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Belton ISD special education students learn about social skills, operating a business by serving coffee

High Point Elementary students, from kindergarten through fifth grade, work in teams to deliver coffee they brew for teachers every Friday.

BELTON, Texas — Forget waiting in line at Starbucks, staff at High Point Elementary in Belton have something better to look forward to.

Every Friday teachers are not only waking up to smell the coffee, but they are waking up to address inclusivity at the school.

6 News got the chance to visit HPE Exceptional Colt Coffee Bar, a classroom-turned-coffee shop, where students took orders and served up a fresh cup of joe.

"Before they might be stuck in a special education classroom but getting them included everywhere else in the school makes them feel accepted. I think that is important for them," said Heath Conde, a special education teacher at High Point Elementary School.

The students got to work, making coffee, and cultivating their kitchen, social and customer service skills. Their target customers are teachers at the school.

"It is very enjoyable to have this coffee arrive at our door,” said fifth grade teacher Sandra Rowland. "But then also what is exciting is to have the interaction with the students and to see that smile on their face when they hand it over."

Students from kindergarten through fifth grade work in teams to deliver coffee. They said at first keeping up with the demand was challenging.

"That was the hardest part, but now I am doing it more and more. I grab a coffee off the cart then I keep on grabbing,” said student Christopher Cox.

The school received funding from a Donors Choose project request that was set up at the beginning of the summer. The hope is for others to see the kids more for what they can do and not be judged for their behaviors or academic struggles.

"I look forward to Fridays,” said Conde. “Just for those smiles and to see them display those skills we work hard on every single day."

The coffee is free for teachers, but donations are always welcome. All proceeds go to the Belton ISD Special Olympics organizers.