New York City Department of Education
New York City, NY
IPM STAR Certified 2003-2005, 2007-2009, 2012-2014
March 12, 2012
The New York City Department of Education has renewed its IPM STAR certification after passing a rigorous, 37-point inspection. IPM STAR evaluates school systems and childcare centers for Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, a common sense approach to solving pest problems. The New York City Department of Education earned its initial IPM STAR certification in 2003.
IPM is a team approach, focusing on avoiding “pest-conducive conditions” that make pests feel at home. By involving everyone with a role in pest prevention, many problems can be completely eliminated, permanently, without resorting to potentially hazardous pesticides.
Michael Siciliano, director of pest control, manages a top-notch IPM program initiated by assistant director Dan Dickerson in 1988. Dickerson started the program due to his personal interest in reducing children’s exposure to pesticides and pests. The Department includes 1200 school buildings with a population of more than 1.1 million students. Six hundred of these buildings are in use year round.
Since its inception, the Department’s IPM program has reduced overall pesticide use by over 90%, with a 95% reduction in service calls between 1988 and 1999. The program’s accomplishments were recognized by the US EPA, which awarded the program a certificate in 2002 for outstanding efforts toward risk reduction.
Siciliano’s goals include improving technician reporting and working with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to improve accuracy in reporting rodent activity. “You need to be a communicator to get to everyone who has to be part of the solution,” says Siciliano.
Training and education is key to maintaining a successful IPM program no matter what your role is in the schools. Each new food manager is trained by the pest control department on proper sanitation practices. New pest technicians undergo a two-day classroom training covering IPM policies, practices and products, followed by a two-week field training with a supervisor.
Typical school pests include rodents, cockroaches, ants and stinging insects. Preventing rodent problems includes common sense practices like encouraging teachers to avoid clutter in classrooms and storage closets so these areas can be cleaned and inspected readily and regularly. “ You need to get to the source of the problem for everything to really solve it,” says Siciliano.
The Department instituted a requirement that all contracted pest management service providers be Green Shield Certified, a certification offered by the IPM Institute of North America for companies offering IPM services. Superior Pest Elimination and Verrazano Exterminating are two pest management companies servicing more than 350 New York City public school facilities.
IPM STAR Certification is presented by the IPM Institute of North America in partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program.