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School IPM Standards




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Introduction & Appendices - HTML Format
Part I. IPM Standards for School Buildings - HTML Format
Part II. IPM Standards for School Grounds - HTML Format

Links and Resources - HTML Format

IPM Standards Fact Sheet/Handout - PDF Format (2 pages, 191 KB)

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Want the information on IPM in schools? Visit the school IPM headlines page.



  Introduction & Appendices Contents


Why IPM in schools?

IPM Standards for Schools

IPM STAR Certification for Schools

Becoming an IPM STAR Certified School

IPM for Other Sensitive Environments

Resources for Starting Your IPM Program

Completing the IPM Standards

Calculating your IPM score

The IPM Continuum | Acknowledgements   
About Version 2.0
Copyright Notice

School Intro I School Buildings I School Grounds
School Links
I School Appendices  

Scorecard for School Buildings
Scorecard for Pest-Specific IPM Practices
Scorecard for School Grounds
Scorecard for Turf Cultural Management

Scorecard for Plant- and Pest-Specific IPM Practices



Integrated Pest Management (IPM) maintains a high standard of pest control while reducing reliance on pesticides. IPM includes:

  • regular monitoring to detect problems early; 

  • acting against pests only when necessary;

  • choosing the most effective option with the least risk to people and the environment; and

  • applying biological knowledge about pests to create long-term solutions.

Routine pesticide applications, made on a regular calendar-based schedule, are not part of IPM. Allowing pests to flourish, increasing health risks to building occupants and others, is also not part of IPM.

Children Face Greater Risks 
from Pests and Pesticides

"Pound for pound of body weight, children not only breathe more, eat more, and have a more rapid metabolism than adults, but they also play on the floor and lawn where pesticides are commonly applied. Children have more frequent hand-to-mouth contact as well. Children generally are more susceptible than adults to environmental toxics because they are growing and developing. Also, their enzymatic, metabolic and immune systems are immature, allowing in some cases for less natural protection than that of adults."

- Office of Children's Health Protection, US EPA, http://www.epa.gov/children/

"…pests are more than a nuisance. They can pose a serious health threat to young children who are unaware of the danger. Consider these statistics:

· Rats bite more than 45,000 people annually, mostly infants and children.

· Seven to 8 percent of the U.S. population is allergic to cockroaches. Studies of inner-city children in Atlanta with chronic wheezing, runny eyes and noses revealed that 44 percent were allergic to cockroaches.

· Rodents are responsible for, or implicated in, the spread of numerous diseases, including hantavirus, plague, acute food poisoning, rat-bite fever and typhus. 

· Lyme disease, transmitted to humans by the deer tick, infects thousands of Americans annually ¾ and the numbers are rising. 

· Cockroaches transmit a variety of digestive tract disorders, including food poisoning, dysentery and diarrhea.

· Mosquitoes are prime carriers of several types of encephalitis, a devastating illness that attacks the central nervous system of humans."

- Excerpt from "Why Children are Especially at Risk," Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment 

Why IPM in Schools?

By improving pest control, reducing reliance on pesticides and incorporating least-risk control options, IPM reduces both pest and pesticide risks. Using IPM in the school environment is especially important. Children spend a great deal of time in schools and face greater potential for health effects resulting from pest and pesticide exposure. By reducing risks, IPM can also reduce potential liability to school systems from accidental poisoning, allergies or other harmful effects of pests and pesticides on children and adults.

Depending on your school system's current practices, IPM has potential to save time and money. By taking actions to avoid pest problems and applying pesticides only when necessary, many schools will reduce costs over the long term, while achieving excellent pest control.

Finally, IPM has a critical role to play in agriculture, our homes and throughout our communities. Schools adopting IPM set an important example and can be instrumental in teaching staff, students and parents about the practice and benefits of IPM.

IPM Standards for Schools

How do you know if the pest management practices in your school are the least risk, most effective available?  Are you doing as much as possible to prevent and avoid pest problems?  How many of the available IPM practices is your school implementing?  IPM Standards for Schools serve as checklists of IPM practices for school buildings and grounds.  Use them to help you answer these questions.

