Imlay City High School Dean Josh Henley hosts students for ‘Coffee with the Dean’ program

Imlay City High School students get a chance to share their thoughts about school when they enjoy ‘Coffee with the Dean’ in Josh Henley’s office.

IMLAY CITY — Share a cup and share some thoughts—that’s what Imlay City High School students get to do when they partake in the ‘Coffee with the Dean’ program.

Since the fall of 2018, Dean of Students Josh Henley has been hosting groups of high schoolers in his office on afternoons throughout the school week where the teens get to enjoy a hot beverage and chat with Henley about themselves and their high school experiences.

Henley said a casual conversation in the hallway started the program. A student, noticing Henley’s coffee cup, suggested the two meet up over coffee sometime.

“I said ‘I’ll catch up with you later.’ So sometime later I invited him down to my office and it was great…I got to know him better,” Henley said.

“In this job you don’t get to work one on one with students very often.”

Seeing an opportunity to do more of that, Henley decided to make those coffee chats a regular thing and he credits the high school office staff for making it official.

“Deb Keeley donated a Keurig and the kids have their choice of coffee, hot chocolate or cappuccino and everyone gets their own mug,” Henley said.

Students drop a slip of paper into a canister in the high school office if they’d like to participate and Henley draws two or three names at a time.

In addition to getting to know students better, Henley said the chats give him a chance to ask about their perceptions of the school—what they like and what they think can be improved.

They’ve also provided valuable insights particularly about new programs and initiatives high school administrators and staff plan to launch in the near future, Henley said.

“I’ve been really impressed with what they’ve had to say,” he said.