Georgia-based Floyd County Schools has become the first K-12 public school system in the country to earn ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS) Green Building (GB) Certification. Floyd County Schools also earned CIMS Certification with Honors and is one of only two K-12 systems in the country to earn that honor from ISSA—The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association.  Floyd County Schools was informed of the certification honors on Tuesday, April 7 during an exit review led by Bruce Stark of Stark Consulting who served as the system’s third-party certification assessor. 

CIMS applies to the management, operations and performance systems of cleaning organizations. Compliance with the standard demonstrates that a cleaning operation is structured to deliver consistent, quality services designed to meet customers’ needs and expectations. The CIMS Green Building designation further demonstrates an organization’s commitment to green cleaning.  

“You should be very proud to be the first public school system in the country to earn this special certification,” Stark said in comments during the exit review. “In this time of budget cuts and sometimes cutting corners, you are certainly taking a different and better approach – you are taking a green approach and that is to be commended.”

“We are certainly proud of the efforts of our employees at all levels to secure such a distinguished honor for our school system,” said Dr. Lynn Plunkett, superintendent of Floyd County Schools. “I sincerely believe that each one of our employees plays a part in the education of each child in our classrooms and providing a clean, safe environment in which to teach and learn is a key element in a quality education.”

Floyd County Schools started the process to become CIMS and CIMS –GB certified about a year ago by replacing a variety of cleaning chemicals used in schools with three basic environmentally friendly cleaning solutions.  The system also provided extensive training to school custodial staffs in CIMS management standards and the proper use of cleaning products.  The system worked with Jim Chittom of Roman Chemical to install chemical dispensing machines at each school.  The machines are designed to properly mix the cleaning solutions for maximum effectiveness and safety.  The new method of delivering and using the cleaning products also eliminated the need for large containers of cleaning supplies that would have to be disposed of in the landfill.  The move to become more “Green” in the system’s cleaning approach also involved installing new paper towel and toilet paper dispensers in school restrooms to conserve paper and provide better service to students.

“The custodial staff members in your schools love coming to work and that speaks volumes to your commitment to their training and how you treat your employees,” said Stark. “Your custodians know that they are a part of the team in your school system and you do not find that just anywhere.”

Stark highlighted three best practice programs as evidence of the system’s commitment to excellence:

  • The green cleaning initiative that has led to the elimination of numerous products from the system’s overall chemical inventory;
  • The system’s task cards which outline the schedule of what each custodian must do for the day; and
  • Health and Safety training programs for building service employees, which emphasize hazardous material spill containment and response and other overall worker safety programs. The system’s safety notebook was given special commendation.

The Floyd County Schools CIMS certification team was led by Dr. Bob Puckett, deputy superintendent. Dr. Puckett said, “Jim Chittom and Roman Chemical have been invaluable in our certification efforts.  In our school system, we do not just look at the dollar amount when selecting suppliers.  We also consider service and value to our students and the community.  CIMS Certification will help us to better serve our students and our community.”