The Portage Township School system employs approximately 600 non-certified staff across the district.
These employees perform a myriad of behind-the-scene duties that make our schools a safe, secure and healthy learning environment for staff and students. As the Director of Support Personnel & Auxiliary Services, I feel privileged to lead a team of individuals so dedicated to the success of Portage Township students.
Two employee groups who work hand-in-hand to maintain our facilities and grounds are our maintenance and custodial services employees. This group ensures that 17 buildings, with more than 2 million square feet of interior space and approximately 275 acres of land, are cleaned, maintained and ready to service the needs of students and staff.
The maintenance department consists of a director, clerical support, skilled and semi-skilled workers, totaling 16 employees. This department handles the majority of major repair and maintenance to our buildings and grounds. The department keeps the plumbing, carpentry, electrical and HVAC systems functioning properly, as well as meeting the needs of the staff and students. They are also responsible for large area mowing and snow removal from all parking lots in the district. This department works with building and district level administrators in the development of our capital projects plan to ensure budgeting for the continuous updating of buildings and grounds.
The custodial services department consists of a director, clerical support, warehouse manager, building supervisors and three shifts of custodians totaling more than 100 employees. Their job is to clean classrooms, labs, offices, hallways, gyms, building exteriors, etc., as well as performing light maintenance duties. The custodial staff is also responsible for mowing around buildings and snow removal from sidewalks and walkways.
Building design, materials, maintenance and cleaning contribute greatly to our focus on student achievement. There have been several studies connecting the design, materials, lighting and cleanliness to the attitude and perception that students develop toward their schooling.
Furthermore, studies show that the development of strong, caring and supportive adult mentor relationships is a strong contributor to student achievement. It is clear that there is great value in having a strong, competent non-certified staff. Remember, that when a child leaves home in the morning to head to school they typically see a smile from their bus driver, a good morning at breakfast from a food service employee, clean and shiny hallways and bathrooms from the custodial staff, lighting and plumbing that is safe and sanitary from our maintenance staff and help and assistance from our clerical and support staffs.
These departments are staffed by outstanding people who contribute greatly to the academic achievement of students at Portage Township Schools.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.