Local school brews up success - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Local school brews up success


A Cobb County high school has "brewed" up a new curriculum that's gaining international attention.

Students, mostly in the special education program, run and operate their own coffee shop at Kennesaw Mountain High School.

Stephanie Barber, a special education teacher, helped create the "Serving Up Success" curriculum a decade ago with the goal of teaching her students vocational skills.

"Our main purpose is for them to gain an understanding and good, safe practice for them to learn job skills, so they can transition into the real world," Barber said.

Every school morning, the students help produce and deliver, on average, 100 cups of coffee and tea. Their classmates will buy coffee from them before class, and then those working in the cafe deliver coffee to teachers' classrooms throughout the day.

"It teaches me money skills," said Nick Mirtschink, who's been working at the Mountain Top Café for five years.

Students, not in the special education program, serve as mentors at the shop and also earn scholarship money.

"It's like a two-in-one because I don't have to drive anywhere. It's just the job and straight to school, so it's awesome. I love it," explained Kathryn Mooney, a junior.

The scholarship money comes from the shop's proceeds. The proceeds also help buy classroom supplies.

Besides getting graded, the special education students working in the shop earn mock paychecks to teach them money management skills.

"They get paid a (fake) check every Monday which they then deposit into their (fake) checking account," explained Barber. They can then use the play money to buy classroom supplies for themselves.

The program's proved so successful, it's now in more than 60 classrooms across the United States as well as in Canada and Australia.

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