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Kristin Pelletier
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 Twice a week, mornings at The Westwood School in Dallas are filled with aromatic smells and a bustling atmosphere as parents and staff grab a drink from the IBeanery, a student-run coffee shop.

In 2006, students researched different potential businesses and selected to open a coffee shop. The following months were filled with planning and preparation as students received training from a local business, found a coffee roaster, and began testing drinks to develop their own menu! In 2007, the first coffees were served and seven years later the Middle School students continue to provide a great location for our community to have a morning drink.

Middle School (7th & 8th Grade) students are responsible for every aspect of the business operation:

• Each student passes the state level sanitation course as they learn foodservice best practices. They are then trained on six positions; espresso, steam, syrups, hot chocolate, bar back, and cashier.

• Students create the menu and each month they decide what they will serve. This is when they plan and test seasonal drinks (pumpkin spice, peppermint).

• Students generate the financials as they keep track of expenses and revenue to generate data such a profit & loss statement.

• Just as in the real world, there are always challenges that can occur at the IBeanery. Students learn to manage issues from machinery breaking to inventory management and long queues.

• Students also use the IBeanery to give back to the community. The majority of the profits are applied to their extended school trips in the Adventure Leadership Program that includes camping, hiking, and rock climbing, as well as city excursions that include city navigation, culture, and history. However, on occasion, the students donate their inventory, time, and money to support various charitable causes within the school.

Each year, students conduct product and customer research and meet together to discuss resulting changes.  These challenges shape them as they develop the valuable skills they will need in any career path they choose to pursue – patience, preparedness, effective communication skills, perseverance, and the rewards of acknowledging a job well done. “As a parent, I can see my daughter learning the skills she will need as a young adult. The IBeanery is preparing her for her first job,” says parent, Kim Worthen.

The IBeanery is an integral component of The Westwood School. Lessons about responsibility (the practical side of earning money) and about economics (the academic side of earning money) are taught by applying information learned in the classroom.  “As a practical skill, working in the IBeanery is one of the most important aspects of a Westwood education.  You can teach math, design cycle technology, health and other academics all day long and not come close to what a student learns during one IBeanery shift,” Head of School, Heather Lourcey.

 

About Us: The Westwood School is the first school in North America to blend the highly regarded Montessori Method with the International Baccalaureate Middle Years and Diploma Programmes, educating students from two-years-old through 12th grade. www.westwoodschool.org

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