Originally published Sept. 14, 2021 by The Columbus Telegram.
By Andrew Kiser
Incoming technology at Lost Creek Elementary School is targeted toward helping students maintain their fitness as they get older, said health and fitness teacher Jonathan Tomasevicz.
Recently, Lost Creek was awarded a $3,145 grant from the American Heart Association to buy heart rate monitor wristbands to be used in physical education classes.
“We just want them to be a healthy adult,” Tomasevicz said. “I think that’s the goal for any PE teacher. It’s to make sure our students are being healthy outside of school.”
The new technology will teach kids about science and fitness, regarding their heartbeat while participating in physical activity, Tomasevicz said.
Columbus Public Schools Foundation Executive Director Nicole Anderson – who helped with the grant process - said the wristbands are an effort to bring 1-on-1 technology to physical education classes. The students already have iPads for class, she added.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Anderson said of the wristbands. “How do you bring tech to PE? That’s a great way to continue the movement and get data.”
Anderson said the grant helped Lost Creek to receive the heart rate monitor wristbands more quickly.
“Now, we’re able to reach this goal and implement this in Lost Creek,” she said.
The wristbands have been a long time in the making for Tomasevicz. Before the grant, he also raised money through track and field day T-shirt sales for about the past four years.
Tomasevicz said he raised around $2,000 from the sales; however, half went to track and field days while the other went into the heart rate monitor wristbands.
Anderson commended Tomasevicz’s innovation, saying the Lost Creek educator had a “clear vision” that would fit within CPS’ curriculum for physical education.
“I think any time we can find things that will elevate what we’re already doing is a great opportunity that we need to work for and look for every day,” Anderson said.
Tomasevicz said he initially heard about the wristbands while looking through online physical education forums.
“I saw what it did for the PE classroom,” he said. “I thought that was really neat and fun to have in our classroom. So I then started trying to find funding for it.”
Tomasevicz said heart rate monitors are becoming more common as many people now have a smartwatch such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch that does that task. Additionally, stationary bikes and treadmills can also monitor the user's heart rate, he added.
“Learning about your heart and what zones you should be in, that’s a life skill,” Tomasevicz said.
Tomasevicz said there isn’t a timetable set on when the heart rate monitor wristbands will be delivered as the American Heart Association grant hasn’t arrived. But eventually, the school will have 30 different bands for students, he added.
“That’s more than enough for a class,” Tomasevicz said.