Exceptional Service: Serving Coffee

Exceptional Service: Serving Coffee
November 5, 2022

What’s the story?

November 4, 2022
Special Education Students Bring Strong Boost To Teachers’ Day (Free Access).
by Journal & Topics. Des Plaines, Illinois. Journal & Topics Media Group.

Were special education students included in the story?

No. The special education teacher who created the program is quoted.

What’s in the news?

Journal & Topics in Des Plaines, Illinois, has a speciel education coffee shop story.

SOARBucks is operated by Structured Opportunities for Academics & Responsibility at Lincoln Middle School in the Chicago suburb of Mount Prospect. It began in 2019 after its director (also a special education teacher), discovered something similar at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, IL, in the Career Life Skills program. A grant from the District 57 Education Foundation and permission from the school and school district allowed the teacher to start the program.

SOAR students, along with some students in a small math class, work Wednesdays to deliver orders to school staff and manage the money.

The teacher in charge says it allows staff to positively connect with students in the program.

Half of the money goes to supplies.

The other half is used to purchase prizes for the students. The example given is a donut party

Does it say “inclusion”?
“Structured Opportunities for Academics & Responsibility” at Lincoln Middle School, and Career Life Skills at John Hersey High School.
These names are not used outside of special education.
“SOARbucks” – Similar to Starbucks.
None of these names promote actual inclusion.

Is it for the student? Or is it for the teacher?
Yes for the students in that money is used for them or the business. Yes for the teachers in that the staff members are the customers.
The teacher who created the program is quoted saying that it gives staff a positive way to interact with special education students.
This essentially means that the students perform for staff once a week instead of being with their peers in those classrooms.

Is This the Least-Restrictive Environment?
Definitely not. They are not with their general education peers who don’t serve coffee to their teachers.
The students interact with staff, not students, on a limited basis (once a week).

What needs to change?
It is not the student’s job to serve coffee and other coffee shop beverages to their teachers.

Is it for a high school diploma?
The story doesn’t say if SOAR students can earn a diploma for participating in this program.