Bluebird Brew Cafe Offers Life Lessons for Students
Highlands High School has its own coffee shop, the Bluebird Brew Cafe. It’s a student run business where students can develop lifelong work skills.
The idea began when Elise Carter, a teacher at Highlands High School, visited Stevenson High School in Chicago.
She stated, “Every year, hundreds of educators from around the country visit Stevenson to hear from and talk with members of its professional learning community.”
“While I was there, I was more intrigued about some of the business opportunities happening at the school. One in particular was how the cafeteria operated 3 coffee cafés on campus. The café sold many of the things you find at Starbucks or Fort Thomas Coffee. I was fascinated by the freedom students had to purchase these items and how responsible they were to make a decision if the line was too long or could they grab a cup of joe on their way to class. I started pondering how I could make this possible for Highlands,” Carter says.
She proposed the idea to fellow teachers Shelly Hoffstedder, Sue Beiting, and Marlee Barton. Their participation means that this particular venture will cross disciples including business, special needs, and culinary arts programs. Carter approached then principal, Brian Robinson, to make her proposal.
She says, “I wanted this to be an Accounting and Marketing opportunity for my Business Management students but thought the face and customer service could be a great opportunity for the Special Education Department. He [Mr. Robinson] liked the application of real-world skills for students.”
And like many businesses, the Bluebird Brew Cafe will start small to test the market before expanding. The supervising teachers “agreed that in first year, this would be a huge undertaking. So, the Bluebird Brew Café will only sell to HMS/HHS faculty and staff between second and fifth periods each day,” Carter says. They will begin by selling to teachers and staff.
Marlee Barton’s culinary students will make treats (brownies, Rice Krispy Treats, muffins) that may be purchased alongside hot/cold drinks. “Again, providing real-world skills for her students,” Carter says.
Customers have two options. They could buy a $100 Annual Unlimited Hot/Cold Drink Membership that includes a tumbler or they can buy drinks and snacks individually. Those will range from $1.50 to $3.50. The program has enough patrons so far to cover over 70% of their costs before they even poured their first cup. That number is expected to rise.
All profits will go “back into program to purchase supplies. Our hope is to have a small profit leftover at the end of the year to reward students involved with this student enterprise with coffee and lunch off-campus during exam week second semester.”