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Beyond the Books: Franklin students see improved behavior as baristas

Franklin Middle School student Ethan Morning prepares a latte.

As the bell rings signifying the start of first period, a handful of Franklin Middle School students scurry toward an atypical classroom on the second floor.

On a table near the middle of the room, a tower of treats rests, its aroma serving as a not-so-subtle sensory invitation.

Snacks ranging from nut rolls to cupcakes have been prepared, and a pot of water boils on the stove top.

One by one, the sixth, seventh and eighth graders enter, each taking a beeline to a station with its own set of tasks.

The primary function of this room on Monday and Friday mornings -- a coffee shop known throughout the school's hallways as Bolt Jolt.

Student from Amanda Saunders' behavior focus classroom serves as baristas in a hands-on learning environment, giving them an opportunity to apply a skill and immerse themselves in the Franklin community.

After all, these coffees aren't just for looks and smell - they're for consumption by Franklin faculty and staff.

"Somebody's in charge of the drip coffees, somebody's in charge of the lattes, and somebody's in charge of the deliveries," said Saunders, who supervises the students at work.

The program was introduced at the start of the 2017-18 school year in the hopes of improving behavior for students in Saunders' class.

So far, Bolt Jolt has been the boost Saunders was hoping for.

"We've seen a lot of improved behavior," said Saunders. "They know if they're not doing their job in the classroom, they don't get to work in the coffee shop, so they really want to do that, and I think that's a huge motivator for them."

Seventh grader Ethan Morning said he enjoys the interactions with teachers, adding the coffee shop has helped him open up more.

Although on this day, Morning is a bit standoffish.

On his way to deliver coffee to Franklin Principal Lucas Ptacek, Morning is asked if he gets nervous delivering the school's leader.

"No, I just," Morning pauses, "I just get nervous when I'm on TV."

Currently, nine students operate Bolt Jolt coffee shop, which operates Monday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.



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