The Multigrade Classroom

Building and Grounds

An orderly, clean environment should extend beyond the classroom and continue throughout the entire physical plant, both inside and outside.


Plant Maintenance

A pleasant, attractive environment encourages students to respect and appreciate their surroundings and will foster the desire to learn. An orderly, clean environment should extend beyond the classroom and continue throughout the entire physical plant, both inside and outside.

Providing and maintaining an appealing facility requires significant effort.   If the principal/teacher personally assumes all the work in this area he/she is on the fast track to burnout.  It is the board’s responsibility to provide custodial and maintenance services for the building by hiring personnel or securing dependable volunteers to care for the plant and grounds on a year-round basis. The teacher and students may share this responsibility by respecting the school and personal property.

Local and state/provincial regulations must be consulted for health, fire, and safety code requirements. Routine inspections by local officials are necessary.  Compliance with standards outlined by these authorities is mandatory.  Contact your local health and fire inspectors for a complete list of requirements.  Regulations vary according to state/provincial and local codes.



  1. See that the school site is attractive and neat.
    • Flower beds weeded
    • Lawns mowed
    • Shrubbery trimmed
    • Exterior surfaces painted and cleaned
    • Sidewalks swept
    • Windows washed
    • Outside fixtures repaired as needed
  2. Identify the school with a professionally made, attractive sign.
  3. Display an identifying address so that emergency personnel can find the school easily.
  4. Install a flagpole designed for flying both the national and state/provincial flags near the front entrance to the school.
  5. Arrange for regular garbage removal.
  6. Make arrangements, if needed, for clearing parking lots and walkways from snow and ice.
  7. Lock all exterior doors. Doorbells or another system should be installed to control admittance.



  1. Label all doors and rooms inside the school.
  2. Provide space for the personal belongings of students and teachers.
  3. Have carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year.
  4. Paint or scrub walls at least once a year.



  1. Store janitorial supplies in a locked storage area. Check with your health department or public school district for approved products.
  2. Keep restrooms clean and free from odors. Use approved disinfectants.
  3. Contact your local public health department for regulations regarding water testing and drinking fountains
  4. See that natural or artificial light in each room is adequate. Check for burned out light bulbs and broken parts in light fixtures and exit signs.
  5. Provide for proper ventilation and circulation of fresh air.
  6. Check with your local health department for regulations regarding hot lunch programs.



  1. Keep hallways and staircases clear. Check your state/provincial fire code for objects that may be allowed in hallways.
  2. Contact service contractors to maintain fire extinguishers, fire alarms, heaters, furnaces, and air conditioners. Equipment should be tagged with an annual service record.
  3. Label all exits.
  4. Post an emergency exit plan in each room.
  5. Ensure that pull stations for alarms and the furnace shut-off switch are easily accessible.



United States federal law and Canadian provincial regulations detail proper action regarding asbestos inspection, management, and removal. Each school is required to have an Asbestos Operations and Management Plan that must be filed with the state/province. A copy of the plan must be kept at the school in a secure location. Many conferences also require that a copy of the plan be filed with the Local Conference Office of Education.

A state/provincial licensed company must complete the Asbestos Operations and Management Plan. 6-month and 6-year inspections must also be completed by a licensed individual or company.

Do not try, or allow anyone else, to remove asbestos. There are specific regulations for asbestos removal.  A non-licensed individual or company is not allowed to remove asbestos. Contact your Local Conference Office of Education for more information on asbestos removal.

These websites provide more information regarding asbestos:

Canada:  Asbestos

United States: Asbestos



The condition of the playground speaks volumes to the general public about the school. One sign of a well-maintained campus is a well-maintained playground. Children typically rate the playground as the most highly valued feature of the school.

  1. Ensure that the surfaces or wells under all play structures are adequately filled with a shock absorbent material (i.e., wood chips, shredded rubber, pea gravel).  Check with your local health department for soft-well requirements.
  2. Regularly inspect and repair all outdoor play equipment (i.e., swing seats, swing chains, rubber tips on bolts).
  3. Scrape, repaint, or stain structures as needed.
  4. Have new playground equipment assembled by qualified adults.
  5. Check your insurance policy regarding skateboard and inline skate usage. Many schools post adequate signage prohibiting the use of these items.

These websites provide more information regarding playground safety:

Canada: Playground Safety

United States: Playground Safety


Building Safety Inspections

The school board is responsible for assigning an individual, who is not the principal/teacher, with the responsibility of making routine inspections of the building and grounds.  Things to look for include, but are not limited to:

  1. Evacuation plans are posted in each classroom.
  2. All exit doors open easily in the direction of exit travel.
  3. Aisles and lanes are free of electrical cords and other hazards.
  4. Fire extinguishers are properly placed with current tag.
  5. Up-to-date record of emergency drills (i.e., fire, tornado, earthquake, intruder) verified.
  6. First aid kits are readily accessible.
  7. Building is free from signs of roof leakage.
  8. Storage areas are well organized and free of clutter.
  9. Sidewalks are in good repair.
  10. Playground equipment is well maintained.

Risk Management has an excellent School Safety Inspection form that can be downloaded.

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