Boston Public Schools
Boston Healthy Homes and Schools Collaborative (BHHSC), advocates for asthma-friendly schools and environmental policies in the Boston Public Schools in order to improve health and learning. BHHSC’s approach includes working with the school staff unions, building parent leadership and engagement in an active collaboration with the Boston Public Health Commission and Boston School department in a citywide Healthy Schools Task Force.
The Healthy Schools Task Force meets quarterly and oversees policies to improve school environmental conditions, and an Environmental Committee (sub-committee of the Task Force) meets monthly to implement these policy goals. In the past several years, the Environmental Committee has broadened its mission to include a wellness approach linking school nurses and healthcare providers to increase the use of asthma action plans.
BHHSC’s Healthy Schools Committee continues to develop and evaluate its own advocacy action plan. The Healthy Schools Committee has a number of successes and ongoing activities under their belt, including the following:
- Boston Urban Asthma Coalition (a predecessor of BHHSC) has utilized community meetings, local media, Boston City Council ordinances and hearings in order to
- pressure the city and school department to improve environmental management systems and
- partner with them to pilot and adopt policies such as the replacement of chemical cleaners with green cleaners and a campaign to reduce clutter for better pest control.
- Compliance with the City Ordinance to conduct twice annual environmental assessments, won through coalition pressure, have now (as of 2011) been conducted for over six years with some reductions in the percentage of schools with noted leaks, pests and mold.
- BHHSC continues to work with the school department to verify the accuracy of inspections and create a sense of responsibility at administrative levels for improving work order systems, tracking asthma rates, and communicating with school staff and parents about best practices to reduce asthma triggers and improve air quality.
For more information about our work with Boston Public Schools, please contact Laurita Kaigler-Crawlle, Healthy Schools Project Director of BHHSC at 617-279-2240 ext. 519 or at firstname.lastname@example.org