Summer is heavy-duty cleaning time in schools

By Tanya Chilton tchilton@civitasmedia.com

July 12, 2014

Not all folks understand the cleaning work done in the public school system during the summer is vital to keep schools functioning and kids learning.

During the dog days of summer, a behind the scenes cleaning crew at Elkin City Schools gets down to business.

Every classroom is emptied and detailed; all floors are stripped with four coats of wax applied; every carpet cleaned; every light bulb fixture changed; every display case window and cabinet dusted; every bathroom cleaned to a sparkly shine; every chalk and dry erase board made to look new, and other work is done.

Also, the exterior of all the school buildings are pressure washed.

When all is said and done, the crew has shined dusty and chalk-covered desk, then, methodically and carefully delivered them back into classrooms.

Before departing for the summer some teachers even took the time to draw out grids and placement charts of preferences, showing just where they wanted classroom furniture placed upon return.

Some left brightly colored labels, color-coding desks and computers to make things easier for the crew. An act highly appreciated, said cleaning staff.

Head Custodian Alene Brown was emphatic regarding her enjoyment of the heavy duty, time-consuming and detail-oriented nature of the summer-time work.

“I like it. I like to make people happy,” said Brown. She added a job bonus as being able to work around children year round.

Brown said at Elkin City Schools there is another plus. Teachers often thank them during the school year, she said.

“We all work together to make a difference.”

She called it a joy and a reward knowing the summer intensity will pay off when students and staff return in the fall to find things clean.

They will have a nice and comfortable place to learn and teach, said Brown.

The crew consists of Brown, Anthony Shropshire, Ken Berger, Vickie Mendenhall, B.D. Reece, Robert Royall, Jeff Reeves, Maintenance Director John Altmueller, Will Altmueller, Matthew Simpson, Kevin Burchette and helping throughout the school year, Maria Torriente.

All pitch in with grunt work, sweat and care to make the dream and reality of learning happen, each contributing their unique gifts of cleaning, caring and maintenance skills.

Elkin High School Principal Joel Hoyle said what they do for the school system cannot be emphasized enough.

The principal said it is well known that school and classroom appearance has a direct impact on learning. So does heating and cooling, he said.

Hoyle said Elkin City Schools cleaning and maintenance staff do an excellent job.

Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.