Our Cafe Classroom

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The following was written by Rachel, one of our Phase 3 students, for publication in the local papers.

The roaring passion for immersive education within the Entrepreneurial Program at LiHigh School has manifested in the form of classroom known as the Localmotive Cafe. It’s no ordinary business; it’s a multifaceted, dynamic, and ever-evolving adventure in progressive education.

For the past decade, LiHigh School has integrated hands-on experiences into its curriculum to support student development. Students intern with professional mentors, volunteer with organizations throughout the community, and participate in social activism from town halls all the way to the state house. When education goes beyond the classroom, students gain confidence in their abilities and improve on a plethora of essential skills, such as perseverance, integrity, professionalism, and adaptability.

Along with learning how to make and serve coffee and espresso drinks, running Localmotive Cafe connects various topics such as accounting, business management, sales, and more. The retail aspect of the cafe helps students in the Culinary and Arts programs participate in student negotiated and organized commerce. This opens new avenues for students to pursue projects based on real world situations; for example, one student, Elijah, 18, is currently in the process of collecting data to analyze sales in relation to weather patterns. Another student, Zoe, 11, dreams of one day owning a bakery, so she happily experiments with various recipes and sells her baked goods at Localmotive. Another student, Danny, 15, the school’s resident Mr. Fix It, reflected on his experience at the cafe, saying he’s “more prepared to work [and] more confident,” and that within the cafe “whatever needs to be done, [he’s] doing it”.

The greatest asset of the cafe is that it has brought the school community together. It has changed the relationship between staff and students, as well as between the students themselves, who now say they are more connected than ever. In addition, the cafe offers a welcoming space for the Poultney community to interact with the students, and vice versa.

While the cafe has been having a soft opening for the last month, Localmotive’s grand opening will be on Saturday, May 27th. Be sure to stop on by and say hello!

Author: Kyle Callahan

Hi, I'm Kyle. I'm an advisor at LiHigh School. I've been involved in progressive education since I was in high school. I was an original member (and student representative) of the Progressive Program at Green Mountain College, and for my Master's degree, I attended Goddard College, which started the trend toward progressive education in the 1960s. Along with teaching at LiHigh School, I teach courses in creative writing and communications at Green Mountain College. I live with my wife and daughter in Poultney.

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