Coffee shop helps teach special needs students at local school

Coffee shop helps teach special needs students at local school (Image 1)

A Williamson County high school has launched a new program for teaching students with special needs.

The program allows students at Independence High School to help run the school's coffee shop, Common Grounds.

Officials at the school said working at the shop helps the special needs students learn what it is like to stand on “common ground” with their peers.

Special Education teacher Dawn Schwartz also told Nashville's News 2 it is a great opportunity for her students.

“[The coffee shop allows me] to be able to extend learning to my students for math, language, social skills [and] customer service skills,” She explained, adding, “[It also helps] expand a lot of their vocational training to get them ready for jobs after high school.”

Student Denny Viteri is among the students who help run the on-campus shop where students and teachers can purchase a variety of different coffees for $1.

“My job is to say hello and goodbye, to make the customer feel good and enjoy so they can come back,” he explained.

Schwartz said her students enjoy learning new skills while working.

“They love it, everyone loves it. They really enjoy being able to make the coffee, take the money [and] make sure everyone gets to say good morning [and] thank you to all the students coming in and out of the shop,” she said.

The coffee shop is open before school begins and during the extended breaks between classes. 

Common Grounds is funded by a grant from the Spring Hill Kiwanis group.   

All of the money earned through at the shop goes to maintaining and improving Common Grounds.

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