Educators Look Everywhere From Local Funding to Regional Grants to Federal Allocations for Heart Rate Monitors
Schools utilize a variety of funding sources to purchase IHT ZONE heart rate monitors and software to teach students to self-manage their physical and emotional health.
From modest sources such as the departmental budget to larger sources such as regional or federal grants, educators find funding by first demonstrating the value of the technology they want to add. Then, by proving how the technology will benefit students helps teachers clear most funding hurdles.
“When they initially saw the price, they saw it was a lot,” Intrinsic Charter High School (Chicago) teacher Orlandus Thomas explained. “I get it. I offered to test it and show them the data.”
School District Direct Funding
Thomas sought IHT ZONES for years at several different schools. Rather than trying to purchase enough IHT ZONE heart rate monitors for several teachers, he started with a 10-student pilot program that actually coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic with students learning from home.
The teacher distributed monitors to 10 students and connected them using the IHT Spirit Mobile App. Students got Thomas’ assignments via Google Classroom and went to work. Wearing the IHT ZONE monitors, students completed a series of workouts. The data transferred automatically into Thomas’ user account, and he could show his administrators exactly how hard the students pushed themselves to meet goal for minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise.
“We tested it with those monitors, and I showed (administrators) the data and that’s when they went all-in with me,” Thomas said. “The way they worked was everything I had imagined and more. These kids, even remotely, did the workouts I sent them and stayed in the (target heart rate) zones.”
The charter high school indeed went all-in with Thomas. The administration used direct budget funding to provide enough IHT ZONE monitors for Thomas and his teaching colleagues to use this year.
Other schools that have used direct funding to purchase IHT ZONE monitors include:
Regional Education and Community Grants
Lewiston (ID) High School teacher Chris Meyer saw an opportunity to rebuild a PE program that needed to better meet the needs of its students.
“We had a really solid PE program, we felt, but we wanted to take it to the next level,” Meyer said.
Meyer’s curriculum makeover coincided with the construction of a new high school campus. The fresh building gave Meyer and her team the motivation to put together a more modern PE program that focused on different areas of fitness rather than sport-specific skills and game-play. Meyer wanted to upgrade the school’s exercise equipment while also adding IHT ZONE heart rate monitors.
Combining new classes such as lifetime fitness and fitness foundations with IHT ZONE monitors, Meyer quickly noticed the positive response from her students.
“Students look forward to wearing them and they understand how they work and what we are tracking,” Meyer said. “They understand where their heart rate should depending on whether it’s an anaerobic or an aerobic workout and how long they should be in each heart rate zone depending on the type of workout we are doing.”
Meyer acquired much of the equipment, including her IHT ZONE monitors through several grants, most notably the Lewis & Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation and the Idaho Office of Drug Policy Substance Abuse Block Grant.
“The LC Valley Healthcare Grant and the Idaho Office of Drug Policy Grant have been very generous to us,” Meyer said. “We received several other regional grants that provided significant funding, but they were the ones that made our IHT ZONE heart rate monitors and our CrossFit style fitness gym happen.”
Meyer and 2012 SHAPE America Middle School PE Teacher of the Year Jessica Shawley, who joined the Lewiston HS PE department after using IHT ZONE monitors while teaching at Moscow (ID) Middle School, worked together on the grant applications.
“We wrote a lot of grants,” Meyer said. “We were very fortunate to receive several of them and that’s what allowed us to purchase the heart rate monitors along with fitness curriculum and fitness equipment.”
Other schools that have used regional and community grants to purchase IHT ZONE monitors include:
Understanding How to Apply for Your District's Federal Funding
Irving (Texas) Independent School District Health and PE Coordinator Sandi Cravens heard about the then-new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) funding when the U.S. Department of Education announced it as the primary funding source for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 2016. She just didn’t think it applied to her departments.
“I was familiar already with Title IV but I didn’t pay too much attention to it because I assumed the money would go to another group of people in our district because that’s usually how it works,” Cravens said. “My boss, thankfully, said he knew exactly who to talk to about it.”
Cravens contacted Irving’s Director of Federal Funding Fernando Natividad and learned two important things. First, health and PE did indeed qualify for ESSA funding, particularly funding for programs that contribute to a student’s well-rounded education, support safe and healthy students, and support the effective use of technology. Second, the district had not allocated all its Title IV funding. With that knowledge in hand, Cravens wrote a proposal to purchase IHT ZONE heart rate monitors for all of Irving’s middle schools.
“It probably took me a couple of hours to pull it all together, but I did spend some time watching videos so I would feel comfortable talking about everything if questions came up,” she said. “I focused on the link to academic development, how each element of the program could be measured and show the impact on academic performance. Five minutes into the meeting, he stopped me and approved the program.”
For her first request, Cravens received nearly $35,000 to put IHT ZONE monitors on eight campuses for sixth and seventh grade students to use. She’s since expanded Irving’s inventory of IHT ZONE monitors with several other successful grants.
The biggest thing, she said, was understanding that the money was available and designated for programs like hers. It took overcoming a now-outdated mindset that schools will not invest in health and PE programs.
“We are trained in physical education and health to believe that we don’t deserve it,” she said. “It’s not on purpose. That’s just the way it usually works. So, we don’t ask for things and we assume, like I did, that we wouldn’t be eligible.”
Other schools that have used federal funding to purchase IHT ZONE monitors include:
- McAllen (Texas) Independent School District
- San Jose Charter Academy
- California Teacher Using CARES Funding
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, billions more dollars have been delivered to local school districts, but the last round of pandemic relief funding has been delivered. While that funding will likely go away after the current allocations are spent, ESSA funding will renew every year.