The Badger Bean
By Ms. Kelcie Kuhnke, Special Education Teacher
Watch out Starbucks! There is a new coffee house in town—The Badger Bean—with the friendliest baristas in town.
I am a special education teacher at Prescott Mile High Middle School and over the past 2 years, I have been working to develop something for my students to do that will have them working in the school, while increasing their academic, life, and social skills. At the beginning of the year, a fellow teacher approached me with the idea for the coffee cart and from that point on, I just rolled with the idea. I went to our principal, Mr. Binder, with the idea and he was immediately on board.
I got in touch with a few local businesses and asked for donations such as coffee cups, coffee, creamer, stir sticks, etc. After a few weeks of collecting items, I purchased the rest of the necessary materials to start the cart and we began mid-October.
On Thursdays, my students spend the day visiting teachers during their prep hours to collect orders and money. They have choices of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. We have creamer and sugar too! We have just started to offer another choice of biscotti. Just adding one more item can be a big adjustment, but the students have taken it in stride and are happy to deliver the extra treat. During second period on Fridays, the students deliver their orders to each classroom. The students knock on the door and then enter the classroom. They greet the teacher with a “Good Morning, Mr. or Mrs.,” and then always make sure to leave with a friendly, “Have a nice day.” Everyone has had a good time with The Badger Bean, and the faculty and staff look forward to the Friday treat!
The Badger Bean helps my students work on a variety of social and life skills—one of the major skills being appropriate conversation with others. Our students often have social delays that make it difficult for them to understand social situations and cues. Our students are working on greetings, making eye contact when speaking, listening to others, exchanging information, and asking questions. Teamwork is another skill they are working on. They are learning that working together is what makes the cart run successfully. Last, they are working on developing their money skills by taking money and making change. They are excited to build these skills and interact with peers and staff this way. The Badger Bean gives a nice warm feeling to all involved and I am very proud of my students!