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Huntington Beach Union High School District

Ocean Brew Coffee Cart Allows Students to Thrive in Their Functional Math Course

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. - At Ocean View High School (OVHS), the Ocean Brew Coffee Cart dusted off its wheels at the start of the school year and is back in business for teachers around campus.

The OVHS IDEAS program (Independence, Diversity, Educating All Students) began four years ago to support students with special needs on a comprehensive campus, offering instruction in functional academics, vocational, social, and life skills. A coffee cart that started as a project in students’ functional math class has quickly turned into its own class this year and is a fan favorite program throughout the OVHS campus.

In its first year as an individual course, IDEAS students are put to the test with the Ocean Brew Coffee Cart to learn social skills, math, communication, consumer skills, and employment skills. Twice a week, students in this class become professional baristas where they take orders from teachers around campus, prepare fresh coffee from scratch to order (including cream, sugar, etc.), then a team of two sets out to deliver their orders. Teachers across campus are excitedly smiling when the Ocean Brew Coffee Cart rolls up to their classroom, which in turn puts smiles on the IDEAS’ students' faces. Cups of coffee are sold for $1, which goes directly back into the program for supplies for the coffee cart. Throughout the semester, each student will have a chance to prepare and make coffee, deliver, clean up, and handle the earnings, learning a variety of real-world skills by the time they are finished with this class.

After the morning deliveries, the students in the delivery team shared their favorite part of participating in the coffee cart is “delivering and pouring the coffee; it’s fun to go into the classrooms and talk with the teachers”.

“This class teaches our students how to run a coffee business,” exclaimed Courtney Gillett, OVHS IDEAS teacher, and April Gamboa, Special Education Instructional Aide. “They prepare the coffee, deliver, and take payment. It is completely student-run. They work on money skills, customer service skills, social skills, and employment and communication skills. We have been excited to see how the Ocean View staff really looks forward to their Ocean Brew crew deliveries each week.”

John Volo, OVHS Business Academy Instructor, shared, “I look forward to my coffee delivery every week, not for the tasty brew, but for the camaraderie and kindness from my mobile baristas. This rotating group of kids are all awesome humans. I appreciate the relationships I've been fortunate to cultivate with the IDEAS kids and find their coffee visits even more energizing than the caffeine they're delivering.”

“I look forward each week to seeing the IDEAS kids delivering coffee to my room!” added OVHS Business Academy Coordinator, Roger Keating. “I have such admiration for this program and it is another reason why OV is the most amazing place to BE!”

Similar style coffee carts are popping up at schools around the Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD), and HBUHSD is proud to host schools that are genuinely making a difference in teaching students skills they will take with them when they leave their campuses.

Photos from the Ocean Brew Coffee Cart can be found in the HBUHSD Pixieset.
OVHS Ocean Brew Coffee Cart