Interest groups include Skyline Coffeeshop

Hannah Brown

The Skyline ES Bird's Nest Coffeeshop opened at Skyline on the Monday before Christmas break, serving coffee, hot chocolate and toppings in the Commons. This special project was part of the school’s redesign effort, one of many interest groups that have been created to support and enhance student engagement in learning real-world skills.

SES has implemented a period during most Mondays of their school year for interest groups. This is a time for different age groups of kids to work together based on their interests. Teachers select and activity, hobby, or interest that they enjoy and students can choose which one to be a part of. During this time students may find something they enjoy, maybe even something that could spark an interest in a career later on, or it can help students discover something they aren’t interested in as much as they thought.

“The goal is for teachers to share a passion and to give students choice and voice in their learning. It's an enrichment activity that also provides exposure to students,” said Principal Diane House.

For part of the semester, Mrs. House’s interest group was “Let’s run a Coffee Shop!” This was a tall order for kids in Kindergarten to 6th grade, so a lot went into this project. The students collected data, talked with people about their love of coffee, and some experiences that people have had when visiting a coffee shop. They even took a trip to the local coffee shop, N’Cahoots. After collecting information, it was on to the planning stage, which included supply preparation and advertising. As a trial run, the students prepared drinks for the annual Board of Education Luncheon, where they made a $140 profit. Money for supplies was provided by the Thrivent Lutheran Grant. Mrs. House and company had a blast serving those in attendance at the luncheon.

“I love seeing students encounter a challenge,” House said. “Sometimes it's hard for us adults to step back and let them work to a solution.  Often times, their solution wasn't what I had in mind --- and guess what, theirs worked!  Likely better than mine would have. I think allowing them to problem-solve, sometimes under fire, grows their confidence.  I love seeing them stretch and become stronger, more confident people.”

Other interest groups at Skyline Elementary School during the first semester of the year included hunting and trapping, birdhouse making, vinyl lettering, snap circuits, and iMovie.