June 2, 2017 – Maury River Middle School (Lexington, Va.) aims to change the way Virginia schools engage students through physical education.

Beginning this summer and into the new school year, Maury River students will be the first in Virginia to utilize technology that puts them directly in touch with their heart rate data. The school has purchased several sets of IHT ZONE wrist heart rate monitors along with IHT’s Assessment Measures software to be used during a summer program and then during PE classes when the year begins.

MauryWith childhood obesity becoming a major epidemic in our country, we saw the need to adapt our curriculum to what our children need most…individualized instruction that meets every student at their own fitness level,” said Maury River Middle School PE Teacher Vicki Black. “IHT Zone heart rate monitors will allow us to connect our PE classrooms and students with the modern world of fitness technology.”

Multiple funding sources

Maury River will have multiple sets of Zone monitors to use beginning this summer. Rockbridge County Schools used a federal grant to buy a set of monitors to be used with a 21st Century Community Learning Center Afterschool Program. Shortly after that purchase, the district’s Career and Technical Education program purchased a set for use during the school day in collaboration with the physical education department. Additional sets are being purchased for the physical education department with funds allocated directly by Dr. Phillip Thompson, the new school superintendent, and the local education foundation.

“Through the use of the IHT Zone, our mobile App , student journaling and instant feedback, we are excited to partner with Maury River Middle School and help enhance their students’ overall educational experience both during their after-school program and in class when the new school year begins,” said Jen Ohlson, IHT’s founder and president.

The IHT ZONE monitors and the software are two primary components of the IHT Spirit System®, tools that help students learn to manage their own physical fitness and well-being and allow teachers a vehicle to objectively assess and grade each student on their actual performance during class.

MauryStudents wear the heart rate monitors during class and can see in real time how hard they are working. The heart rate monitors show students their actual heart rate but also the color of the heart rate zone – blue (low impact), yellow (moderate) and red (vigorous). Based on each day’s activity, teachers can set a goal for how long students should be exercising with their heart rates in the yellow or red zones.

As students return their Zone heart rate monitors at the end of class, the assessment software analyzes the heart rate data and delivers detailed reports measuring each student’s performance against the day’s goal.

‘Creating Healthy Lifestyles’

We are thrilled with the possibilities of connecting technology with student success, and creating healthy lifestyles,” said Tracy Hinty, the Coordinator of Federal Programs for Rockbridge County Schools. “IHT will enable us to utilize the monitors in a cross-curricular collaboration with our career and technical education department as students will monitor and analyze their own health data.”

Students will benefit by learning to take ownership of their health and fitness. Teachers and administrators benefit as well.

“The Spirit System will help teachers and administrators forge the meaningful connection of all data between students, parents, community and school,” Ohlson explained.

Black and fellow PE teacher Tasha Polly will share their plans for using the IHT Spirit System® with other Virginia teachers this summer. They are scheduled to make presentations at the Health and Physical Activity Institute held at James Madison University in Harrisonburg July 10-12 and at the Virginia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (VAHPERD) Conference in Roanoke Nov. 10-12.

Teachers continue to see the value of using heart rate data to empower students to take ownership of their health and fitness. We are honored that schools continue to see the IHT Spirit System as the best vehicle to reach students while also connecting parents, teachers and the community with the data to drive improvement.