July 18, 2016

By Jen Ohlson


IHT Founder and President Jen Ohlson speaking at the summit

IHT held its first Advisory and Innovation Summit in Austin. Physical education teachers, school administrators, foundation managers and state PE coordinators joined us for a day of conversation, demonstration and – most importantly – sharing as we work to create a better PE experience for students.


Kim Scheffler (right) shows 2015 California Middle School PE teacher of the year John Kruse some of the features of the new IHT ZONE at the IHT Advisory Summit.

Introducing the IHT ZONE

At the summit we demonstrated the new IHT ZONE heart rate monitor. Alongside the ZONE, we showcased the IHT Spirit System software’s diverse capabilities. As funding is always a challenge for schools, a variety of educators and funders presented different places to find the funding for PE curriculum, technology, and professional development.

With a busy and informative agenda, the day’s true value came from the conversations that evolved around each topic. As the day came to a close, each of us left inspired by the quality of individuals at the summit and the perspectives that they openly shared. _

Ready to learn

Throughout the day at IDEA Allan, one of the Austin campuses of our partner IDEA Public Schools, a key conversation centered on getting students “ready to learn.” Teachers and administrators embrace the belief that PE plays a key role in delivering students to English, math or social studies more ready to learn.

Scott Taylor, the principal at Park Brook Elementary in Osseo, Minn., explained how incorporating physical education and physical activity produced dramatic improvement in math and reading proficiency. He also cited a stunning drop in behavioral incidents. The changes came after he encouraged teachers across the school to include physical activity throughout the day, not only during PE. “We added activity everywhere and saw behavioral issues disappear and academic proficiencies increase,” he said. “You gain learning time by giving up instructional time.”

Summit reminds us of our purpose


IHT Founder and CEO Ben Bentzin leading the discussion at the Advisory Summit

The IHT Spirit System is a comprehensive physical education assessment platform with new optical wrist HRM technology to assess PE students in action. Then we put that information into the hands of teachers so they can affect positive change in their students’ lives. The ZONE is the next exciting tool we have created to deliver that information.

Through the Spirit System, IHT collects data better than anyone. Data collection is just the first step on our mission to empower students to self-manage their health and well-being through technology and coaching. Data creates insight. Insight drives reports. Reports change behaviors.

By changing the behaviors around physical fitness and well-being, we can create healthy kids who turn into healthy adults.

Summit participants included: Chad Fenwick, Physical Education chairman at Los Angeles Unified School District, John Kruse, the 2015 California Middle School PE Teacher of the Year, Chris Watts, Executive Director of the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, Dr. Maria Melchionda, the Executive Director of Massachusetts Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance;  IHT National Advisory Board members John Dunlop of Portage Central (Mich.) Middle School, Kaitlyn Bloemer of Bay View (Wisc.) Middle School, and Melody Hamilton, PEP Grant Coordinator at Woodford County (Ky.) Public Schools; administrators Ryan Welnetz, Principal of Suamico (Wisc.) Elementary, Scott Taylor, Principal of Park Brook (Minn.) Elementary, Casandra Waller, HPE Coordinator at Escambia County (Fla.) Public Schools, Eren Kirksey, PE Administrator of IDEA (Texas) Public Schools, Heather Deckard, PE Administrator of Sacramento (Calif.) City Unified School District, Judy LoBianco, PE Administrator of South Maplewood Orange (N.J.) School District, Lance Johanson, Implementation and Technology Specialist for Dallas (Texas) ISD, Mark Anderson, HPE Coordinator of Cobb County (Ga.) Schools, Michael Maienbrook, Director of Community Athletics for Flint (Mich.) Community Schools, Michael Posey, Implementation Specialist for D.C. Public Schools, and Rachel Winsten, HPE Coordinator for Brevard County (Fla.) Schools; professors Dr. Judy Peterson, Capella (Nev.) University and SHAPE NV President Elect and Dr. Tracy Nelson, South Dakota State University and Executive Director SHAPE SD; foundation directors Sandra Sellers, Programs Director of the Crim (Mich.) Foundation, Patrick McCredie and Mathew Flesock, directors of the UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind Foundation, and Lindsay  Edgar, Community Consultant at CATCH (Texas) Global Foundation; and Dr. Glenna DeJong, mParks – Go Out and Play Initiative, Dr. Jim Wright, HPE Coordinator and Athletics Director, South Huntington (N.Y.) School District, Rose McIntosh, School Health Program Coordinator, Nevada State Government, Kat Satterley, Educational Consulting Firm, The Champion Initiative, and Deana Garza, HPE Lead Secondary at Pasadena (Texas) ISD.