ORANGE CITY—For 15 years, smoothies have been an important part of MOC-Floyd Valley High School’s curriculum.
That’s because the Dutch Smoothie Shop has served as a way for students in the special education program to learn firsthand basic job and social skills.
The Dutch Smoothie Shop is run out a space near the school cafeteria in a spot that used to be a concession stand.
MOC-Floyd Valley special education teacher Sara Nessa described the shop as an introduction to the school’s work experience course, which students usually do during their senior year.
“We do this to teach some introductory job skills like following directions,” Nessa said. “We get into banking and counting money, interacting with other students by taking orders, delivering smoothies.”
Typically, that means four or five juniors and seniors run the smoothie shop. This year, there are four.
As part of their duties, they keep to a weekly schedule.
On Mondays, the students make a grocery list and go shopping to buy the needed supplies for the week ahead. From Tuesday through to Thursday, they make and deliver smoothies to the classrooms that place the orders. On Fridays, they count up the money and go to the bank.
They rotate which classrooms they will serve and deliver to.
Teachers and students have four flavor options:
- strawberry banana;
- flavor of the month.
They sometimes choose more thematic flavors of the month, such as pumpkin spice during the fall.
Not only is it a tasty treat for the teachers and students, it is an affordable one, too, with one smoothie costing $2.50.
Money raised through the Dutch Smoothie Shop goes back into the special education department.
“It’s a good money generator for our special ed program,” Nessa said. “It helps with the Special Olympics and some different activities we try to do with our students throughout the year. It’s impactful that way for us.”
The funds also are used for supplies that benefit the special education department and its students.
The smoothie shop typically brings in about $1,000 in a school year.
But its true impact has always been for the students who work at the smoothie shop, helping them not only gain skills, but confidence as well.