Choosing the Most Secure Lock for Your School Lockers

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Lockers are meant to store valuable and extra materials, but whenever the actual lock isn’t functioning properly, these materials are left undefended against thievery. As a facility manager, you need to take the necessary steps to ensure that the lockers in your school can perform their function. It all depends on choosing the right lock and locker for your school to reduce theft while providing the right storage security for students and faculty.

Identifying Weaknesses in Your Lockers

When you’re assessing the weak points with your lockers, take notice of any prior damage that could make it easier for a thief to gain easy access. This could include any dents that can weaken the structural integrity of the locker. Another common weak point with lockers is the lock itself. Depending on which type of lock you choose, you may be making it easier for people to gain entry.

Any motivated thief will find a way in. They can utilize paper clips as a lock pick that’ll allow them to fiddle with the inner mechanisms of the lock until it snaps open. Even a persistent perpetrator will go to lengths of further damaging the locker if they feel the prize inside is worth the effort. But, while choosing the right lock is important, choosing the right locker could actually make more of a difference.

Benefits of Choosing HDPE Lockers

Metal lockers seem like the obvious choice of storage, but they’re not as durable as you might expect. They can be damaged, and even dented to the point of intrusion. Some schools have begun implementing HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic lockers like Duralife and Tufftec, which has yielded positive results. The solid plastic construction provides a durability that surpasses metal. It’s impervious to graffiti, scratches, dents, and any type of damage that would render it useless as a locking mechanism.

Duralife & Tufftec Lock Options

Both Duralife and Tufftec Lockers come with a variety of locking options to choose from. Duralife Lockers offer two types of locking mechanisms. The inset combination lock is secure and only students with the specific combination can gain entry. Duralife Lockers also offer the option of hasps. The benefit is that the student can choose a lock of their choice, whether a combination lock or a key.

Tufftec Lockers, on the other hand, offer a number of different locking options. You can choose the standard padlock, a key, or a coin key. The Tufftec Lockers also feature numerous in-set options like the in-door combination lock, a digilock keypad, or the digilock RFID (radio frequency identification). The RFID lock provides easy access without the need for a key or a combination. The RFID lock uses a proximity card for the locker owner to gain entry, and it’ll only open with the exact proximity card, adding an extra sense of security when leaving valuables inside.

 

Would you like to learn more about how to take the necessary steps to ensure that your lockers are up to snuff? Check out these free eBooks: Locker Replacement Checklistand The Ultimate Guide to HDPE Plastic Lockers, courtesy of Scranton Products.

Creating a Safe Learning Environment Through Facility Maintenance & Management

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One of the most important components of a person’s ability to learn is their environment. Whether it’s a young child or an adult college student, the facility in which they’re being educated directly affects their ability to learn. As a facility manager, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re creating a safe learning environment through facility maintenance and management.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make sure that your facility is well maintained and managed in the hopes of it being perceived as a safe learning environment.

Air Quality

While air quality is important to consider on all levels, it can actually have a direct effect on a person’s ability to learn. If your facility has poor indoor air quality, it could lead to students having irritated eyes, upper respiratory infections, headaches, and even sleepiness—not exactly a recipe for improved learning.

You can take several steps in your facility maintenance and management plan to increase the quality of your air. One involves having clean floors. While mopping and vacuuming can be effective, one way to stop allergens and other harmful materials is through floor mats. Large floor mats placed outside and inside can catch some of these materials and prevent them from entering the air. Be sure to have the floor cleaned at least twice a week. If you’re using a vacuum, it’s always a good idea to clean out the filter regularly.

Cleaner Restrooms

The quality of air in restrooms can be questionable. Humidity and moisture tend to build up in bathrooms, which then can result in mold and fungus. While air fresheners in your facility maintenance plan can be useful for combating the odors in the bathroom, the culprit may be your stalls and partitions.

Bathroom partitions are constantly subjected to moisture and humidity, mold can eventually grow inside the stalls, which will continuously drop the air quality. By, Investing in HDPE (high-density polyethylene) stalls  it can  help to prevent the growth of mold. HDPE is resistant to moisture and a more durable material than those found in most stalls.

Reducing Graffiti

While art is important in a person’s education, said art should only be placed on a designated canvas. Graffiti is a common scourge to facility surfaces like lockers and bathroom stalls. Painting over the graffiti is a common answer to the problem, but not only will it invite more graffiti, the paint could put VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions into the air.

In this instance, using HDPE lockers for your facility maintenance and management plan has numerous benefits. The material is resistant to graffiti and scratches, so it doesn’t require you to repaint it. Any drawing or writing can be easily wiped away without having to risk the air quality during graffiti removal.

