Kyrene del Milenio Elementary School is having a family reunion of sorts this week to celebrate the school's 10th anniversary.
Milenio's staff has changed over the decade, with only eight of the original employees remaining. It's grown, too, from less than 500 students to more than 700.
But the school's focus on community and making everyone feel like part of the family hasn't changed in that time, said teachers Heather Proseus and Barbara Garrett, and that's what they plan to celebrate on Friday.
Proseus, a second-grade teacher, and Garrett, the music instructor, are two of Milenio's original teachers and members of the anniversary planning committee.
Milenio has a tight-knit staff that works as a team to help students, Proseus said.
"If that means tutoring kids for free after school, a lot of us do that," Proseus said. "We are here on the weekends."
Teachers work together and take ownership for every student's success, not just the ones in their classrooms, Proseus said. They do things like analyze assessments in groups to figure out what kind of instruction is needed.
"I have never felt I was stagnant or didn't have room to grow," Proseus said. "We're always pushing the envelope."
The staff works to include students in their learning, whether it's in monthly cheer assemblies, which recognize students doing good work, or having student-led conferences so kids can show parents their own work.
All that has made students and staff alike feel at home at the school, Garrett said.
It's normal for former staff members to come to holiday parties or to see former Milenio students visiting teachers or come to community events, Garrett said.
They still receive Christmas cards from some of the people who were only at the school in its first few years.
"Once you're part of Milenio, you're always part of Milenio," Garrett said.
That feeling will be highlighted during the anniversary celebration when a new permanent display featuring pictures, yearbook covers and T-shirts from each of the school's 10 years will be on view. A time capsule containing things like books put together by the school's original students will also be displayed.
The anniversary celebration runs from 3-4:30 p.m. May 14 at Milenio, 4630 E. Frye Road, Phoenix. For more information, call the school at (480) 783-3400.
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