Downtown Independence’s newest bakery also doubles as a classroom

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- You might not realize it when you step into "The Taste of Independence" bakery, but you’re walking into more than a bakery.

The downtown’s newest business also doubles as a classroom.

“Instead of just studying business in college we actually get the hands-on experience of running a business,” said Pierce Cromley, a senior at Truman High School.

Cromley is one of a dozen high school students taking advantage of the new business "career academies" in the Independence School District.

Cromley and fellow senior Shelby Fordham handle the business and marketing strategies at The Taste of Independence, while students in the culinary academy learn the skills of baking and food preparation.

“Nowhere in a classroom can you find something and work on a project that will actually come to life,” said Fordham.

The bakery is open Monday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“This is my happy place,” said Cindy Schluckebier, a district teacher who helps guide the student-run bakery. “I love being here every day with my kids and watching them learn and grow, it's great.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce recently recognized the Independence School District with an award for innovation in education. Superintendent Dr. Dale Herl will accept the Education Innovator of the Year Award at the Missouri Business Awards on November 16 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.