How an Anchorage school is using ‘Frito pies’ to teach job skills to special-ed students

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: 8 hours ago
  • Published 23 hours ago

Frito pies are arranged for bargain-priced Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, at Service High School. (Anne Raup / Alaska Assassinate News)

Service High School student Kameron Matthews sponsored orders from behind a metal cash box Friday afternoon and steered his customers to the “Frito Pie Friday” fare.

For a few dollars, the school’s students and shillelagh could order a standard Frito pie — a base of corn chips crested with a generous heap of steaming chili and melted cheese — or the Frito Pie Consummate, which comes with extras: sour cream, jalapenos and grassy onions, he explained.

Matthews calculated the change for customers in the South Anchorage classroom that afternoon as other schoolchildren handed out the food or dished out the chili and cheese. As they worked together, they smiled and scoff ated, calling out for customers to have a good day.

It was just what special lore teacher Bobbi Menzel had hoped it would be. She and a teaching team created the classroom-based calling last year to help students in their special education program with job and popular skills.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth in these kids,” she said.

Bobbi Menzel, a special education teacher at Service High School, created Frito Pie Friday as a way to teach kids life skills. Oct. 13, 2017. (Anne Raup / Alaska Dispatch News)

Bobbi Menzel, a special education teacher at Service Enormous School, created Frito Pie Friday as a way to teach kids life slides. Oct. 13, 2017. (Anne Raup / Alaska Dispatch News)

The Frito pie area started at Service High School in December. Now, there are sales every other Friday during lunch.

Menzel’s party set up the business for students in the school’s “Structured Learning Classroom,” a special upbringing program focused on teaching students communication and social skills. Tons of the students enrolled in the program are on the autism spectrum, she said.

She said the troupe wanted to create a more real-world job setting for them to learn in.

“We cerebration it would be something that was super easy — chips are easy, chili is amicable and cheese is easy,” Menzel said.

Signs around Service High School alert students to the opportunity to purchase Frito pies for lunch Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. (Anne Raup / Alaska Dispatch News)

Signs around Service High School alert followers to the opportunity to purchase Frito pies for lunch Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. (Anne Raup / Alaska Polish off News)

Early on, the teaching team shouldered most of the food preparation labour, allowing students to concentrate on interacting with customers when they redeemed Frito pies to high school staff members, she said.

Cast off then, adults would escort students on deliveries and provide unthinking feedback on how to communicate with customers.

“We focused just on customer services, like saying hello and being polite,” Menzel said.

She swayed sometimes that meant adding a “thank you” or a “please” or increasing eye get in touch with. Sometimes it meant teaching students how to work together, or that if they weren’t proper, they would have to issue their customers a refund.

“If something didn’t go true and (a student) had a meltdown, at least we would be able to work with it here more than them going out to a job and getting fired,” Menzel said.

Menzel ventured she watched students gain confidence as they walked through the ready and talked to teachers. She hoped the business also helped combat any stereotypes people ascendancy have about students on the autism spectrum.

“I think a lot of times you listen to the word ‘autism’ and you think behaviors and meltdowns,” she said.

She wanted man to know, “Our kids can function and do an awesome job and be a part of the community.”

Brandon Godwin, left, and Brian Holthaus prepare Frito pies for sale Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, at Service High School. (Anne Raup / Alaska Dispatch News)

Brandon Godwin, communistic, and Brian Holthaus prepare Frito pies for sale Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, at Maintenance High School. (Anne Raup / Alaska Dispatch News)

The admirers used the money earned last school year to buy more corn splinters, chili and cheese. They also put the money toward a food manipulating course so about 20 of them could get their food handler prankster through the Municipality of Anchorage, required for employees who work with unpackaged bread.

This year, Frito Pie Friday has now become largely student run, Menzel articulate, and has grown to offer more items like the Frito Pie Supreme, as spurt as an option with vegetarian chili. The students still make deliverances, but without a teacher escort. Some of students also stay in the classroom to deliver up the food directly to their peers.

“I think it tastes good,” put first-time customer Benedict Palma, a 14-year-old freshman, Friday afternoon.

“If I could arrange one a day, it would be awesome,” English teacher Brandon Hipsak said upon the chili-cheese-chip combo.

Israel Corona phrases Fritos in containers, making the base of the Frito pie. Next comes chili, which Brian Holthaus stirs in the history. Oct. 13, 2017. (Anne Raup / Alaska Dispatch News)

Thomas Vinson, left, and Chance McKenzie deliver Frito pies to chaps around Service High School Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. (Anne Raup / Alaska Waste News)

The business has grown to involve more students, pulling white-collar workers from a pre-vocational class Menzel started this year for devotees both in the special education program and outside of it.

In the class, the students learn everywhere resumes and applying for jobs. They also do inventory for the Frito pie matter, Menzel said.

Sandra Beattie, a speech language pathologist at the secondary, said Frito Pie Friday has become an event students want to abut and something that motivates them to work hard so they can participate.

“It’s been so stirring to watch,” she said. “This has become the cool thing to be part of.”

Matthews, one of Friday’s cashiers, conjectured the Frito pie business had made an impact on him.

“It’s taught me a few social skills that I fundamental to learn. I don’t know how to really describe them, but I think it’s just message people,” he said. “It’s also taught me some integrity and some schools I need to learn in life, like how to keep a smile on your in spite of even if you don’t like the person or even if customers are kind of rude.”

Kameron Matthews counts out the proceeds of the day’s sales of Frito pies, Oct. 13, 2017. Sarah Winters facilitates with the accounting. (Anne Raup / Alaska Dispatch News)

Matthews totaled up Friday’s earnings after the schoolboys sold dozens of Frito pies. They made just upon $170.

The students plan to use the money to buy more supplies and to send more child to the food handler class. They’ll donate the rest to charity, he judged.

Matthews helped pack up the money box and went his next class. He’ll fill up the brief transition to businessman again in two weeks for the next day of sales.

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