Impact on Learning
Elmhurst Community USD 205
Green Schools Initiative
Cleaner air leads to a healthier school and a better place for students to learn. By giving their staff ProTeam backpack vacuums, Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 was able to ensure this was a reality for all students.
On Aug. 13, 2007, the Green
Cleaning Schools Act became effective in
the state of Illinois. The law required the
use of environmentally sensitive cleaning
and maintenance products in all public
and non-public elementary and secondary
schools with 50 or more students.
Elmhurst Community Unit School District
205 sprung into action and became the
first district in the state to achieve green
cleaning Gold status with the Schools of
Illinois Public Cooperative.
“We moved to microfiber, green
chemicals, and dispensing systems,” says
Jerry Christopherson, building manager for
York High School and purchasing manager
for the green schools initiative. “We work
to create a healthy environment that is
safer, not only for my staff, but also all the
students and teachers and administration.”
But Elmhurst schools didn’t stop
at complying with state law; they took
it further. Over the last decade, the
district’s eight elementary schools, three
middle schools, one high school, and two
additional locations have continued to
transition to healthier and more efficient
maintenance methods and products,
most recently switching from upright
vacuums to ProTeam® Super Coach Pro®
backpack vacuums at the end of 2016.
This latest initiative started when
Christopherson and the other managers
attended a ProTeam demonstration
and were impressed. They learned
that according to ISSA Cleaning Times
backpack vacuums clean two to three
times faster than upright vacuums.
Christopherson also realized that upright
vacuums put asymmetrical stress
on one arm causing strain and fatigue
after several hours of vacuuming.
He enlisted the help of ProTeam
representatives when rolling the
backpack vacuums out to his staff. At
first, the staff hesitated.
“They thought the backpack
vacuum would be heavy, and, actually,
it isn’t. They thought it would be more
work, and it turned out to be easier
work,” says Christopherson.
The staff started by using the
backpack vacuums in the same areas
that they used uprights, on carpeting
in offices, resource centers and libraries.
Then they applied them to some
detail cleaning and began vacuuming
stairways where brooms had been kicking
up as much dust into the air as they
were able to capture in dustpans.
IMPACT ON LEARNING
Capturing more dirt and dust
leads to cleaner air. Cleaner air leads to
healthier students and fewer sick days. A
cleaner school is always a better place to
learn and ProTeam’s Super Coach Pro is a
critical tool for those who keep learning
environments green on a daily basis.
The U.S. EPA’s 2010
study, entitled “How
does Indoor Air Quality
Impact Student Health and
in schools, such as
insufficient cleaning or
can cause serious health
problems for children.”
It goes on to say that
air quality also directly
impacts student academic
performance. This project
is an example of providing
a better learning environment
where students feel
safe and confident that
their school is providing
them with a healthy environment.
Not only does
this mean that students and
teachers need to take less
sick days, but the more
relaxed, healthy attitude allows
them to dedicate their
full attention to teaching
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of School Planning & Management.