Better Ventilation

It’s always good to check the ventilation system to make sure that everything is working properly. Discomfort can be a huge distraction when trying to learn, so providing a comfortable environment is crucial. Make a point to continuously check your heating and ventilation systems to ensure that they’re performing as expected without any waste in energy.

We hope that these facility maintenance and management tips will help to promote a safer learning environment in your school or facility. If you want to learn even more about how you can create a safe learning environment, check out our Hiny Hiders case study and learn how HDPE bathroom stalls helped the Dallas Independent School District.

How to Conduct an Effective Facility Audit for Your School

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As a school facility manager, it’s important to perform routine facility and safety audits so the students, faculty, and staff can enjoy a comfortable environment while you ensure that everything is up to code. Learning how you can improve your facility or update your systems is crucial.

Here are a few helpful tips to show you the proper facility audit procedures.

Facility Audit

There are many factors at play when it comes to conducting a facility audit. The audit will require time and resources but only to ensure that everything is running as efficiently as possible. Whether you have an outsider come in to inspect or the school district has a professional at their disposal, it’s important to have an updated inventory checklist on hand so the process can be as efficient as possible. The facility audit is performed to gauge the status of your facility and determine if any updates or repairs would be necessary.

Necessary Inspections

When you’re conducting a facility audit, you should have your inventory checklist with the equipment and the date that said equipment was manufactured and installed. This will help the auditor determine the life cycle of the equipment and systems in your facility. By providing the auditor with the necessary resources, the actual audit should be fairly easy to compete.

Facility Audit

The auditor will carefully inspect your HVAC system to determine its quality and effectiveness and if it requires any repairs to pass inspection. If you’ve kept up with routine maintenance, this shouldn’t be a problem. Your water system will also be inspected to ensure the water quality and the functionality of the pumps and pipes.

The grounds of your facility will also be carefully inspected. The auditor will look for any damage to the exterior of the building as well as the quality of the parking lots. The auditor will also assess the landscaping and athletic fields to ensure student safety.

Areas to Focus On

Every facility or school has its weak spots, or areas that require a lot of focus and perhaps even maintenance. Bathrooms can be one of these areas, as several factors can contribute to a less-than-adequate audit. Air quality is an important aspect in the bathroom audit, so as a facility manager, you should take steps to ensure that everything is acceptable and up to par.

Bathrooms can be a breeding ground for mold and fungus, which have a negative effect on the air quality. Due to the overwhelming moisture and humidity, several components of your bathroom can be susceptible to mold growth. Your bathroom stalls and partitions may have mold sprouting inside them, so think about replacing these stalls with a more durable material like HDPE (high-density polyethylene), which is resistant to moisture, scratches, and even graffiti.

If you’ve kept up with your facility’s systems in terms of maintenance and repairs, you should expect good results from an audit. However, a variety of measures can help you to achieve a great audit. You may even want to consider some renovations. Learn more by downloading our eBook The Complete Guide to Renovating Your School’s Locker Room.

School Safety Plans & Tips: How to Prevent Theft, Vandalism & Break-Ins

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For many reasons, schools are frequently the target of vandalism, break-ins, and theft. For one, some people see schools as being owned by no one rather than being owned by everyone. Schools can also be a source of great frustration for the students that go there, so they may use vandalism as a way of expressing that stress.

But whatever the reason, it’s important for schools to develop plans and strategies for preventing these issues from occurring. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to prevent theft, vandalism, and break-ins from happening at your school.

Prevent Break-Ins by Controlling Access

Keeping doors locked on weekends and when the building isn’t in use is an essential tip for keeping your school safe from break-ins and theft. But what about when parts of the school are in use and others aren’t?

In this scenario, moveable gates are perfect for sectioning off hallways and even whole wings of a building. These lockable gates also allow cleaning staff and other personnel to still move freely through the building.

It might also behoove you to think about limiting access from other entry points, like lower-level windows. Consider planting thorny bushes to help deter would-be intruders from attempting to break into your school.

Use Warning Signs to Deter Vandalism

As simple as they may seem, posting clearly visible warning signs can be an extremely effective way to reduce the amount of unsupervised loitering and the problems that arise from such activities. Warning signs play a vital role in setting rules and expectations for your school and the school grounds.

You can also clearly establish the school territory by using student art and gardens. These indicate that the school along with the grounds around it are monitored regularly and well cared for.

