First Student’s "I Care + We Care = Customer Care" initiative is an extension of our vision and values to demonstrate caring at every level of the business. From regional managers, to local operations personnel, to school bus drivers, and to the children we transport, "I Care + We Care = Customer Care" builds upon First Student’s successful passenger behavioral management training program to involve our entire team. We have established programs and practices that foster supportive workplace environments for all employees — this culture of caring translates throughout the organization.
First Student invests in providing leadership training for our managers as well as developing innovative tools and techniques for the field. Our drivers receive coaching, guidance and ongoing support. Drivers lead by example, teaching students to respect one another and practice school bus safety. The result is a positive school bus experience for each of our student passengers.
Putting "Care" into Practice
First Student’s approach is based upon best practices in behavioral psychology. Specifically, we focus on using positive reinforcement as the primary means for shaping or changing behavior. "I Care + We Care = Customer Care" sets general age-appropriate conduct expectations for students and provides positive behavioral-specific reinforcement for safe, appropriate bus behaviors.
Instead of focusing solely on misconduct (and thereby reinforcing bad behavior), our drivers are trained to focus on positive student conduct. We instruct our drivers and monitors to sustain positive and respectful attitudes from their student passengers by observing good behavior and regularly delivering positive reinforcement. This is how we deliver the best start and finish to the school day for students and their families.
By creating a more positive bus ride to and from school, we enhance the level of customer service we provide. This approach is making a difference in the lives of children we transport. Below are just two of the many examples we see on a daily basis that shows how much First Student drivers truly care about the children they transport.
Driver Helps Student Attend Prom
When April Floyd, a First Student driver in St. Louis, Missouri, learned that a single father on her route could not afford to send his daughter to prom, she went to the student’s high school and bought a prom ticket for her. April did not stop there. She enlisted the help of her First Student colleagues to secure a prom dress, shoes and jewelry for the student.
April says the "straight-A” student is a pleasure to transport. She did not want the student to miss out on a chance to attend her prom.
“To know her students so well and to listen so carefully to what’s going on in their lives shows how dedicated April is to her young passengers,” shared First Student Location Manager Tom Reeves.
Driver Goes Out of Her Way to Help Student
First Student Driver Cathy Stahl in Darien, Connecticut is known for extending a warm welcome and a smile to every student who boards her bus. Not only does she know their names, but she also knows the names of the student’s pets that are often waiting at the bus stop with a parent or guardian.
A dad on Cathy’s route recently wrote the local First Student location to express gratitude for her kindness in returning an item that his 4-year-old son accidentally left on the bus.
The student’s father shared that his son had forgotten to take his lunchbox while getting off the bus at school in the morning.
“On returning to your depot and doing a bus inspection, Cathy found his lunchbox. She then drove back (to the school) in her own car to drop off the lunchbox, so that (the student) would have his lunch that day!”
Cathy went out of her way to help the student without hesitation, demonstrating how her commitment to the students on her bus extends beyond her route.