Area Manager, Houston, Texas
ALC Schools is the pioneer of supplemental and alternative student transportation. What was first established in the early 2000’s in Orange County, California, has grown to gain the trust of over 400 school districts in 20 states. Our experience and dedication are unmatched in the industry and the only way to truly demonstrate that is through our stories. There isn’t a single aspect of ALC that makes us unique, but the collective of all of our experiences and challenges define the entire company as a whole.
On August 17, 2017, Houston, Texas was heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey. While the storm itself came and went, the devastation it left behind was crippling. Jessica Aquino, then an ALC Account Manager for Houston-area school districts, was suddenly considered homeless. Her apartment, and everything in it, was flooded. She lost everything.
Jessica recounts: “I left Houston and headed to Dallas to wait out the flooding. My boss at the time asked me to give him a list of the things I needed to start getting back on my feet. I was starting at zero. I’d left Houston with only the clothes on my back, so the list I sent him included necessities – towels, sheets, toiletries, some dishes, and some utensils. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that list was sent to the entire company and things started coming in from all over the country.”
While Jessica was still in Dallas, Houston-area school districts started calling. They were in dire need of help. Like Jessica, many of their students had lost everything and the districts were desperate to give them a sense of normalcy and continuity. They needed help getting students from their temporary residences to school and back, and those residences were still changing frequently. Regardless of her own circumstances, Jessica continued to work with these districts, associated service providers, and other ALC team members to ensure a united approach to helping our students.
Jessica continues: “After spending two weeks in a hotel room in Dallas, I was notified that I would be able to get into my apartment and start assessing damages. I called our corporate office to let them know that the company car I’d been using would need to be towed. When I arrived at my apartment the following day, I was met by two members of our upper management team, dressed in work boots and gloves, ready to help me clean out what I could. It gave a whole new meaning to a term we use repeatedly at ALC – ‘boots on the ground.’ Usually, that’s me. This time I was the one in need of those boots on the ground.”
Having worked with McKinney-Vento/homeless/displaced students for four years prior to the storm, Jessica had grown to deeply care for the MKV community. Her passion for providing consistent, safe, and reliable transportation for students covered by the McKinney-Vento Act was now hitting home in a way it previously had not. Her appreciation and understanding of what ALC Schools does, what we stand for, and the impact it has on individuals deepened.
While our goal has always been to “focus on the one” with our students, that wouldn’t be possible without the dedication and care we have for each other. The compassion we share for each other translates into everything we do, and that’s what sets us apart.