In agriculture, the use of IPM checklists is increasing. Farmers using IPM checklists are implementing a greater number of IPM practices than non-participants.  IPM Standards for Schools have the same potential for increasing both the number of schools implementing IPM and the level of IPM practiced.

These IPM standards for schools are designed to function as a:

  1. Learning Tool.  Review the IPM Standards to learn about the many options available to you. Follow up by reviewing the references listed and discussing practices appropriate for your school with your IPM committee, professional pest control provider, in-house professional pest control staff, administration and interested parents and teachers.

  2. Self-Evaluation and IPM Planning Tool.  Use the Standards to score your school. What additional IPM practices can you implement to improve your performance over the next year?  The next three years?  Use the practices you have identified as priorities to justify pest control budget requests.

  3. Become Certified as an IPM STAR School.  By meeting certain minimum requirements, your school can become certified as an IPM STAR school by the IPM Institute.  Learn more about the IPM STAR certification program and process at http://www.ipminstitute.org/ipmstar.htm.

IPM STAR Certification for Schools

By implementing IPM, your school can improve pest management results and reduce liability and risks from both pests and pesticides.  Certification clearly establishes your school’s IPM achievement in a way that is readily recognized by others both in and outside of your community.

By working towards and achieving IPM STAR Certification, your school will:

§         establish a formal schedule for IPM evaluation, planning and training including site visits and comprehensive program review by a qualified outside IPM professional every three years;

§         receive regular feedback on your IPM program from a school IPM professional;

§         build a professional image and create goodwill with staff, parents and other community members;

§         create an ongoing focus on pest and pesticide risk reduction, ensuring that your school continues to meet the highest standards for effective, reduced-risk pest management; and


§         access a package of professionally prepared materials, including a brochure, certificate and window stickers to communicate your accomplishment.

Your school can use these materials to inform parents, teachers, students and others in the community about your IPM program, saving time for busy school professionals, reducing costs and duplication of effort, and facilitating clear and accurate transfer of information.

Certification may also exempt schools from certain legislative mandates or administrative requirements, as a clear demonstration that your school has an effective, state-or-the-art IPM program in place.

Implementing IPM can involve startup costs for training and pest preventative measures to improve sanitation or exclude pests. Although these measures can reduce costs over the long term, these expenses may exceed a school's available budget for pest control in the first years. The IPM Institute is working to recruit community members interested in promoting IPM to provide funding for these IPM startup costs. See the IPM STAR’s website at http://www.ipminstitute.org/ipmstar.htm for more information.

Any school may use these IPM Standards to assist in developing and maintaining an IPM program. Certification is a voluntary step for schools or school systems.

Becoming an IPM STAR Certified School

To become an IPM STAR Certified School or Daycare Facility, you must contact the IPM Institute to set up an on-site evaluation.  IPM STAR certification is effective for three years.  After three years, your certification can be renewed by updating the application and evaluation. IPM STAR certification also available for school and private IPM professionals working in your school.  See the IPM Institute website or contact the Institute for further details.

Resources for Starting an IPM Program at your School

The IPM Standards are intended as a guide to IPM practices available to schools. To implement these practices, you will need resources such as professional Pest Managers with a successful track record implementing IPM, Cooperative Extension personnel and information, environmental and public interest organizations active in school pest management and a broad selection of print or Web-based resources, including those listed throughout these IPM Standards for Schools. Resources developed by Extension and others in your state and region are especially important, as these will include information specific to your region (e.g., laws, regulations, region-specific pest issues). 

Join the IPM Institute!

Any individual or organization can support the work of the IPM Institute by becoming a member.  Members enjoy a periodic newsletter with information about IPM, certified institutions and businesses, and the knowledge that they are supporting the growth and development of IPM certification programs in schools, communities and agriculture.  Join by signing on our website, or by mail, phone, fax or e-mail.

Click here for links and resources for starting your IPM program


Completing the IPM Standards for Schools

IPM Standards are included in two parts, one for school buildings and one for school grounds. If your school grounds are managed by a separate department, such as a city or county parks office, please refer the school grounds part to the appropriate personnel. Schools may become IPM certified for their school buildings, school grounds, or both, and on an individual school or system-wide basis. 

