Pittsburgh Public Schools
IPM STAR Certified 2004-2009, 2011-2013
September 1, 2011
Pittsburgh Public Schools has earned IPM STAR recertification 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 with a minimum amount of pesticide use. Pittsburgh Public Schools earned its initial IPM STAR certification in 2004.
The pest management program for Pittsburgh Public Schools began in 1995 when activists were continually questioning Maria Moio, district operations supervisor, about pesticide use practices in the schools. Along with Board of Education members, Moio met with the group, leading to the development of a formal, written IPM policy and plan focusing on monitoring, sanitation and exclusion as primary strategies.
The IPM program is currently managed by IPM coordinator Mike DiCroce, overseeing 96 school buildings and seven childhood centers. DiCroce deals mainly with the school system’s 350 custodians on facility maintenance issues. Custodians put in work orders through the electronic School Dude system for the proper foreman in charge of maintenance. Thousands of work orders are placed each month for maintenance on old buildings.
Inspection is a key practice for DiCroce to limit the amount of pesticide product used. When pest issues arise, DiCroce prioritizes and goes to the site to evaluate the situation to verify the pest identity and then takes action. He estimates that any pesticide use is less than one in 30!
DiCroce works hard to ensure that lines of communication are established with multiple parties to make the pest management program as successful as possible. He speaks with school administrators at the beginning of every year about the school’s IPM programs and policies, and school staff are sent reminder emails. DiCroce engages students at Allderdice High School by adding IPM education to their curriculum. Every new employee gets IPM/cleaning training, along with general 32-hours training.
IPM STAR Certification is presented by the IPM Institute of North America in partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program.