Aug. 31, 2023 Maize Pulse
Maize USD 266
Dr. Greer: Aligning district processes to support safe, elevated learning
In my first year, I learned that USD 266 is already an amazing place. And, we can continue to get even better with focused, collaborative work. As I shared in July, we will concentrate on these focus areas through 2028. They represent the needs mentioned most by our stakeholders during last year’s needs assessment:
- Nurture a Cohesive Culture
- Attract Expert Educators
- Elevate Student Learning
- Build for the Future
Each of these four focus areas include three lead measures, which become the district's next steps for improvement. During the next five years, you will see and hear details about these steps and the progress made.
As we are diving into this school year, I am pleased about the progress we already have made. The updated District Student Handbook includes policy changes designed to increase student safety, improve student attendance, and maximize instructional time in our classrooms. Another area we will focus on this year is aligning district processes to ensure consistency in how we respond to safety concerns.
Our students deserve the very best in educational opportunities. Thank you for your support to help make this an amazing school year!
Dr. Raquel Greer
Maize USD 266
Calendar reminder: No school Monday, Sept. 4 for Labor Day
Important upcoming dates
This is a friendly reminder that there is no school on Monday, Sept. 4 in observation of Labor Day. Have a happy Labor Day weekend, Maize family!
- Thursday, Sept. 28: No school, Parent/Teacher Conferences 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Additional information to come from schools.)
- Friday, Sept. 29: No school, Conference Comp Day
- Friday, Oct. 13: End of Term 1
- Monday, Oct. 16: No school
- Tuesday, Oct. 17: Start Term 2
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.
District news and updates
District, school leaders begin back-to-school professional development with threat assessment training
More than 100 Maize USD 266 district and school leaders attended a July 31 all-day Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG) training about assessing threats and intervening as needed to create a safe and focused learning environment. A team from every school attended the training, led by Dr. Joe McKenna, Technical Assistance provider for the national Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety. Participants included principals, assistant principals, counselors, social workers, psychologists, and school resource officers.
Let's get ready to Rumble on the River!
The Maize High School Eagles and Maize South High School Mavericks will take the field at Wichita’s Riverfront Stadium, home of the Wichita Wind Surge, on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023! The game is the first in the inaugural Air Capital High School Football Series. Click on the buttons below for a couple of opportunities, and watch for additional information to come.
District transitions to FastBridge for academic screening
This school year, the district is transitioning from AIMSweb+ to FastBridge as the preferred screening platform. This decision was made after careful consideration and evaluation of the available options. FastBridge offers several advantages that will benefit students and educators:
- Comprehensive assessment: FastBridge provides a more comprehensive assessment solution that covers a wider range of academic areas, allowing educators to better understand a student's strengths and areas for growth. FastBridge also is normed for preschool through 12th grade. This allows the district to use the same platform districtwide.
- Efficiency: The FastBridge platform offers a user-friendly interface that enables quicker and smoother administration of screeners. This means less time spent on testing and more time for instruction.
- Data-driven insights: FastBridge offers robust data analysis and reporting features, empowering teachers to gain deeper insights into a student's progress and tailor instruction to individual needs.
Educators and support staff members will be fully trained on the FastBridge platform to ensure a seamless transition. The district is committed to making this change as smooth as possible. Click here to learn more.
'The Singing Engineer' shares love of STEM with students
Roy Moye III, also known as “The Singing Engineer,” performed in front of elementary school students last week at the Maize Performing Arts and Aquatics Center. Moye conducted science experiments on stage with student volunteers and focused on science, technology, engineering, and math, all while getting the students to sing along to music. Moye is the founder and leader of STEMusic, an organization that aims to use engaging and entertaining music to inspire the next generation of multicultural STEM.
Moye, who lives in Wichita, is a musician, professional engineer, mentor, and Wichita State University graduate. His performances in Maize USD 266 reached about 2,400 kindergarten through fourth grade students in all five of the district’s elementary schools.
Maize USD 266's STEAM teachers were recognized and thanked during the STEMusic performance, as well. This school year, each elementary school has a full-time STEAM teacher. They will work in STEAM labs that were part of the district’s 2019 bond issue.
Thanks to the Maize Education Foundation, which provided the grant funding for Moye to visit Maize USD 266 and perform for students!
District begins new partnership with additional support in elementary schools
New for the 2023-24 school year and thanks in part to the support of the Love Like Remi Foundation is the partnership with The Pando Initiative to bring additional assistance to elementary students. Employees with the non-profit Pando Initiative are working in all five elementary schools to provide students with mentoring, life skills development, and support to meet basic needs.
Now hiring paraeducators
Maize USD 266 is actively hiring paraeducators. Benefits include the following. Please encourage eligible candidates to apply. Find a recruitment flyer and application link below.
- Pay based on education, experience, and assignment
- College degree not required
- Part-time or full-time hours
- Health coverage (subsidized), dental, vision, life insurance, and other benefits for working only 25 hours/week
- Only work when school is in session
- Some summer hours may be available
- KPERS retirement plan
- 16 leave days per year
- Paid holidays
- Many buildings to choose from located in Maize and Renwick school districts
Maize Board of Education news
School board approves updated District Student Handbook
On Aug. 14, Maize Board of Education members approved the updated District Student Handbook, which includes policies related to schedules; technology resources; attendance; lockers and personal items; behavior/conduct; transportation; safety; enrollment; extracurricular, co-curricular, clubs, and organization participation; fees; Food Service; grading/honor roll; graduation/promotion; health care; and parental interactions.
