Shaw Middle School and Service Learning Project

Pest presence in schools is not only a health hazard, but is also very distracting and can lower morale in both staff and students.
Shaw Middle School and Service Learning Project - Articles


School IPM and Service Learning

Two new legislative initiatives in PA are encouraging IPM in schools.

School administrators, professional pest managers, and teachers cooperate to teach students how to manage pest problems in their school using IPM.

Initiative 1:

Integrated Pest Management is now required to be taught in K-12 as part of the new PA Academic Standards in Environment and Ecology.

The IPM curriculum materials and trainings available through the PA IPM program can help teachers address all nine academic standards because IPM as a subject makes tangible links between them.

Initiative 2:

An IPM Plan is required to be implemented in all Pennsylvania schools. Using a School IPM approach, pest management personnel, students, teachers and staff form IPM teams, and actively stress IPM principles in announcements, newsletters, assemblies and outreach events.

These initiatives create an opportunity for combining IPM education with IPM implementation using service learning models. Service learning blends service to the community with hands-on "real world" learning experiences to reinforce what the students have learned in the classroom. Since the new academic standards require that students learn about IPM, and schools must use IPM for pest control in their buildings, this creates a perfect opportunity for students to learn about IPM through implementing an IPM plan within their school.

Service learning has a positive impact on students' grades, behavior, and the way they view their local communities. It is also a way to connect kids with their communities in a meaningful and engaging manner. For more information on service learning, see Penn State's Service Learning web site or contact Nicole Webster at

Shaw Middle School Project

School administrators, professional pest managers, and teachers cooperate to teach students how to manage pest problems in their school using IPM.

In September 2003, a pilot project based at Shaw Middle School in West Philadelphia was initiated by Tere Bailey of PA IPM and Nicole Webster, Penn State Service Learning Instructor. Shaw school saw the benefit of including IPM in their service-learning projects to reinforce what students were learning in the classroom about IPM.

Under the direction of the Principal, Sharif El-Mekki, and Head Teacher of Service-Learning, Patricia Whack, students have been learning about the benefits of using IPM in their school to manage roaches, flies, and mice indoors. Students are forming an IPM Team to manage these indoor pests and also insect, animal or weed pests that may infest the school's outdoor garden. They are collaborating on hands-on projects with fellow students, teachers, school staff, and PSCIP partners.

Since September 2003, PSCIP has met several times in Shaw Middle School Library to plan activities, curriculum and community outreach events. As a result of PSCIP activities and Shaw's dedication to progressive environmental stewardship programs, Shaw has gained the attention of the School District! Partners from the Facilities Management and Services (FMS) and the Office of Grants Development and Support (OGDS) have visited the classroom for lectures and demonstrations.

Classroom activities, "no outside food" rules, school-wide IPM projects, assemblies, and morning announcements stressing personal responsibility for keeping the school clean and free of trash, will go far to involve the entire school family in a community approach to pest management.

In the future, other projects related to the school IPM plan will include improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), clutter cleanup, recycling projects, and enforcing designated eating areas. Soon, the fruits of student service learning projects will benefit the community at large at health fairs and other community events.

Pests can easily travel from homes to schools and vice versa. For School IPM to be successful, we must strive to reach beyond the school environment; we must transfer the IPM message from teachers and students to the community at large. The mission to bring awareness of the links between pests, pesticides, and health to any community is organized and accomplished through community outreach.

Students will have the opportunity to use their new skills in homes and communities -- skills they learned practicing IPM in the school environment. They will utilize surveys, audio-visual displays, after-school programs, newsletters at health fairs and community outreach events. And will, in turn, learn how to be expert leaders, team researchers, educators, and peer role models while collaborating with community partners.