To help you set priorities for implementing IPM practices, both Buildings and Grounds sections are organized into three Modules:

MODULE ONE: Building the IPM Foundation

By completing MODULE ONE, you will be putting your IPM program on a firm foundation:

  • meeting all legal requirements;

  • identifying resources necessary for an effective IPM program;

  • creating an IPM policy, committee and coordinator to guide decision-making;

  • setting up basic record keeping;

  • establishing community right-to-know; and 

  • ending routine pesticide applications. 

These essential IPM practices are recommended for all school IPM programs, and represent an excellent starting point for new programs. Each MODULE ONE practice should be substantially completed before moving on. For certification purposes, each MODULE ONE Practice must be substantially completed (score 80% or more of the points available for each practice).

MODULE TWO: Raising the IPM Framework

MODULE TWO practices build on the foundation by

  • establishing roles and training for key players;

  • identifying priorities and creating a pest management plan; and

  • limiting pest control actions to effective, reduced-risk options.

Some MODULE TWO practices may not apply to your school, scoring these as Not Applicable "N/A" will not affect your total score. For certification purposes, each MODULE TWO practice must be substantially completed (score 80% or more of the points available for each practice).

MODULE THREE: Achieving IPM Excellence!

MODULE THREE practices put your IPM program on the map, systematically addressing administrative and policy as well as pest-specific issues. Implementing these practices will help you manage pests effectively with a minimum of risk. NOTE: In MODULE THREE, you do not need to complete each pest-specific section, just those for the pests you experience problems with at your school. Most schools will need to complete just a few of these sections.

To become an IPM STAR Certified School or School System, you must score a total of 70% of all applicable points in MODULE THREE, use only Reduced-Impact or Least-Impact pest controls, and have your performance evaluated by a Certified IPM Verifier. Unlike MODULES ONE and TWO, all practices in MODULE THREE do not have to be implemented for certification. Simply earn enough points on those practices you choose to implement to earn an overall 70% score. Schedule appropriate practices above and beyond those required for certification for continued improvement of your IPM Program.

Calculating Your IPM Score

The Standards include administrative, policy and pest-specific IPM practices. Each practice is assigned a point value. By implementing a listed practice, you earn the points assigned to the practice. 

Priority Practices are clearly marked. Priority Practices are required for certification, in addition to all MODULE ONE and TWO practices. Score 80% or more of the points available for each Priority Practice, just as you must for each practice in MODULES ONE and TWO.

Bonus Practices are also clearly marked. Points for these practices are not included in the total points available in each section, but if earned, should be added to your score. 

Partial Credit can be applied to practices that are only partially implemented, or implemented on only a portion of possible sites, occasions, etc. For example, if door sweeps are placed on most but not all doors, partial credit is permitted based on the proportion of doors with sweeps. Obviously, any door without a sweep is a potential pest entry and should be scheduled for correction. 

Use partial credit to signal practices that have been implemented but can be improved, and make a note of the improvement needed. For certification purposes, the verifier will determine how many points to apply, and may decline to give any credit for partial completion of a practice that is adversely affecting pest or pesticide risk management in a significant way.

Pests or Practices Not Applicable (N/A). Some sections of the Standards refer to pests that may not be a problem at your school, or may include practices that are not applicable. Mark these sections or practices as N/A (not applicable) and move on. The Scorecard provides a column to note the points available for these sections, and instructs you how to adjust your score for non-applicable sections and practices.

IPM Scorecards. By working through the IPM Standards, you accumulate points towards your total score. Use the two IPM Scorecards (one for school buildings and one for school grounds) to calculate your overall score and convert your score to a percentage.

Glossary. Unfamiliar terms are defined in Appendix B. When these terms first appear in the text, they appear in italics.

For IPM STAR Certification by the IPM Institute, review the IPM STAR Certification Program for Schools and Daycare Facilities.  An IPM professional will visit your school and evaluate your IPM program and make recommendations for improvement.  A satisfactory evaluation will make your school eligible for certification.

IPM STAR Certification materials are available at http://www.ipminstitute.org, or by contacting the IPM Institute at (608) 232-1410, FAX (608) 232-1440, email.


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Last modified: August 25, 2015
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