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Building entrepreneurs one cup at a time

DCSM sixth grade students Chloe Goodman-Scott, (left) Michelle Batson (middle) and teacher Diana Visser (right) learn that providing customers with exceptional service is a big part of the Starbucks experience.

By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of DCS Montessori

While it’s not uncommon to see the Castle Pines local Starbucks’ baristas multitasking behind the counter, it is uncommon to see DCS Montessori (DCSM) sixth graders behind the counter with them.

In December, Diana Visser’s class will host a holiday bake sale during the school’s annual holiday gift shop. All proceeds will go directly to Judi’s House, a Denver-based nonprofit organization that provides support to grieving children and their families.

To better prepare for the holiday bake sale, Visser’s sixth graders partnered with Starbucks to run a Starbucks-themed bake sale. The company donated coffee, cups, lids, pastry bags and even green aprons to be worn by the bake sale hosts. The class wrote a formal proposal and sent a business letter to Taylor Krayson, local Starbucks store manager. Krayson scheduled meetings with the students and provided the opportunity to learn more about running a successful business.

Dressed in Starbucks green aprons, Dee Lee (left) and Anna Adkins (right) are ready to take customer orders in the drive thru while applying the customer service skills they learned from fellow Starbucks partners.

Their visit exceeded all expectations. The students did more than observe the baristas and store operations. They became the baristas during their visit. Proudly wearing the Starbucks green apron, they learned how to provide exceptional customer service, manage inventory and even took a few drive-thru orders. Anna Adkins and Dee Lee personally had the opportunity to take an order with a barista. Both Adkins and Lee shared that taking the drive-thru orders was good practice for them and gave them customer service skills they can apply during their bake sale. As for Krayson, she felt the experience was rewarding for all visiting students. It was a good opportunity for them to see the daily operations from the other side of the counter.

Customer service is not only a big component in Starbucks day-to-day operations, but in many businesses. Observing and working the floor at Starbucks was a humbling experience for the DCSM students. They saw that everyone has a specific job to perform. The biggest takeaway for student Chloe Goodman-Scott was that in the retail world you have to be flexible.

Sebastian Doughtery (left) and Rebecca Ullom (right) observed a partner cleaning the espresso machine. Students learned that completing daily tasks and keeping the store clean is just another component to running a successful business.

Castle Pines Starbucks, its partners and the students of DCSM have all come together to support a great organization and help those who are grieving a great loss. Visser personally knows loss and grief. She suffered a terrible loss as a young child. It was the support of community and teachers that inspired her to become a teacher. Visser said it feels wonderful to give back to Judi’s House. “Witnessing children at this young age have the skills and confidence to partner with community businesses is empowering,” she said.

For more information on Judi’s House visit



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