Bulloch County Schools' Grounds & Facilities Maintenance Department is responsible for the ongoing custodial support, landscaping, maintenance, energy use management, utilities management, and minor construction and repair of the interior and exterior of the school system's 15 schools and their athletic/playground facilities, central office, bus garages, transportation and technology annex, and school food services annex. This encompasses more than 1.7 million sq. ft. of internal/external space and nearly 1,000 acres of landscaping space to maintain. This department is tasked with keeping our learning environments clean, comfortable, healthy and well maintained to be good stewards of our community's investment.
New program aims to ensure cleaner, healthier schools
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American home is 2,600 sq. ft. with three occupants, and most of us would agree that it’s hard work to keep a home clean. Compare that to local public schools where custodian teams work in shifts from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. to keep 15 campuses clean and healthy.
Bulloch County Schools’ custodians tidy up after more than 11,550 students and faculty daily. They have nearly 1.6 million sq. ft. of bathroom, office, classroom, commons area and athletic facility spaces to mop, wax, scrub and dust daily. Plus, they do windows and take out the trash, up to 150 trash bins a day. This is the challenge that our custodian teams accept each school day and even on weekends when our facilities are rented by community groups.
To recognize and encourage excellence amongst its custodians, Bulloch County Schools created the Clean School Award. The custodian teams at Portal Middle High School and Statesboro High School were the first recipients of the honor on August 27.
PMHS received the award for having the highest inspection results. They scored 96.6 points out of a possible 100. SHS received the award for being the most improved team. They improved their previous month’s inspection score by 14 points, twice as much as the second highest school. "The Clean School Awards create friendly competition between school custodians to see who can have the cleanest school,” said Paul Webb, the district’s chief operations officer, who oversees school nutrition, transportation and maintenance.
“Thank you for the great job that you do,” said Webb, as he, Mike Copeland and school administrators surprised the teams with their awards. Webb had the plaques immediately hung in the schools’ commons areas, and the awards will travel to the winning schools each month.
Under the new program, Mike Copeland, Bulloch County Schools’ warehouse and custodial services coordinator, conducts a monthly walk through of all 15 schools. As he meets with the head custodians, he grades the team’s performance using a cleanliness rubric based on standards developed by the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) and the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI).
After scoring each school, Copeland meets with the head custodian and the principal to applaud what is going well and offer suggestions for improving problem areas. "The great thing is that the staff knows we are coming back the next month and that we will make additional random inspections, so they have a chance to improve and win the next month,” Webb said.
“A clean school is a healthy school, and we want healthy environments for our students, employees and community,” Webb added. “A clean school positively affects school climate and public perception."
This supports research by the National School Climate Center, which found that “schools with positive overall school climates tend to have better test scores and graduation rates.” Providing modern, functional, safe and clean educational facilities is an important part of ensuring that the school district fosters positive school climates and properly maintains the facilities in which the community has invested.
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Pictured: PMHS’s custodian team – Paul Webb, Charles Rushing, Susie Brown (head custodian), J. Brady, John Keller, Mamie Humphries and Mike Copeland.
Pictured: SHS custodian team – James Freeman, John Gay, Mooney Hill (head custodian), Willie Johnson, Daniel McCullough, Samuel McCullough, Dot Oglesby (not pictured), Alice Rich – Hobbs, William Saxton, and Dot Wilkerson.