William James Middle School’s special education classes have partnered with Bitty and Beau’s Coffee and opened the Knightly Cafe for faculty and the public earlier this year.

In addition to coffee, they offer lunch and dessert or snack options.  The menu varies each week based upon what the students want to

prepare.  The students come up with the recipes each week and prepare the food as part of their classes at school.

The public is welcome from 10 am to 2 pm each Friday during school, but please be prepared to adhere to the school’s visitor protocols and check in at the office and provide a valid driver’s license.

Each week they email a menu out, and recommend pre-ordering for pick up at the school or for delivery to your office or home.  This helps them to make sure they have prepared enough each week.

You can place orders online via this form prior to coming to the school. Orders are for pick up only, and the cafe accepts cash or checks for payment.   Email Patty Johnson at pjohnson@bullochschools.org if you would like to receive the weekly menu and order form or to make a contribution to help purchase supplies and support their efforts.  Local businesses have stepped up already to donate supplies.  Awards South made each of the students personalized name tags which they wear with pride.

All proceeds benefit the Knightly Cafe and other learning experiences for the school’s special education classes.  The William James’ special education students have already taken a field trip to meet the staff at Savannah’s Bitty and Beau’s location and get a behind-the-scenes tour and are planning a field trip to the beach with the money they make from the cafe.

Bitty and Beau Coffee

Bitty and Beau’s Coffee advocates for the value, inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. According to their website, they sell coffee carts to schools as a “catalyst for creating a culture where diversity is not just appreciated, it’s celebrated. Bitty and Beau’s coffee carts prepare individuals with disabilities for the workforce, create an ongoing stream of revenue for participating schools, and help demonstrate the intrinsic value in every individual.”

“Our students are incredibly excited,” said Patty Johnson, one of the self-contained special education teachers at William James Middle School who spearheaded the local project. “We were looking for a way to take the abstract concepts that are hard for our students and make them more concrete and easier for them to understand,” Johnson said. “This is a way to teach about how to make a plan, money, how to create a budget, income, and debt – all life skills that are important to know.”

Johnson knew about Bitty and Beau’s new location on Congress Street in Savannah, and about the corporation’s Coffee Cart movement to further learning opportunities for students with special needs. With help from William James Middle School’s student council, the student body hosted a dance last spring to raise money to help Johnson purchase a coffee cart from Bitty and Beau’s.

The company puts its mission into practice as more than 90 percent of its employees have disabilities.

The students will receive a video call once a month from a Bitty and Beau’s employee to ensure everything is running smoothly with the Knightly Cafe. The employees will also include notes of encouragement to the students in each shipment of supplies for the cafe.

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...