Supporting Red Mountain High School's Overall Mission
This community realizes that all of our students are unique, and it's in our school mission statement that we empower each student to "be courageous and influential citizens who thrive in a changing world." To do this our special education staff is industrious and looks for creative and new ways that help children and help families in unique ways to support our overall mission. The Mountain Movers Cafe is focused on giving students an opportunity to practice self-determined behavior and independence in preparing them for their future in our changing world.
Mountain Movers Cafe Mission
Mountain Movers Cafe is dedicated to offering students with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to gain work experience and transferable skills by providing our customers with quality coffee and other beverages, quality food, and excellent service at reasonable prices. Employees of Mountain Movers Cafe will be students with intellectual disabilities who are enrolled in the Applied Instruction Program at RMHS and are interested in gaining transferable work experience in the retail services industry. The experiences the students have while participating in this program will assist them in making the transition from school to work and will allow them to develop skills that will be transferable to any job in the future.
The coffee cafe program, developed by the Applied teachers at RMHS, is radically different from other transition curriculum available today. Typically transition curriculum offers videos, worksheets, board games, role playing ideas, task activities, textbooks and workbooks to teach transitional skills for special needs students in the classroom. The Applied coffee cafe program teaches school-to-work skills by having the students actually deal with real customers, real money and real on-the-job scenarios. What better way to prepare a student for "real life" but to have them "employed" at a "real business"?
The Applied teachers have seen that students with significant Intellectual Disabilities have pronounced problems learning skills in one setting and then transferring them into another. The teachers at have determined that it is vitally important to have an established environment outside of the classroom to teach vocational skills. The fact is that special needs students who are taught work-related skills in a classroom and then asked to "practice" those skills in the real world often fail. For example, skills taught in the classroom via role-playing, written board activities, task activities, worksheets, or board games often do not transfer when a student is asked to "perform" the same skill out in the community.
Customer purchases go to buying supplies, paying for social learning field trips to practice etiquette and public navigation skills and for purchasing incentive items for students to earn. This last school year the students took a trip to the Odysea Aquarium, attended dances at other district high schools, and hosted their own dance with other district high schools attending.