Littleton Public Schools (LPS) is a premier school district located a few miles south of downtown Denver. LPS serves 28 square miles and includes the majority of the City of Littleton, Town of Columbine Valley, and portions of the municipalities of Bow Mar, Centennial, Greenwood Village, and the City of Englewood. With about 15,000 students, LPS offers a comprehensive education from preschool through Grade 12. Students attend one of 13 elementary schools, four middle schools, three high schools, several alternative programs, preschools, or two charter schools.
Shortly after taking the job as the district’s Director of Transportation, Michael Hush found that LPS was in a bit of a
bind with its special needs transportation program. He wasn’t new to ALC Schools’ alternative transportation model. “I had been working with ALC Schools for more than eight years when I was working in the transportation department of a neighboring school district, Cherry Creek, which is also here in the Denver area,” Hush said “It had all gone very well and I found right away that I was able to do much more with our existing transportation resources after I’d put ALC Schools on contract.” After moving to LPS, Hush discovered some challenges. “The district had recently adopted a new bell schedule and major road construction was taking place on two main arteries to the north and south of our district,” said Hush. “This was dramatically extending transportation times for our students. The first thing I
did was call ALC Schools.”
ALC’s Model for Special Transportation Needs
ALC Schools supplements districts’ transportation programs using a combination of SUVs, minivans, wheelchair accessible vans, and sedans to assist in transporting McKinney-Vento, ESSA, ESE/special needs, and out-of-district students, as well as hard-to-serve and multi-district trips. Supplementing bus service with small capacity vehicles means that districts no longer pay for unused capacity and have the flexibility to expand and contract their fleet to accommodate the ever-changing demands of these student populations. ALC accomplishes all this while reducing the cost of transportation programs by 20-30%.
“They took a look at what we were facing and discovered that it was a huge task,” said Hush. “However, with quite a bit of effort and a lot of coordination, they were able to pull together dozens of qualified drivers and vehicles in what seemed like no time at all. It was quite impressive.” For Hush, ALC Schools has been a big win at both Cherry Creek
and now Littleton. “I think ALC’s flexibility and providing routes in a very timely manner is what stands out about the services they offer.” “There are so many time when we’ve had a McKinney-Vento student, for example, or other students at the last minute that need a route within 48-hours. ALC Schools has proven themselves more than capable of putting a driver on the route and getting the student to their program. This has been tremendous for us.”
Currently, Hush and LPS rely on ALC Schools for special needs, McKinney-Vento, English language learners, split foster care with neighboring Aurora Public Schools, and even general education. “It’s pretty much the case that if we have a transportation category, ALC Schools is helping us with it,” said Hush. Recalling the difference that ALC has made, not only for him but for his students and their parents and guardians, he gives an example: “It was the first student we were transporting with ALC Schools when I began working with them at Cherry Creek,” he said. “The student had to go to school at off hours and did not like getting into a vehicle. Their rep made a special effort to help both the parent and the student become more comfortable by taking the driver and the vehicle (a Lincoln Town Car) out to the student’s home and made a special introduction. Not only did the kid hit it off with the driver, he became excited to be able to go to school each day in the Town Car and was even improving in school.”
Hush continued, “The time came when we were able to put the student back on the bus, but he was so upset at the though of losing his ride in the Town Car that we made the decision if the was successful in school, we would invest in his transportation. This is a great example of the difference ALC Schools makes in the lives of our students and their families.”
Since that time Hush has found even more cases where transportation has helped students succeed in school. He said, “Outsourcing transportation can be a difficult topic to discuss with parents and even with some schools. We find that when transporting one student, it’s more cost-effective than a bus, but sometimes parents and school personnel will feel that we are trying to ‘farm out’ the student. The success of those students as a result of using ALC Schools, helps to convince parents and schools of the value of their services.