Last month, Steve Ashkin of The Ashkin Group (also known as the “Father of Green Cleaning") discussed the Green Cleaning Awards in American School & University magazine. In the article, he points out that assessment of the type involved in the award application is an essential part of improving any cleaning program. The award application process encourages schools to assess and reflect on their own programs. The process is twofold. Not only does it create collaboration and build buy-in from program managers and partners, but it also helps applicants track progress and define program objectives. Ashkin notes:
Beyond the history, it is important to assess what has taken place over the past school year. This includes:
- Procedures and strategies. This typically includes how disinfectants are used, strategies to encourage handwashing, timing of vacuuming or carpet cleaning, and other topics that focus on health protection.
- Training. This helps assess training for cleaning personnel, who attended, at what frequency and if anything was really accomplished.
- Innovations. This creates the opportunity to identify innovative strategies, products or equipment—or the lack thereof.
- Evaluation methods and results.This typically includes what is measured and how often, including reduced absenteeism, changes in test scores, etc., and what has been documented.
Another important part of an annual assessment is what efforts were made to engage others in the responsibility of green cleaning and maintaining a healthy facility. This assessment can be done by addressing the following topics:
- Policies or processes. This includes policies, training materials and communications pieces.
- Communications/Community engagement. This addresses efforts to engage the community such as meetings, discussions, posters and other efforts explaining the importance of green cleaning and what community members can do to make a difference.
- Recognition.Consideration of other awards and recognition can identify additional improvement opportunities and differing ways to think about and solve problems.
Presented in collaboration with American School & University magazine and the Green Cleaning Network, the Green Cleaning Award for Schools & Universities recognizes exemplary green cleaning programs in school facilities.
The judging criteria for the award are based on the Five Simple Steps to Green Cleaning outlined in HSC's Quick & Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools. Award recipients will be spotlighted in the December issue of American School & University.
Don't miss the chance to highlight your school's green cleaning program! Applications must be received by Sept. 10, 2012. Learn more and apply here.
Plus: Be sure to check out our Green Cleaning Webinar Series to learn about best practices for your green cleaning program. The online conference begins July 17. On August 7, our Green Cleaning Award for Schools & Universities session will focus on the what, why and how-to of the Green Cleaning Award. Learn more here.