GCA 2011 Grand Award: Columbia Public School District (with Related Video)

Columbia Public School District (Columbia, Missouri)

Program Information
Number of students: 17,709
Square footage maintained: 2,700,838
Number of full-time custodians: 147
Annual cleaning budget: $478,875
Green cleaning team members: Michael Jones, Assistant Director of Custodial Service; Norris McKinzie, Assistant Director of FCS; Randy Jackson, Environmental Specialist; Dave Thompson, Sales Representative, New System, Janitorial Product Distributor; Dave Thompson, President, Green Clean Institute

Cleaning procedures concentrate on pre-spraying surfaces, dwell time and physical removal of soils. Crucial is cleaning our most touched surfaces nightly, and as often as possible during the daytime, including tables and student desks, doorknobs, push plates, handles, drinking fountains and hand rails. We use Sani-Shield on Mondays to clean surfaces, provide a protective barrier, which reduces the buildup of dirt, bacteria and germs. Wednesday and Friday, all surfaces are sanitized.

Carpet is presprayed with sanitizer and extracted with cold water. Large restrooms are cleaned with sanitizer. Small restrooms are pre-sprayed with a sanitizer in 1-gallon sprayer including the floor, fixtures are wiped clean, and floor mopped with plain cold water using a double-bucket system and water in both buckets to double rinse. Floor surfaces are mopped with a double-bucket system, and have reduced chemical consumption by 35 percent.

We have eliminated feather-type dusters using microfiber products to dust or vacuuming ledges to improve indoor air quality.

We apply floor finish by pouring a small puddle directly on the surface, running a feeder line to thin, and spread with a flat microfiber finish mop. This allows the application of thinner coats, no floor finish waste, cleanup of mop buckets and wringer, stripper for cleaning, only rinsing our finish pad, and saved more than 20 percent in our floor finish consumption.

We received capital assets to purchase stripping machines, which strip floors using plain water. The Edge 32DC will dry strip floor surfaces. Both units will provide significant savings in the consumption of floor stripper, pouring stripper into our drains, and slip and fall hazards.

The superintendent of elementary will incorporate proper handwashing, disposal of paper products, and proper use of paper towels into the district's PBS system. The district uses a Positive Behavior Approach to fully prepare children for school success. Students learn about the appropriate ways to be respectful, responsible and safe. One way to learn how to be respectful is by learning how to properly wash their hands, properly dispose of paper products, and properly use the correct quantities of paper products. Our PBS team will design lesson plans to teach children about the appropriate way of respecting our school environment.


Head custodians and night leads attended the Green Clean Institute's “Certified Green Technician Education” course in the green and healthy use of procedures, products and equipment. This is a continuing step in our commitment toward the education of our employees in understanding green cleaning procedures, techniques and healthy environmental services.

We conduct four mandatory training sessions to custodial staff members to review cleaning products, green cleaning procedures, waste reduction, budgetary issues, asbestos training and other procedures.


We perform regular inspections of all buildings to ensure cleanliness by visual, smell and ATP meter testing. Since our inception of green products and procedures, the district has maintained and increased attendance rates. We track attendance percentages of all district buildings by month compared withprior years to ensure our cleaning procedures are effective and being followed by staff.

Our environmental specialist conducts ongoing evaluations of our buildings indoor air quality by testing, monitoring and documenting district IAQ. This process has allowed our district to understand the importance of IAQ and contributed in the development of our new EEP policy.

We track consumption of our main products by month, building square footage and total student/certified teaching staff. This helps track proper consumption or waste of product; staff is properly consuming the needed amount of chemicals and providing feedback to buildings. Our average cost of paper towels for elementary schools is $7.28 per combined student and certified teacher. We found buildings consuming 30 percent more paper than district average and other buildings consuming significantly less. This type of evaluation was presented in our annual safety meeting with district administration, pointing out the buildings over-consuming paper product and buildings significantly using less, resulting in our superintendent of elementary placing proper handwashing and use of paper products into our district PBS system. This same tracking method led us to understand why we had too many trash cans and needed to look into proper fitting of bags and testing of recycled product.

In April 2011, the BOE approved the policy “Student Allergy Prevention and Response” to create an organized system for preventing and responding to allergic reactions. All district staff will be educated on causes, symptoms and responses to allergic reactions. Staff members shall not use items intended to add fragrance, and are prohibited from using any cleaning materials, disinfectants, pesticides or other except those provided by the district or preapproved. District buildings have until Labor Day 2011 to remove items and take home, and buildings will be inspected by October 15 to ensure compliance. Our department will provide green cleaning product and microfiber rags to all district classrooms at no cost to staff.

In April 2011, an energy and environmental policy was combined to maintain a safer and healthier learning environment and compliant energy conservation program. EEP encompasses all energy devices including lighting, HVAC and water savings; indoor air quality, asbestos and integrated pest management. All stuffed chairs, couches and sofas found to harbor allergens will no longer be allowed in a classroom setting and must be removed, including personal electronic devices including microwaves, hot plates, toaster ovens and refrigerators. Only district-purchased electrical items will be allowed. All classroom storage must be placed in plastic containers, not cardboard.

In August 2011, our department presented to district administrators areas of indoor air quality and shared responsibility of green cleaning. Masking, duct or other adhesive tape is discouraged on carpet due to solvents we no longer provide needed to remove tape adhesive, and will provide Velcro tape at no cost. Staff was asked not to tape nametags or learning devices on student desks and table tops, and establish end-of-the-day procedures for teachers and students to return classrooms back to a reasonable state of when school began to include stacking all chairs, picking up paper debris, pencils, crayons, markers and clearing tables and desks. Shepard Elementary was designated in 2010/11 with a no-tape policy and incorporated students replacing classrooms back into a reasonable state of cleanliness and attendance percentage rates increased almost ½ percent.

We have 15 Partners In Education that promote education and activities related specifically to the environment and healthy living and include 12 schools/programs. The walking school bus program is a group of 5-20 children accompanied by one or more adults on their morning walks to school. 21 buildings are involved in school programs to learn about the environment, climate change, and personal/social responsibilities related to earth-friendly activities. The district participates in City of Columbia load- shedding program to conserve energy and has reduced energy consumption by 27 percent. K-12 students participate in collecting classroom recycling bins and empty into city’s recycling dumpsters in all school buildings.

Related Video

On Columbia Public School's Green Cleaning Program:

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