People are much less likely to deface or break into a property that’s in good condition compared to one that looks deserted and rundown. Remove any existing graffiti from lockers or bathroom walls immediately.

Stop Theft by Securing Valuables

Any valuable equipment should be kept in a safe and secure place that’s accessible only by authorized personnel. Storing things like expensive audio-visual equipment in the classroom or similar common area leaves the equipment at risk. It could easily be damaged or even stolen when a faculty member isn’t watching.

You can also use carts to move expensive equipment from room to room so only one room has to be secured at a time.

Use Graffiti-Resistant Materials

Given their nature of privacy and being secluded, two things that vandals rely on, school bathrooms are frequently the target of vandalism. One way to prevent vandalism is to utilize materials that are resistant to graffiti and scratches.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE), for example, is a durable plastic material that’s highly resistant to graffiti. It can be used for a multitude of applications, including bathroom partitions, vanities, and lockers. In addition to helping to deter vandalism, this material is 100% resistant to rust.

Want to learn more about HDPE bathroom partitions? Check out this case study from the Dallas Independent School District.

Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity in Your Classroom

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When a safe and inclusive classroom is created, more students are capable of achieving a higher level of learning and understanding, not to mention a smoother transition into later stages of education like college or graduate school. Promoting inclusivity and diversity in the classroom is the responsibility of the teachers and school administrators, since the success of their efforts relies solely on the success of their student body.

In this post, we explore why inclusivity is so important and how to facilitate an all-inclusive learning environment, and we’ll showcase an example of one school that demonstrated impeccable inclusivity and diversity within its classrooms.

Why Is Inclusivity Important?

Simply put, inclusivity is important because it promotes the education of all students equally, no matter their race, sex, religion, or any other factor. There are two main issues that arise when talking about inclusivity: a feeling of belonging and stereotype threat.

When students have a feeling of belonging within the classroom or in the educational institution as a whole, they’re less likely to struggle with coursework and campus life. Creating a sense of belonging helps students to integrate into the educational institution and aids them in achieving their educational goals.

Stereotype threat, on the other hand, is the fear of confirming a negative stereotype about one’s own in-group, especially when the student strongly identifies with that group. This can significantly impact the focus and performance of students and create other cognitive obstacles. Students from less privileged socioeconomic statuses, women in math and science classes, members of the LGBT community, and students of other backgrounds are at risk of suffering from stereotype threat.

By promoting inclusivity and diversity in the classroom, teachers can significantly lower the instances of these barriers to learning.

How to Promote Inclusivity in Your Classroom

With a little bit of planning, you can help to promote inclusivity and diversity in the classroom. The first step it to ensure that you include diverse ideas, content, and materials. Whenever you’re constructing a syllabus, be sure to include context and diverse resources to illustrate your lesson plan. It’s also important to be aware of any biases that you may have or any experiences that may shape your perspective or selection of materials.

Other ways to promote inclusivity in the classroom is to foster an inclusive environment. Encourage students to contribute and set clear expectations for how you’d like students to interact with each other so as to keep a certain level of respect and fairness. As the educational facilitator, it’s important that you show respect for all comments and questions and provide an atmosphere where students feel safe to contribute.

Celebrating Schools That Practice Inclusivity and Diversity

Scranton Products recently held a national competition where schools were encouraged to create videos about inclusivity and diversity. The winning school, Williamsburg Christian Academy, was awarded $50,000 in Duralife Lockers and $7,500 in scholarships as the first place prize.

Serving students in grades K-12, Williamsburg Christian Academy demonstrated a wide variety of inclusivity, which takes place in many aspects of school life. Students and faculty worked together to create the winning video, which was selected during a public voting round into the TOP 100 videos. The video was then chosen by a panel of judges for the first place prize.

How to Stop Vandalism and Graffiti in School Bathrooms

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Removing graffiti and repairing vandalism can cost your school a lot of money and how to stop vandalism is not as easy as it seems.

Not only that, but it can also give people the impression that your school is unsafe or not well maintained. To promote a positive learning environment and reduce expenses, many administrators are looking for new ways to prevent graffiti and other forms of vandalism from happening in the first place

Because vandalism is typically carried out in solitude, bathrooms are frequently targeted. For that reason, this post will concentrate on how to stop vandalism and graffiti in school bathrooms.

