You might think that all school professionals are resting and relaxing over the summer, but that is almost never the case. In fact, summer is often the busiest time of year for some Education Support Professionals (ESP), especially the custodial and maintenance teams.
A 2014 U.S. Department of Education study (the most recent to date) concluded that the average age of school buildings was 44 years. More than half of the schools reported needing repairs, renovations, and modernization. And in the many places where there is not enough money to support students and schools, our custodial and maintenance staff are working hard during the school year and throughout the summer to keep their schools from falling apart.
For these “guardians of the school environment,” summer provides time and space to undertake important projects that help keep schools safe and clean for the upcoming academic year. After all, facilities have a major impact on school climate and student learning and behavior.
“The school environment, comprising building infrastructure, grounds, and surroundings, is critically important and can promote health or introduce harmful exposures that significantly impact children’s well-being,” a recent academic report says.
Custodial and maintenance staff are also dealing with the fallout from climate change.
For example, the super storms we had last year, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, left behind mold and mildew, contaminated school grounds, and created hazardous conditions from debris, downed electric wires, and the like. With these super storms becoming more frequent due to climate change, school facilities that are already dilapidated and in need of structural repairs will become even more vulnerable to these weather events.
So, let’s take a moment to say thank you to those who will work hard all summer long to prepare safe and healthy learning environments for the next school year.
It takes the whole school, throughout the whole year, to ensure success for every student, and we are especially grateful for our custodians, building service workers, groundskeepers, pest control workers, mechanics, and all of our education support professionals in custodial and maintenance services.
Click here to read more about what these dedicated staff members do during summer.