Special Ed Teacher Finds Brilliant Way for Students to Thrive Beyond the Classroom


Sadie Guthrie is a special education teacher at Lawton Alternative School in San Francisco, and her work has been highlighted in the latest video in SoulPancake’s Class Act series, which profiles inspiring teachers.

Guthrie developed a mobile coffee cart program that helps both her students and the community. In the six-minute video above, we see firsthand how a sweet and simple idea is benefitting everyone it touches.

Guthrie says she looks beyond a typical curriculum and tries to imagine where her students are headed long term. She also observed the challenges her students faced when it came to interacting with others in the community, so she came up with a plan. She launched a mobile coffee cart so everyone could learn essential skills — and get to know a little bit more about one another.

Guthrie says everyone was a bit hesitant initially, but the coffee cart program quickly took off. From communicating with employees at the local bakery that supplies the coffee cart’s pastries to taking public transportation, Guthrie’s kids get a chance to practice all sorts of important skills.

“Any school in this country could take this example to help transform their own school community, to make sure that every child feels accepted, that every child feels that they belong, that they have a place,” Gina Ferrante, the school’s principal, adds.

“Even if you face challenges, those challenges aren’t necessarily the important part,” Guthrie concludes in the clip. “It’s more like, what are the skills that you do have that you’re going to use to move forward? It’s less about what are you struggling with, it’s more about how awesome can you be.”


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Other

Why My Son Won't Have an IEP

Recently we had our first taste of what an IEP would be for me son. He’s had an IFSP (individual family service plan) for the past year and half, and it’s been a process I’ve absolutely dreaded every single assessment. Each time they had to assess his skills, and then the subsequent 10-page report that [...]

Parents Say Stunting Their Disabled Daughter’s Growth Is for the Best

Due to infantile spasms, microcephaly and cerebral palsy, Jenn and Mark Hooper’s 10-year-old daughter Charley cannot see, walk or talk. When Charley was a toddler, the Hoopers wondered how they could give their daughter the best quality of life, as well as proper care. Bathing and changing Charley, for example, were presenting themselves to be daunting tasks. [...]
Kayla's two sons

To the TV Show That Made Fun of Kids Like My Sons

To the people behind the show “Survivor’s Remorse,” My heart sank when I saw a video clip with characters on your show describing kids with clefts using horrific words. In the clip, the characters talked about money for charity going to “the f***** up mouth kids,” and used terms like “snaggle teeth” and “weird lips.” I was angry, [...]

Before You Judge That Mom You Don't Know, Watch This

Ada is a working mother with a newborn. Shyrelle is an unmarried mother. Yalixa cannot breastfeed her daughter because of a lump that was removed from her breast four years ago. What do all of these women have in common? They face a lot of undeserved judgement from others. The short documentary below, from director [...]