A fresh-brewed coffee, latte or hot tea are among the items Klondike Middle School staff can order from the Special Grounds Cafe once a week. It's a project funded by the Public Schools Foundation of Tippecanoe County and involves teachers Pat Goodwine and Angela Yost and more than a dozen life skills students.
Special Grounds provides a weekday drink service for Klondike teachers and staff members. Students complete applications and go through an interview process for positions within the cafe. They are responsible for organizing orders, finding out how to make specific drinks, delivering the drinks, collecting money and making change, as well as cleaning up after deliveries and restocking supplies. Money collected for the drinks goes back in to the program to buy more supplies.
Goodwine says the project provides real-world opportunities to practice and use social language and social skills targeted in speech therapy sessions and social skills lessons.
"When we started, several students were shy and appeared intimidated interacting with teachers with whom they may not have had contact before or teachers with whom they had not had a positive interaction," says Yost. "Later after creating and delivering a product, we have seen them become more outgoing and more confident in their interactions."