The Pest Defense for Healthy Schools Professional Development Training for School Staff

The Pest Defense for Healthy Schools, formerly known as Stop School Pests, is a series of online courses designed for school staff to learn how IPM can help their school use fewer pesticides and to prevent pests from entering schools and outdoor areas by using a science-based, common-sense approach. The series contains individual training courses for nine different roles of school professionals.

The training is free and available at

Students spend a major part of each day in school–at least 25% of the time they’re awake. An unhealthy school environment with hazards from pests and pesticides can have a profound effect on their health and well-being in the short- and long-term.

Mouse and cockroach allergen levels in schools are significantly correlated with student asthma prevalence while intense pesticide use affects student and staff health. To ensure the health of students, school staff must find a balance in pest management efforts.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) aims to prevent pests in the long-term, and utilizes the least-hazardous, sustainable and cost-effective methods to control infestations when they do occur.

Benefits of The Pest Defense training

  • Free and flexible: Take the courses you want, when you want in this online learning program.
  • Scientifically proven: Learn the latest science and trends from experts to improve your  understanding of IPM and how to use it in your job.
  • Practical: See real-life examples and pictures of schools using IPM and get access to resources and templates for IPM plans, policies and more.
  • Certified: Earn a certificate for the training by taking a short quiz online.

Who should take the training?

The Pest Defense IPM training for schools was created for K-12 school professionals who are involved in the environmental health of their schools. Specialized training is available for the following groups:

  • Facility Managers
  • Maintenance Staff
  • Administrators
  • Teachers
  • Food Service Staff
  • Custodial Staff
  • Landscape and Grounds Staff
  • School Nurses
  • IPM Basics – an Introduction

To request an in-person Pest Defense training for your district through the IPM Institute of North America please email

Who developed the training?

National experts on IPM and schools from universities, extension programs, research, school staff and non-profit organizations worked together to create the training. It is the first ever standardized, peer-reviewed, pilot-tested training that has undergone many rounds of feedback from participants working in schools to make sure it meets their needs.

Here is the full list of all the people who worked on the training:

Colorado State

Cornell University

Indiana University

IPM Institute of North America

Michigan State University

National Pest Management Association

Oregon State University

Texas A&M Agri Life

University of Arizona

University of Illinois

University of Nebraska

Washington State University

The training was developed with funding from:

University of Arizona – Arizona Pest Management Center

US Department of Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

US Environmental Protection Agency

National Education Association

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