Act Quickly to Remove Signs of Vandalism & Graffiti

One thing that tends to promote graffiti is the existence of other vandalism. That’s why it’s important to have your custodial staff remove graffiti as soon as it’s spotted. Even waiting until the next day could inspire other acts of vandalism and lower the perceived quality and safety of your institution. Keep in mind that complete graffiti prevention is virtually impossible, but you can keep the instance of vandalism down by acting quickly.

commercial restroom cleaning

The same is also true for repairs. A bathroom with malfunctioning toilets, broken mirrors, or other issues isn’t only inconvenient, it can impact the way others treat the space. A well-maintained bathroom will likely encourage occupants to treat it with respect. A school bathroom that’s in poor condition, on the other hand, could suffer from further misuse.

Consider Using a Labyrinth Entrance

A labyrinth entrance is a design tactic that uses a turning hallway instead of a door to provide privacy into the bathroom. This type of entrance can help to reduce the occurrence of vandalism in two ways. First, it makes the distinct sounds of vandalism more noticeable by those outside the bathroom. This helps to remove a level of secrecy that most vandals hide behind.

The second way that a labyrinth entrance can help to prevent graffiti and vandalism is that there’s no door to sound an alert to vandals that security personnel is coming. Since the vandals can’t tell if someone is about to walk in and catch them in the act, they’re less likely to attempt to vandalize the bathroom.

Removing the doors on bathrooms and using a labyrinth entrance instead is also one way to keep bathrooms germ-free.

Use Graffiti-Resistant Materials

One of the most effective ways to prevent graffiti in your school bathrooms is to use graffiti-resistant materials like HDPE. HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is a plastic material that’s resistant to graffiti, scratches, corrosion, and even germs. This durable material can be used in a variety of applications in the bathroom, including the stalls and vanities. As an added precaution, HDPE can be manufactured in a variety of colors with rough textures to create an undesirable surface for would be vandals to leave graffiti on.

You should avoid using materials like smooth steel and wood, which are easily damaged and defaced.

Above all, if you want to stop vandalism and graffiti in the bathrooms at your school, start by concentrating on keeping your facility clean and in good working condition. If you’d like to learn more about graffiti-resistant HDPE, contact Scranton Products today.

New Research Shows Positive Connection Between Classroom Design and Learning

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The team designing and executing a school facility has a lot of responsibilities, including student safety. Recently, it’s been discovered that design can impact the students’ attitudes and even the way they retain information.

When designing a school facility, use this information to inspire the design and increase students’ performances in reading, writing, and math.

The American Institute of Architects has discussed UK-based HEAD (Holistic Evidence and Design) findings regarding this information.

Key Findings

HEAD spent three years studying 153 classrooms in 27 schools in Blackpool, Hampshire, and Ealing, UK, that involved 3,766 students. They found evidence that shows how important classroom design is to students’ learning and what factors yield these results.

The study looked at three dimensions or design principles that have been used to suggest and structure the factors that should be considered to keep students engaged in different activities. These dimensions are naturalness, individualization, and stimulation.

Naturalness is about the light, sound, temperature, air quality, and other links to nature. Individualization is about a student’s ownership, flexibility, and connection to the environment. And stimulation is about the appropriate level of complexity and color.

Using this three-part structure, the study focused on the impact of various elements of school environments on students. Its findings are directly related to the facility’s design and construction, such as natural light and the shading of the windows as well as their location.

A classroom should have distinct characteristics and a location that allow students to be relaxed but also promotes a sense of ownership. And to appeal to the appropriate level of stimulation, the overall atmosphere must be engaging but free of clutter. Bright colors should be used only as accents.

Classroom Designs and Materials

Studies have demonstrated that an aesthetically pleasing environment designed in a certain way will better contribute to students’ learning and comfort. Architects and engineers should consider this information when creating a building’s design.

In addition to the layout, window placement, and other factors necessary for a stimulating facility, it’s important to ensure the use of materials that are safe for the children and provide for a healthy environment.

Scranton Products utilizes high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to reduce the environmental impact and improve facilities’ indoor air quality.

Solid plastic HDPE doesn’t absorb moisture, resists mold and mildew, and has a 25-year warranty. The partitions and lockers can be power washed and steam cleaned, so you never have to use harmful chemical cleaners. They contain a solid color throughout, so you’ll never need to paint them, which eliminates VOC emissions.

Click here to find out where you can purchase Scranton Products for your facility.

3 Reasons Why Plastic Partitions Are Superior

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Business owners and facility managers may face serious consequences when they fail to choose the best material available for bathroom partitions, especially when they only consider the privacy aspect of the partitions.

Scranton Products wants your restrooms to have the best partitions available so you can avoid costly maintenance fees due to rust, mold, scratches, or any other problems that you may encounter. Continue reading to learn three reasons why plastic partitions are superior to the leading competition. Read more