Categories: General
      Date: Sep 15, 2013
     Title: Healthy School Highlight: Trotter School
The Trotter School, on the edge of Dorchester and Roxbury, has one of the highest student asthma rates in the district. School leaders came together in an Environmental Committee to address this issue. They focused on the results of the Annual Environmental Inspection/Audit, which was completed by BPHC and BPS Facilities Department, and working with MassCOSH as a technical advisor, the Trotter has made significant advances in reducing asthma triggers over the past two years.  As a result of these great accomplishments, the Trotter’s Environmental Committee (TEC) applied for the “Building Connections” Health & Wellness Award which will be announced at the 6th annual Health & Wellness Summit.

The Trotter School, on the edge of Dorchester and Roxbury, has one of the highest student asthma rates in the district. School leaders came together in an Environmental Committee to address this issue. They focused on the results of the Annual Environmental Inspection/Audit, which was completed by BPHC and BPS Facilities Department, and working with MassCOSH as a technical advisor, the Trotter has made significant advances in reducing asthma triggers over the past two years.  As a result of these great accomplishments, the Trotter’s Environmental Committee (TEC) applied for the “Building Connections” Health & Wellness Award which will be announced at the 6th annual Health & Wellness Summit.


Much of the success in the school has been a result of leadership and proactive efforts by the school nurse, Margaret VanCleve-Rocchio and members of the TEC.  “When I arrived at the Trotter a few years ago, I didn’t know there was a committee and was not even aware there was a problem with the environment,” said Margaret.  “I was overwhelmed by the number of children with asthma even though parents said that their children were fine when they were at home. The committee helped me make the connections between conditions in the school and the large number of asthma exacerbations.”


Working through the committee and the Trotter staff three to four years ago, BPS Facilities Management conducted a major clean-out of clutter throughout the school building.  This clutter cleanout allowed the school and Facilities Management to enhance the Trotter’s Integrated Pest Management program by allowing more thorough IPM inspections and treatments.
This school year the TEC recruited the senior custodian and the recycling team to participate in the Committee in an effort to improve communication and progress with some of the initiatives. The custodians know the building best, and there was a need to closely coordinate with the new single stream recycling program, which greatly reduces excess paper, clutter and dust in the classrooms. In addition, this year the TEC has engaged students across the school in simple efforts to foster a greater respect for the school environment, to become good recyclers and play an active part in keeping the school clean and pest free. BPS has shown a further commitment to reducing the asthma triggers at the Trotter School by weatherizing the building, fixing leaks, walls and the roof.


The good news is that these efforts are paying off! The rates of chronic absenteeism have decreased at the Trotter as a result of these concerted efforts involving the TEC, the classroom teachers, City Year corps members, and attendance buddies. School staff members have also noted that there are fewer pest sightings due to aggressive reporting and monitoring of needed repairs, such as door sweeps to keep the mice out!