Healthy School Environment

BPS is committed to providing high-performing school buildings and grounds that are clean, in good repair, have healthy indoor air quality and water quality, have sanitary and accessible bathrooms, and use resources efficiently.

BPS strives to provide adequate facilities for physical activity that are accessible and culturally-inclusive learning environments that positively impact the productivity, health, and wellness of all students and staff. To address environmental risk factors for chronic and infectious disease, each school receives an Annual Environmental Audit to evaluate health and safety conditions such as leaks, mold, pests, chemical storage and cleanliness. 

Incorporate Healthy School Environment into your School Wellness Council Action Plan, based on the Healthy School Environment Section of the District Wellness Policy (page 9). Topics include:

– Green Cleaners
– Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
– Trash and Recycling
– Infection Prevention & Control
– Tobacco Free Environmental Policy
– School Environmental Inspections/Audits
– Student Safety/Health in School Shops
– BPS Water Policy
– Laboratories and Chemical Inventory “Right to Know” Law
– Idling of buses and other motor vehicles on school property


Ways to Improve Your School


  • The following BPS policies promote a healthy school environment:

    Use the Healthy School Environments Toolkit to promote healthy and sustainable Boston Public Schools.

  • Interested in representing your school through a sustainability leadership role? Fill out the BPS Healthy & Sustainable Schools Interest Form. Opportunities include:

    • School Zero Waste Coordinator
    • Member of the district BPS Zero Waste Committee
    • School Energy Conservation Coordinator
    • Member of the district Healthy School Environment Committee, a sub-committee of the District Wellness Council
  • To help support idling reduction efforts in Massachusetts schools, MassDEP makes Idling Reduction signs and materials available to Green Team schools.

    Schools must be registered Green Team schools (free, easy registration) and submit a completed Idling Reduction Signs and Materials Application Form to be considered for this assistance. The completed application form must be signed by the principal and submitted by fax to THE GREEN TEAM at the fax number on the form or scanned and emailed to 

    BPS Schools are also encouraged to use the resources available on our Transportation page, including Safe Routes to Schools and the On Air Anti-Idling Campaign materials.

  • Does your school have a clutter challenge?

    Consider launching a decluttering effort at your school. Use the BPS Declutter and Green Out Guide to assist you.

    Decluttering Benefits:

    •  Decrease in pest incidents
    •  Decrease in asthma triggers such as dust
    •  Improved air quality
    •  Increase in available school space for academics, enrichment, and organized storage
    •  Improved access for daily custodial work
    •  Improved cleanliness and “look” of the school for school community and visitors
  • Promote the use of green cleaners in schools by following the BPS Green Cleaners Policy.

    BPS is committed to providing and maintaining high-performing buildings and grounds in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner. The Green Cleaners Policy applies to all Boston Public School buildings and grounds, including offices, classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias, gymnasiums, hallways, pathways, kitchenettes, stairwells, etc.

    TIP: Every school has a chemical dispensing system managed by the school custodial staff. Collaborate with custodial staff to set up a “Green Cleaner Station” where teachers can leave reusable spray bottles to be filled with the general green cleaner. Use the green cleaner with paper towels instead of any pre-soaked wipes. Discourage any use of pre-soaked wipes.

  • What is IPM?
    IPM is a comprehensive strategy to manage pests using multiple control tactics with the least cost and environmental impact. IPM includes increased monitoring, improving sanitation, eliminating pest harborage sites, and using lowest impact pesticides as necessary. Use and share the BPS IPM Guide to understand the district IPM policy and tips for a successful program.


    • All schools must have an IPM Plan (Indoor & Outdoor)  and Logbook and designated IPM Coordinator.
    • Plans must be registered with the State.
    • Copy of the school plan and logbook must be in the main office.
    • State regulation requires all Boston Public Schools to use less toxic pesticides found on the State’s approved list.
    • Pesticides only be applied by a licensed pest control contractor on school property.
    • No School Staff (including Custodial Staff) may apply any pesticides (i.e. weed killer, rodenticide, etc.) on school property.

    Top Five Pests
    1. Mice
    2. Cockroaches
    3. Rats
    4. Bed Bugs
    5. Fruit Flies

    How to Control Pests
    1. Keep them out: Use door sweeps, fill rodent holes, and eliminate rodent pathway areas.
    2. Starve them: Avoid keeping food stored in classrooms. If you must store food, use plastic containers with sealed-tight lids.
    3. Don’t give them a home: Avoid having clutter, clutter provides shelters for pests to hide in or materials for pests to build nests.

  • The 2017-2018 BPS School Environmental Inspection Summary Reports are now available for review. The summary reports were developed in partnership by BPS Facilities Management Environmental Division and Boston Public Health Commission.

  • Review the Boston Public Schools Recycling and Zero Waste Policy.

    Use the BPS Zero Waste Guide to establish and operate your school recycling program. The guide outlines zero waste best practices and offers tips, contacts, and equipment to run a successful recycling program at your school.

    Per the BPS Recycling and Zero Waste Policy, every school must have a Zero Waste Coordinator. Interested in serving as your school’s Zero Waste Coordinator? Fill out the BPS Healthy & Sustainable Schools Interest Form.

    Visit our Zero Waste page for additional resources and details.


The Healthy School Environment Resource Toolkit was developed to assist Boston Public School Principals/ Headmasters and their Wellness Councils implement the Healthy School Environment Policy, a component of the District’s Comprehensive Health & Wellness Policy. The Toolkit is a guide for assessing, taking action, communicating, and monitoring & evaluating environmental, health, and safety issues in our schools. It provides definitions of environmental factors to consider, links to current policies, procedures, and best practices to address specific environmental factors identified in their building’s annual Environmental Audit (Audit).


Facilities Management
1216 Dorchester Ave.
Boston, MA 02125