LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Exciting things are brewing at Churchill Park School to help students gain life skills and prepare for life after graduation.  

What You Need To Know

  • Churchill Park School serves students with moderate-to-severe disabilities through specialized programs 

  • Churchill Park high school and post-high school students manage a mobile coffee shop 

  • Students are learning life skills through the program

  • The money earned is put back into the coffee shop

Churchill Park School serves Jefferson County students between the ages of 5 and 21 with moderate-to-severe disabilities through specialized programs. Churchill Park is the only school in the JCPS school system to have a New Horizon transition program.

Ryan McCarrick enjoys working at Churchill Perk. His favorite part is getting to play basketball after his shift. (Spectrum News 1/Ashley N. Brown)
Ryan McCarrick enjoys working at Churchill Perk. His favorite part is getting to play basketball after his shift. (Spectrum News 1/Ashley N. Brown)

Churchill Park Grade 14 student, Ryan McCarrick, uses a communication device primarily to speak, but most days his smile says it all. 

Besides basketball, there’s nothing Ryan loves more than his in-school job at Churchill Perk serving up hot coffee and smiles at Churchill Perk.

Churchill Perk is a coffee shop run by the school’s high school and post-high students. 

Transition support teacher Gina Bedford says the adaptive learning experience is invaluable. 

“This is a hands-on opportunity to use these communication skills to interact with the various staff members and work on money skills, social skills and really just have an opportunity to prepare for some social job skills that they may need in the future,” Bedford said.

The mobile shop is stationed at Churchill Park on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and on Fridays, the mobile shop takes its services to Marion C. Moore High School. 

Kaitlin Mason, another transition support teacher, says it’s a day her students look forward to. 

“Our students love the opportunity to get out of our school because we don’t have any typical peers so it gives them an opportunity to interact, have fun, engage and get exposed to other kids that they normally wouldn’t be able to so it's super fun. They love it,” Mason said.

Post-high school teacher Madelyn Calzi is excited to share energy and love from her students, like Shams Al Kailana, with others. 

“She loves being included and loves being around others and so this just means so much to her that she gets to use that not just at our school at Churchill Park but anywhere else in the community, and everybody needs a little bit of Shams in their life,” Calzi said. 

McCarrick will miss his job when he graduates this spring, especially getting to play ball at the high school after his shift. 

After graduation, he will transition to an adult day program. 

The Churchill Park staff is excited that the program is spreading awareness about the unique school and its services. 

The staff hopes to make more stops around the community.  

Project partners Heine Brothers and Insomnia Cookies provide monthly donations to Churchill Perk. The money earned is put back into the program and helps with students’ needs.