February 4, 2023
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Coffee cart provides career training for some third graders | Local News

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ALEXANDRIA — Alexandria-Monroe Elementary’s third grade inclusion class has started a business venture that could get staff members’ hearts racing with excitement.

Students of varying ability levels collaborated with inclusion teacher Briana Schraub to open a coffee cart business, with the first cups of joe sold Dec. 2.

Staff members order their favorite drinks in advance via a Google Doc; the drinks are made and delivered the next school day, she said.

Schraub oversees the operations, but the students operate the business through roles of barista, accountant, server and a stock person.

The barista makes the drinks, the accountant monitors the funds, the server delivers the drinks, and the stock person maintains inventory.

Rather than assign roles, students underwent an application and interview process as they would for a regular job.

Showing students they have what it takes to live a productive life, though it may not look the same as others’ lives, Schaub said, is her goal for this venture.

Schraub said each student involved struggles with some disability, which for many has affected their fine motor skills.

Fine motor skills give people control over the small muscles in their hands. Those muscles are used for actions such as writing, getting dressed and eating, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

“When they’re making the coffee, hot chocolate or tea, they have to grab the cup, which sounds like an easy task, but for kids with weak fine motor skills, that’s something that is a little bit of a task,” Schraub said.

“They have to have it underneath the Keurig, transfer the cup, hold the cup. Some kids, just working on grip strength in their hands, that’s what is helpful.”

Schraub also noted improvements in some students’ verbal communication and leadership skills, like following up with customers.

As an example, she’d heard from a staff member that a student from one of the coffee cart groups asked the staff member how she liked her drink, some time after the coffee cart had closed for the day.

Schraub considered the staff member’s comment to be an improvement, saying the student is known for being shy and reserved.

Funds raised from sales will first go for supplies. At the end of the year, the remainder will be donated to a local charity, preferably in Alexandria, Schraub said. As of Tuesday, she and the students had not chosen a charity.





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