The Serving Up Success program enables special education teachers to create a school-based business in which their students practice real life transitional, financial, vocational, and social skills. The school-based business is a student-designed and operated coffee shop for teachers and students. The first model of the program is the Mountain Top Café at Kennesaw Mountain High School.

As well as providing special needs students the opportunity to learn skills required to obtain gainful employment after high school, it also affords regular education students an opportunity to develop and improve entrepreneurial and managerial skills.

  • Graphic Arts students created a logo to give the coffee shop an identity.
  • Interior Design students created design boards for the coffee shop layout and decor.
  • Business Education students manage inventory, finances, scheduling of coffee shop.

The program includes:

  • A step-by-step timeline with instructions on how to get your coffee shop open for business
  • Utility site requirements
  • Sample menus and how to set prices
  • Tips on logo design
  • Grading system including a paycheck reward system
  • Sample proposals and letters to parents, soliciting donations, etc.
  • Job descriptions, application and job interview activities
  • Banking activities, IEP objectives and contacts for setting up fundraising, coffee service and grant money.

In essence, the Serving Up Success program creates a mini-economy. The student-based business allows the students to:

  • Work for a "paycheck"
  • Deposit their "paycheck"
  • Pay their bills
  • "Purchase" items available in the classroom store via writing checks.

The vocational skills learned through Serving Up Success include:

  • Restocking
  • Greeting customers
  • Making eye contact
  • Operating a cash register
  • Interview skills
  • Conversational skills
  • Delivering coffee
  • Following written and verbal multi-step directions
  • Counting money and making change
  • Following a recipe
  • Dressing for work

Not only are students learning valuable vocational skills, but the program aims to instill four core values:

  • Promptness/time management
  • Responsibility
  • Initiative
  • A "Can Do" Attitude

Serving Up Success, Inc. believes that these core values are necessary to ensure success in life. The student-based business model provides students the opportunity to receive a grade as well as a "paycheck." Both are directly related to showing on-the-job initiative. All students can acquire and demonstrate these attributes and qualities, regardless of IQ.