The Connecticut School Indoor Environment Resource Team Awards HPS Employee Aleris Echevarria the 2017 CT Tools for Schools (TfS) Hero Award

The Connecticut School Indoor Environment Resource Team Awards HPS Employee Aleris Echevarria the 2017 CT Tools for Schools (TfS) Hero Award

The Connecticut School Indoor Environment Resource Team (CSIERT), our statewide multi-agency consortium, awarded Aleris Echevarria the 2017 CT Tools for Schools (TfS) Hero Award.

Each year, CSIERT, as part of our participation in National Healthy Schools Day, recognizes a professional who has done an outstanding job supporting and promoting Tools for Schools.

Aleris (pictured above with proud colleagues, holding her award) has done an amazing job coordinating the revitalizing of the Hartford school system’s Tools for Schools program, and have shown the value of having designated staff to facilitate the success of the program.

Tools for Schools is a program that helps schools improve their indoor air quality. In Connecticut, 108 schools in 26 districts currently use the program. The legislature’s Environment Committee reported favorably a bill requiring school districts to use Tools for Schools or similar programs to address indoor environmental issues.

Please join us in congratulating Aleris on her hard work, patience, and persistence as we implement the Tools for Schools Initiative.

From the Connecticut Department of Public Health:

“Indoor environmental quality impacts students’ health and ability to learn. Fortunately, Connecticut has a number of important school indoor environmental quality laws and programs to protect the health of school children and staff,” said Dr. Raul Pino, Commissioner of the Department of Public Health (DPH). “Our Tools for Schools program helps schools comply with these laws, and focuses on many low-cost or no-cost solutions which address factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality, such as air pollutants or poor ventilation.”

A consortium of 23 agencies and organizations in Connecticut formed the Connecticut School Indoor Environment Resource Team (CSIERT) in 1999. This group, with leadership from DPH, assists schools and school districts with implementing and sustaining the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) IAQ Tools for Schools (TfS) program throughout the state. The TfS program is a team-based strategy to improving IAQ in school buildings. A building-based team of administrators, teachers, maintenance staff, parents, and others investigates and prioritizes indoor air hazards to develop short and long-term strategies to solve IAQ problems. DPH, along with its CSIERT partners, provides comprehensive training for these teams. Since 2000, TfS has been implemented in over 950 schools across the state.

Each year CSIERT chooses a “Connecticut IAQ Tools for Schools Hero” for their work promoting and coordinating the TfS program. This year, CSIERT is honoring two school district staff persons who coordinate their TfS Program – JoAnn Duncan, TfS Coordinator, Westport Schools; and Aleris Echevarria with the Hartford Schools Office of Operations for the Hartford school district. By presenting these awards, CSIERT is showcasing the value of assigning dedicated staff to coordinate TfS and to work with the building teams to ensure problems are addressed. Ms. Duncan and Ms. Echevarria will be honored at a ceremony on April 4th at the Classical Magnet School, 85 Woodland St in Hartford, CT.

For more information about Connecticut’s Healthy School Environments program, go to www.ct.gov/dph/schools, or please click here.