the concept that students learn better when studying flashcards with visual aids/pictures rather than with just text. About 75 volunteer students school-wide participated in the project, which used French and Spanish flashcards and papers. Their study supported the conclusion that students learned foreign language vocabulary words better with flashcards with pictures.
Food Service serves hundreds of pounds of local produce to students this year through partnerships
The Maize USD 266 Food Service Department is continuing its partnership with RISE Farms, a 15,000-square foot urban farm that grows a variety of produce through no-waste practices and is located on the top floor of the Fidelity Bank’s car park development in downtown Wichita.
Here are some impressive statistics from the school year so far:
Students have been served more than 726 pounds of Kansas-grown produce via RISE and the Firefly Food Hub, which operates RISE and connects local farmers with restaurants and buyers.
The Firefly Food Hub connected the district with South Baldwin Farms outside of Baldwin City, Kansas, where the district was able to procure 440 pounds of apples for Maize students. The district looks forward to working with them again when apples are in season next fall.
Each school building had the opportunity to try a locally grown item during the Fall 2022 semester.
Farmers from the Firefly Food Hub toured the Maize South High School kitchen in December.
Food Service employees worked with Firefly Farm in Butler County to come up with a forecast of produce they can use this spring. The crop will be specially designated for Maize schools in Spring and Fall 2023.
Did you know? Maize USD 266 is the Wichita area's 13th largest employer
The Wichita Business Journal’s 2022 Book of Lists provides insightful information about Maize USD 266 as an employer.
According to the publication, Maize USD 266 is:
- the thirteenth largest Wichita employer
- the third-largest education employer in the area, falling only behind USD 259 Wichita Public Schools and Wichita State University
- the largest employer of all Wichita suburban school districts.
At the time of the list’s compilation, Maize USD 266 had:
1,319 full-time local employees
752 part-time local employees
2,071 total employment company-wide.
Thanks to everyone who is part of the team at Maize USD 266! Each employee plays a key role in the makeup of the district for the sake of our students.
Pictured: Employees gathered Aug. 15, 2022 at the Maize Performing Arts and Aquatics Center for a Back-to-School Kickoff event.
Maize USD 266 is hiring to fill current openings and those for the 2023-24 school year
Let's make New Year's resolutions come true! Join Maize USD 266's award-winning team! The district is filling open positions, including crossing guards, hiring for the 2023-24 school year, and looking for future colleagues who want to pursue success for themselves and students. Apply today at www.usd266.com/careers.
Maize Education Foundation
Foundation nearly halfway to goal for elementary school STEAM lab resources
The Maize Education Foundation set out last spring to help fund nearly $45,000 in resources for Maize USD 266 elementary STEAM labs, which focus on science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Parent-teacher organizations (PTOs) have made huge contributions to their respective schools. And, with the help of donors, the Foundation is excited to say that it is nearly halfway to the goal, with just $24,250 remaining. Click here to read more and learn about opportunities to support STEAM resources.
Pictured: Maize Education Foundation Executive Director Travis Bloom presented teacher Olivia Hugo with a check for funds for the Maize South Elementary School STEAM Lab.
Maize Education Foundation 2023 Spring Breakfast scheduled for April 6
Save the date for the fifth annual Spring Breakfast at the Maize Performing Arts and Aquatics Center. The event supports the students and educators of all Maize schools. Tickets are $30 and for sale online. Click here for more information.
Nominations open for the 2023 Legacy Honoree
Each year, the Foundation recognizes an individual who has helped build and shape the legacy of the Maize School District. Click here to learn more and submit nominations.
Pictured: Richard Stiverson, longtime Maize Board of Education member and district supporter, was celebrated as the 2022 Legacy Honoree.
Donors support Complete High School Maize Expedition
In this video by Maize High School senior Taylor Roetzer, Adam Melichar, Complete High School Maize Assistant Principal/College and Career Coordinator, and Complete student Cody Breeding share the impact Foundation donors have on Complete's students. Thank you to donors for providing the opportunity for students to participate in the school's Expedition initiative to learn this range of executive function and social skills, which are so important for youth as they prepare to tackle life's challenges and obstacles.
District updates and reminders
Reminder to update contact information for communications purposes, including snow day messages
Please keep these reminders in mind:
- Please ensure that you have updated your information for notifications: If you want to receive phone calls and/or text messages from Maize USD 266, please log into Skyward Family Access and click “Skylert” on the left. Skylert enables you to receive notifications concerning your child(ren). Snow day-related notifications and the majority of district-sent parent communications fall into the category of “General.” You can check the boxes under “General” in Skyward to select how you prefer to receive this information. Please also make sure your phone number is accurate. Please click “Save” in the upper-right corner if you make any updates.
- Make sure to opt in to notify your carrier if you want to receive text messages: Those who want to receive the district’s School Messenger text messages also will need to opt in by sending a text message of “Y” or “Yes” to 67587. This informs your mobile carrier that you approve of receiving text messages from School Messenger. Those wishing to opt out can do so by sending “Stop.” Please click here for more information. Text recipients will receive automated district messages from the number 67587.
- In the event of school being dismissed or canceled because of inclement weather: The district will send out notifications via phone call, text (SMS), and email to those who have elected to receive them. 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. District officials will update the district’s website (www.usd266.com), official Twitter account (@maize266), and official Facebook page as soon as the decision is made to call off school. When in doubt, the district encourages parents and employees to verify school closings by consulting multiple official district sources. Please do not rely on only one form of notification, such as a text message, if you are uncertain.
Thank you for your cooperation in preparing for potential inclement weather this winter.
Maize USD 266 e-newsletters
The mission of Maize USD 266 is to inspire students to discover their potential through connecting, learning, and leading.
905 Academy Avenue, Maize, KS, USA