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D.C. Everest creates student-run Forest Café for special education learning

While working in the café students can work on their business management, communication, food preparation, sanitation, supply chain management, customer service, and social skills.
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 9:38 AM CST
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SCHOFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) - A coffee shop that provides special needs students the opportunity to learn business management and social skills has opened at D.C. Everest Senior High School. While many of the secondary education components have been impacted by the pandemic, the Forest Café was able to open thanks to district support and hard work from school psychologists and special education instructors.

“We wanted to roll out with it so second semester we finally got our ducks in a row. And it feels good to do something productive and meaningful and not just a filler because we can’t go out like we usually would,” Tiphany Schmidt, one of the school’s special education instructors said.

The Forest Café is a learning hub for 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade students. While working in the café students can work on their business management, communication, food preparation, sanitation, supply chain management, customer service, and social skills.

Schmidt said the social aspect of talking, and working with teachers outside of the special education program is the most exciting and imperative part of the café.

“I think the social side of the peer interaction and getting to know other students within the school and staff within the school is really the biggest thing,” Schmidt said.

The café currently serves hot or iced lattes and coffee, cappuccinos, and Americanos, including specialty flavored drinks and lactose-free options to staff on Thursday mornings. All profits made from the café also stay within the school for projects through various departments, all of which have helped the café with logo design, their website, and specialty cup carriers for wheelchairs.

The school has teamed up with Condor Coffee for their beans and worked with Vino Latte to train on their espresso machine.

Long term, the school is planning to move the café into a more central area of the school. They also hope to expand their hours and menu to include baked goods.

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