Next school board meeting
The Maize Board of Education's next monthly meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11 in the classrooms at the Maize Performing Arts and Aquatics Center, 1155 W. Academy in Maize. That evening, there also will be a Revenue Neutral Rate Hearing at 6:45 p.m. and a Budget Hearing at 6:50 p.m. The budget includes no proposed increase in mill levies. For Sedgwick County residents who recently received property tax statements from the county, click here to learn more about how home appraisals work and how they affect your property tax.
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.
National Boys Soccer Player of the Year hopes for another great season at Maize South
USA Today Boys Soccer Player of the Year and Maize South High School senior Vitor Geromel "lives and breathes for soccer" and is a selfless player who builds up his teammates and inspires his coaches. Plus, he's craving a repeat of last year’s soccer season, in which the team had a perfect 21-0 record and won the 5A State Championship. Learn more about Vitor, his thoughts about the upcoming season, his plans for the future, and more: bit.ly/VitorMaize266.
Maize High Cheer’s ongoing support of Kansas veterans has led to local, state accolades – and even cheerleaders joining the military
Maize High School Cheer’s ongoing support of Kansas veterans has led to local and state accolades – and even cheerleaders joining the military. The legacy continues this week: The seventh annual Kansas Honor Flight Night football game fundraiser is Friday, Sept. 1 at Maize High School, 11600 W. 45th St. North in Maize, against Topeka.
Maize High Cheer's years-long support of Kansas Honor Flight has led to:
- fundraising to send U.S. veterans to Washington, D.C. for Kansas Honor Flights since 2016.
- welcoming home thousands of U.S. veterans returning from Kansas Honor Flight trips.
- five cheerleading alumni joining the military.
- receiving the Terry Brewster Community Volunteer Award.
- a Maize Eagles Cheer Patriotism Recognition Day proclamation by the Kansas State House of Representatives.
Maize Education Foundation
Fifteenth Annual Golf Tournament raises $58,000 to support Maize USD 266 students, educators
Thanks to 128 golfers, volunteers and sponsors, including presenting sponsor Meritrust, the Maize Education Foundation's 15th Annual Golf Tournament raised $58,000. This surpassed the organization's fundraising goal of $55,000. The event took place at Reflection Ridge on Aug. 21. Funds raised will be used for grants and other efforts to support Maize USD 266 students, educators, and schools.
Birds and Bulls Gala now scheduled for Feb. 29, 2024
The Birds and Bulls Gala, a benefit dinner presented by Credit Union of America, has been rescheduled for Feb. 29, 2024. Mark your calendars and be on the lookout for more details and ticket information.
Upperclassmen Eagles, Mavericks welcome #MaizeFamily back to school
Students, school resource officers, and even Superintendent Dr. Raquel Greer were welcomed on the first day of school Aug. 15 by Maize High School and Maize South High School students in various sports and clubs. Welcome back, Maize USD 266 students! We are so glad you are here. Let's make this a great school year. And thank you, Eagles and Mavericks, for helping make back-to-school so special.
District distributes about 9,000 bottles of water to students during heat
Maize USD 266 is saying a huge thank you to teachers, custodians, kitchen staff members, maintenance workers, grounds staff members, and building administrators for helping distribute water to students last week during high temperatures!
The district provided and passed out about 9,000 bottles of water to students throughout the week.
Thank you also to the HVAC staff members for keeping the schools going and the air-conditioning running so our educators and students could focus on learning!
Thank you for helping fill the bus!
Students, principals, and Maize USD 266 staff members participated in the Fill the Bus school supply drive at the 21st Street and Maize Road Chick-fil-A location in Wichita on Aug. 8. The district won a contest among area school districts to see which could collect the most school supplies. Thanks to all who supported the event to help our students be ready for back-to-school!
When Maize Early Childhood Center preschool students returned to school this year, they were greeted by a new Explorers logo! A special sign in front of the school made the experience interactive and helped them see themselves as an Explorer, too. In July, the Maize Board of Education unanimously approved the new logo. This follows the board's March vote to approve Explorers as the school's official mascot. The mascot represents the district’s littlest learners and their exploration of their education, world, and future.
Maize USD 266 serves school breakfast, lunch daily
Maize USD 266 serves breakfast at school daily for $1.90 for grades kindergarten through 8 and $1.95 for high school grades 9 through 12. Items include breakfast pizza, pancake and sausage sticks, smoothies, breakfast burritos, biscuit sandwiches, fresh fruit, milk, juice, and more. School breakfast can help make mornings simpler for families and ensure that students can concentrate on learning instead of their growling stomachs in the morning.
How to access school directories on Skyward
Maize USD 266 families can access school directories on Skyward. Click here to learn how to manage and access the information. This includes selecting what information to display (family address, family phone number, student's school and/or grade level) and the option to exclude information from displaying.