Special Education Students Start Coffee Shop
It’s no secret that for some people, their favorite caffeinated beverage is a morning necessity.
“It’s the best part of my day,” said Kathy Mead, a teacher at Jackson Middle School.
Thanks to a group of students at Jackson Middle School, the staff members get their morning jolt of energy hand-delivered to them by students twice a week.
“Well this is Jaguar Java, and it’s a program that we use as part of our curriculum for our vocational skills class,” said Margi Biegler, a teacher for students with developmental and cognitive disabilities.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, 13 special education students line up at the coffee machine with K-cups in hand to fill the orders of staff members.
The kids take special care to make sure they fulfill each order to the teacher’s exact specification.
It’s a program that’s been around now for three years, much to the delight of the beverage-loving recipients.
“I love it,” Mead said. “And even if I wasn’t a coffee drinker, I would find something else just to see these kids every day. So it’s fabulous.”
Jaguar Java teaches job skills
Fabulous, not just because the staff members get to down their morning caffeine, but because the program teaches these students a variety of skills.
“It took some convincing of the admin to let us do this,” Biegler said. “Not everybody was thrilled about having children run hot beverages throughout a building. But we convinced them that that there were enough things that combined with other curriculum, such as, counting the money would be part of math.”
The program also helps the kids develop better social skills, they learn how to problem solve, and through it all, they get work experience.
“And obviously our kids are gonna have a leg up, because they have experience in a business, where they get to not only produce a product, but work with customers,” Biegler added.
It’s an activity that certainly brings joy to 7th grader Sophie Torgerson.
“I really like doing this coffee day on Thursdays and Tuesdays,” she said.
Of course, it certainly helps that the students deliver a product that brings smiles to people’s faces.
“I have a couple of kiddos where coming to school isn’t that much fun,” Biegler said. “But they know that it’s Jaguar Java day, and they get to go deliver. It kind of starts their day a lot better.”
The staff members pay $2 for each cup of coffee, and the students actually end up turning a profit at the end of the school year.