Millbrooke Maximizes Community Service Efforts

May 1, 2017 ~ Big yellow buses rolled away from Millbrooke Elementary School not long after the school day started on April 21. Few students would be in class on that special day — Max Day — because it was a day of community service for all ages.

Lead, learn, serve is the mission at Millbrooke, where Principal Stephanie Dancso and her staff demonstrate to students how important it is to give back to their community.

"The more we give to the community, the stronger it makes our students," Dancso said. "Max Day is a time to maximize our potential locally and globally."

Max Day is named for the school mascot, Max the mountain lion. Two students from each grade level are grouped into dens, also a reference to their mountain lion. Each staff member, except the school nurse, leads a den throughout the school year and becomes a "den mom" or "den dad" of sorts. They work on leadership, provide support during assessment time, come up with their own private handshake and wave, and create a "family feel," Dancso said. Her den is Dancso's Dozen.

This year's Max Day took students to more than 20 sites for indoor and outdoor activities. They washed a truck at the fire station, baked cookies with Culinary Arts students at Olathe North High School, and worked in more than one community garden. The all-school event was organized by the Student Council, led by physical education teacher Maggie Gechter, fifth-grade teacher Brittany Hougland, library media specialist Julie Makela, and first-grade teacher Katelynn Scott.
which also collects food for the Johnson County Christmas Bureau, raises money for the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund, and organizes a Pastries for Parents event at the end of the school year, among other things.

Some locations hosted Millbrooke students in previous years, but there are usually one or two new sites each year. Dancso said the teachers organize everything, including having a rainy day plan for the outdoor projects. The only students to stay behind are half-day kindergartners because their schedule isn't conducive to traveling and accomplishing a task in such a short period of time. They focus their energies on projects at Millbrooke.

Boys wash truck at fire station Groups of students, known as dens at Millbrooke, spread out across the city to lend a hand in the community. One den visited the fire station at 143rd Street and Black Bob to help wash department vehicles.
Girls clean kitchen at fire station

These girls helped clean up the kitchen and dining hall at the fire station. It’s one of many ways Millbrooke students showed their appreciation for all the firefighters do in our community.

Photos by Cody Kennedy
Student chef instructs elementary students Another den went to the Culinary Arts program at Olathe North High School to bake cookies. Student chefs helped the elementary students measure ingredients using professional tools of their trade.
Student chef watches girl form cookie balls After mixing the dough with industrial mixers, the Culinary Arts students watched as their young apprentice chefs scooped balls of dough.
Students look at baked cookies

The final product looked delicious, but these students knew their homemade treats were headed for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office as a thank you gift.

Photos by Marlene Colgan