June 28, 2016

By Jen Ohlson

One of the best things about working on a team that goes above and beyond everyday expectations to further its mission is to check out what our partners, like the Washington D.C. Public Schools, are doing or have accomplished on their journey.

We are proud of the progress our partners have made helping their students take ownership of their health, getting more active and redefining the way they look at physical education.

Interest in physical fitness among school students is on the rise, and nowhere is that more evident than in the nation’s capital, where Washington D.C. Public Schools are using #dcpsrising to highlight district-wide accomplishments on their Twitter posts.

Part of #DCPSRising has taken part in the physical education program, and IHT is thrilled to play a supporting role in it. In the last school year, a number of D.C. high schools utilized our IHT Spirit System to either run or augment their PE programs. In December, HD Woodson principal Darrin Slade told us how much he appreciates his teachers using the IHT Spirit System to improve PE.

“It keeps our students healthy and in shape,” he said, “and that’s something they need to know well as they move into college and onto their careers.”

His Roosevelt students logged nearly 37,000 minutes of activity during their physical education classes in 2015-16, and they worked hard. Students spent 66 percent of that time exercising in their target heart rate zones. Officials across the D.C. Public Schools took notice, not just of Roosevelt’s PE success but also with results at five other high schools.

Focusing on middle school physical education

As a result, the IHT Spirit System – including the new IHT ZONE wrist monitor – will be in use at all of the Washington D.C. Public School’s Education Campuses, says Michael Posey, the district’s manager for physical education. The district includes two types of education campuses: primary, which includes students ranging from preschool to eighth grade, or secondary, which includes students from sixth grade to 12th grade.

“We’re expanding our use into all of our education campuses because we have the ability to see more students than just at a strict middle school,” he said.

This year, Washington D.C. Public Schools will emphasize physical fitness at for students transitioning into high school. Based on results from the IHT Spirit System among high school students, Posey said district leadership wants to give its rising high schoolers’ a boost in physical education.

“Part of it is the increased focus in our district on the middle grades and ensuring that they are reaching the successes they need,” he said. “We also wanted to beef up and ramp up the depth of (physical) education in middle school.”

Washington D.C. officials noticed the PE success that teachers and students alike at Roosevelt and Woodson high schools experienced through the IHT Spirit System. Posey said feedback from the teachers in particular made his decision to increase its use of IHT’s Spirit System a no-brainer.

Easy access to data

“Teachers like the ability to instantaneously upload the data,” Posey said. “You don’t have to create a secondary process other than clicking ‘save.’ That was a large part of it.”

As a director, he benefits from that as well. Teachers, he said, can simply export assessment results for, say, the President’s Youth Fitness Program®, by pushing one button, saving precious time and energy.

“The fact that teachers can do the (fitness assessments) inside the IHT software and save that data, then download it to an excel file and send it to me, makes their life easier,” he said.

D.C. students test IHT ZONE

We hope life gets easier as the new classes get introduced to the ZONE in the coming year. Posey said teachers and students who tested the ZONE monitors in early June gave very positive feedback.

“The ability to visualize and see when you are moving from zone to zone,” Posey said. “While we believe the students should get an intrinsic feel for things as they understand what it feels like to go from one zone to another, it helps to tie it altogether when you can actually see it from this zone into the next zone. Now, they can really rationalize that this is how it feels.”

Seeing is believing, and we hope we get to see some of these students in action, maybe featured on Twitter with the popular #dcpsrising.