Successful Student Work Skills Program Grows
“Student Perks: It's More Than Coffee.” This slogan, used to promote a student-run enterprise known as Student Perks, rings true for those who instituted a work skills opportunity that began percolating four years ago in the St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) Exceptional Student Education (ESE) program.
The original Student Perks location, run by Port St. Lucie High School students, is located at the Board of County Commissioners Administration Building located at 2300 Virginia Avenue in Fort Pierce, and is open to the public every Tuesday from 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM. Students have successfully sold coffee, pastries, fresh fruit, and signature brand tumblers in a kiosk on the first-floor breezeway for three years. They reap benefits of authentic experiences while their customers benefit from their valuable services.
This year, the PSLHS students have been mentoring St. Lucie West Centennial High School students to prepare them for the opening of a second Student Perks location. After much preparation, the second Student Perks, located at Port St. Lucie City Hall Building A (First Floor) at 121 Port St. Lucie Blvd. in Port St. Lucie, opened on March 28, 2019. Student Perks in Port St. Lucie is now open to the public every Thursday from 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM.
The goal of the coffee shop is to support students in their effort to refine skills that will aid them as they transfer to competitive employment after high school. According to Job Coach Martha Taylor, “There is no better practical application of a skill than to use it when authentically interacting with customers. Student Perks offers our students opportunities to work with customers to flex their abilities in the areas of nutrition, money, marketing, social skills, safety, work ethics, and working with the public.”
Executive Director of Student Services and Exceptional Student Education Bill Tomlinson lauds the partnership with the county and the city. “We greatly appreciate the partnership and continued support of our Transition Programs that provide great opportunities for our students to participate in authentic employment experiences as they prepare to move from school to work.” He added that he is witness to the fact that students are now able to transfer what they have learned in the classroom to an authentic work experience. “This is truly enhancing and expanding their educational program.”
Students from PSLHS and SLWCHS are responsible for kiosk operations, and proceeds from the coffee shops offset Student Perks’ expenses.
About St. Lucie Public Schools
St. Lucie Public Schools (SLPS) proudly serves students with a graduation rate of 91.8 percent. As a B rated District, there are no failing schools, and SLPS ranks among the top one-third of Florida’s districts for student achievement. The District also has the distinction of being recognized as one of St. Lucie County’s Best Places to Work. The mission of SLPS is to ensure all students graduate from safe and caring schools equipped with the knowledge, skills and desire to succeed. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, or visit http://www.stlucieschools.org.
Students from Port St. Lucie High School and St. Lucie West Centennial High School team up to bring a student-run enterprise known as Student Perks to Port St. Lucie's City Hall.