Partnership Highlights

  • Schnucks

    Posted by Special School District on 5/11/2023

    Santos reviews the shelves to find the correct spot for a bottle of lotion.There is a lot that happens in a grocery store. Keeping items on the shelf is only part of the equation. Items must be turned to face forward, stocked by date, removed if expired, and placed in the correct spot. These are just a few of the tasks required to make sure grocery items get from the store to your home, and at Schnucks in Des Peres, SSD students are completing them.


    Lee Goldstein, an SSD teacher at Kirkwood High School, accompanies her four students to Schnucks for the first three periods of school four days a week as part of SSD’s Community Based Vocational Instruction program (CBVI). On Thursdays, students remain at school and work on transition skills: employability, community living, daily living, and personal life.


    Schnucks store manager Dennis Frede, was excited to speak about the CBVI program at their store. Frede is a big proponent of welcoming students; he believes his team members learn as much as the students do. As for the quality of work provided, Frede beamed, “They do a great job, and they’re always smiling. I just love it; it makes me feel good.”


    In addition to retail-specific skills such as stocking, students are learning transferable skills in leveraging technology and customer service. Students use the Schnucks App to help them locate where to put items customers might displace throughout the store. Customers and team members also interact with students, and students have the opportunity to practice answering questions or responding to a polite greeting.


    Morgan works in the back room of a Schnucks grocery store.And, the students are happy about gaining real-world work experience. One student from this year’s group will begin working at Schnucks upon graduation, and another was all smiles, stating, “It’s great! I get to walk around the store and learn new things.” 


    As they wrap up their year with Schnucks, this group has gained more than transferable skills through the CBVI program. Goldstein sees students are more confident and independent, better understand the importance of money, and have gained a sense of community which was evident throughout the store. Students regularly worked and interacted with Schnucks employees, and the employees spoke highly of the students. 


    Goldstein speaks highly of Schnucks as well. “Schnucks is a great partner for our students. A worker today asked me about a student I had here last year: ‘How is he doing?’ You know, they develop a fondness and relationship and care about how students are doing and whether they’re successful. They are a great, great partnership. Everybody here is spectacular.”


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