PUTNAM COUNTY – Every Friday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., teachers and staff can expect their coffee and specialty drinks made to order by the Prescott South Middle School (PSMS) Bulldog Baristas. The Comprehensive Development Classes (CDC) at PSMS has a coffee cart that delivers hot drinks, iced drinks, lemonades, limeades and more to faculty and staff.
The coffee cart is just the beginning of what one sees when they walk into Bulldog Barista’s coffee shop. They have created a business model and production line, which functions as a work-based enterprise. The CDC class sends out a preorder form to faculty and staff. That form is made into an order sheet that is taped on the cup and then taken over to the correct station, where the baristas wearing green aprons begin fulfilling drink orders.
“We have a hot drink station, an iced drink station and a toppings station. We have branded stickers that students place on cups. We have punch cards for our loyal customers. The students also have made posters to advertise,” said PSMS SPED teacher Alexis Hamlet. “The coffee cart has been going on for three years. It started with just teas and grew. The money they earn goes to help pay for field trips and restocking supplies. It is awesome to see them get a glimpse into entrepreneurship. We have students who have a goal of working at a coffee shop.”
The students learn the recipes with a visual recipe book with pictures associated with the drink.
“The way they learn the recipes is awesome. The book shows the pictures of each ingredient and they know those items go into making the drink that is listed,” said Hamlet. “Safety is important, so we have assistants and student teachers who are there to assist at each station. We teach them to use both hands when carrying a hot or cold drink from their station to the toppings station.”
After students pour drinks into cups, they then walk them over to a table that has three boxes. They put the cup in the empty box. If all three boxes have a cup in them, they know they have to wait until those orders are completed. The toppings station is the last stop before drinks make their way onto the cart to be delivered. The students read the order sheet and measure what is needed to go into each drink. When the cart carriers are filled, it is time to deliver.
“I enjoy this because it teaches me how to make drinks and toppings,” said Cameron, PSMS 7th grader. “Now that I know, my mom and dad ask me to make them a drink, and I can. I am going to build a coffee shop one day and call it Bulldog Barista.”
Orders will begin rolling in, so the bulldog baristas prepare for Friday by prepping on Thursday.
Samantha Lawson, CDC teacher assistant at PSMS, said, “We average around 30 orders each Friday. These students have pure joy on their faces and enjoy being a part of something. The students are learning life skills that help them as they grow into adults.”
Sheri Roberson, PCSS Supervisor for Special Education adds, “The work-base enterprises that are schools are doing place students on the path to be prepared for the workplace. We are preparing them in middle school and that is exciting.”