HSC & School Nurses Reach Out at Lighting the Way Conference

December 02, 2008

by Claris Olson, HSC Environmental Health Manager

Recently I was joined by school nurses Nancy Connolly and Ellen Grashorn at our exhibit booth at the Lighting the Way Conference – the largest educational conference in Illinois, which brings together thousands of members of the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Illinois Association of School Administrators, and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

Picture
Besides sharing HSC’s information and resources, we were able to hear from school officials about everything from the adoption of school wellness policies to the implementation of the Green Clean Schools Act in their districts. In both areas it seems that schools are still looking for some guidance and are glad to receive information from HSC.

In the area of green cleaning, most people told me that they thought they were on board with compliance of the law, but they still had some questions about which products were approved for use under the law. One school official told me that a product distributor had claimed that a product was in compliance because it had the recycle symbol on the plastic bottle — so we see that there is still a real need for reliable information that school officials can use to check out this type of claim. (HSC’s Green Clean Illinois website provides practical details for school and cleaning industry leaders implementing the law.) The officials we spoke with were all grateful for a copy of The Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools and our fact sheets on the law.

Having Nancy and Ellen join me at the booth really made the event fun and interesting.  Thanks go out to them and to HSC Board member Phyllis Pelt, who also helped out at our booth. 

It was amazing to see how school officials’ eyes would light up when they found out they were talking to a school nurse.  Nurses’ wealth of knowledge and experience bring instant credibility to any conversation on school health and well-being that can’t be matched.  So, another thing I learned while I was there:  When nurses talk – school administrators listen!  Go nurses!

Get your own copy of The Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools here, and learn more about HSC’s work with school nurses at our School Nurse Resource Center.