Olympic Champion Dick Fosbury delivers grand prize to PE class

Oct. 6, 2016

HSSD Superintendent Damian LaCroix, Dick Fosbury, Bay View PE teacher Kaitlyn Bloemer

On Friday, Sept. 30, track legend Dick Fosbury helped IHT celebrate an innovative group of physical education students at Bay View Middle School by delivering the grand prize from the IHT Spirit Video Challenge.

Fosbury delivered a classroom set of new IHT ZONE wrist heart rate monitors to Bay View teacher Kaitlyn Bloemer.  He then participated in PE classes after speaking to the entire school during a pep rally Friday morning. Watch a video recap of the pep rally and visit here

“It’s always very special to have an Olympic Gold Medalist, and one who’s so well-known that he’s left his legacy in his sport, [speak to our students],” said Bay View Principal Steve Meyers.

‘I have to do something different’

“When they raised the bar to 5 feet, 6 inches, I had never made that height before,” said Fosbury as he shared the story of how he developed the jumping style that now bears his name. “I thought, ‘I have to do something different.’”

To reach new heights, Fosbury used his engineering skills to innovate a new method for his jumps. The jump is officially named the “Fosbury Flop” after Fosbury cleared the bar by jumping back-first and flopping over the bar.

Fosbury used the skills that later led him to a career in engineering to develop a different style, one in which he jumped back-first and flopped over the bar. It worked, and the Fosbury Flop was born.

Like Fosbury’s flop, the Zone monitors represent our latest innovation to improve physical education. The wrist-based heart rate monitor allows students to see how hard they are exercising. The monitors change color based on the student’s heart rate zone, helping them understand what vigorous exercise feels like.

PE Technology

Bay View PE students with Dick Fosbury

The monitors bring heart rate monitor technology to PE. IHT’s Spirit System collects data from the Zone monitors to generate a visualization of each student’s individual workout session. The Spirit System allows teachers to assess PE performance, track success and measure achievement aligned with nationally defined standards.

“As we’ve integrated technology into math and social studies and other subject areas, [more people are understanding] the prominent place that it can play in our physical education programs,” said Meyers.  

Fosbury emphasized the importance of using technology to accumulate data in physical education.

“What’s really important today that I’ve learned is that it is critically important to have data to be able to monitor where your progress is,” he said.

Making memories

In conjunction with the Zone’s release, IHT conducted a Spirit Video Challenge last spring. Students and teachers submitted videos demonstrating how they raised the bar in their physical education classes. The grand prize included a classroom set of the new monitors in addition to three years of the IHT Spirit System software. The 60 videos entered in the contest generated 29,000 votes. And can we mention that the videos gained 63,000 plays as well? Bay View’s winning video had more than 4,000 views.

“Today was an awesome experience for our students to hear an incredible story,” said Damian LaCroix, the superintendent of schools at the Howard-Suamico School District. “It’s a story not only of athletic accomplishment but also the importance of academic accomplishment.

“I loved mathematics and I loved science,” Fosbury told the students. “I had to work at that.”  

Fosbury also answered questions from the student audience and posed for pictures with students,Fosbury teachers and administrators, many of which have been posted to Facebook and Twitter.

Congratulations Bay View. Thank you for raising the bar in PE.






















Schools turn to supplemental fee as insurance policy on technology provided for student use

Aug. 24, 2016

During our Advisory and Innovation Summit, some of the country’s top physical education experts discussed the wearable technology transformation and the concerns of protecting their investments in new technology. The experts agree that a self-funded insurance model provides schools the biggest benefit.

Suamico Elementary School (Wisc.) Principal Ryan Welnetz

Focused primarily on our new IHT Zone monitor, teachers and administrators wanted to know how they could increase loss prevention and protect themselves from extra costs by damage or loss. Ryan Welnetz, principal at Suamico Elementary School in the Howard-Suamico (Wisc.) School District, detailed how his district charges a supplemental fee for students to use iPads and laptops throughout the school year, how the self-insurance program protects both school and individual from damage and how a similar plan might work for new devices that students share across multiple class periods. This information is helpful in supporting schools using the Zone and IHT Spirit System as well.

School-issued devices becoming the norm

According to reports published a year apart by EdSurge and The Journal, one in three U.S. students use school-issued technology. In England, the BBC reports that schools provide tablet computers to 7 of 10 students. Apple and Google rank among the most popular school-provided devices.

  • Apple had sold more than 4.5 million iPads to schools by 2013
  • Google had partnered with more than 2,000 schools by 2013

Howard-Suamico School District (HSSD) provides students with either iPad Air tablets or MacBook Air computers. The devices represent a major investment for students: 64 GB iPad models retail for $499 and 11-inch MacBook Air laptops start at $899. Google’s Chromebooks start as low as $180, which includes a management fee. While schools don’t pay retail prices, the cost to provide devices to students remains significant.

Allowing students access to modern technology is great, but in the hands of K-12 students, how can we protect our investment into education? Two resolutions becoming more prevalent are technology fees and the accompanying guidelines.

Devices come with technology fee

HSSD provides devices for students once they reach the third grade: iPads for younger students and MacBook Air laptops for high schoolers. The district charges a technology insurance fee on each device, both non-refundable after 15 days.

  • iPad – issued to students in grades 3-8: $35 annual fee
    • Students keep devices during the school year only
  • MacBook Air – issued to students in grades 9-12: $99 annual fee
    • Students maintain possession of device through 12th grade

The fee covers families for two instances of accidental damage. Other guidelines include:

  • After two repairs, subsequent repair costs are shared evenly between HSSD and family
  • Damage reports must be filed with the HSSD Media Center within 48 hours
  • Stolen devices must include a police report

Other school systems charge different fees dependent on the device and the demographics, and most provide waivers for families in free or reduced-cost lunch programs.

Self-insurance policy guidelines

While HSSD purchases or leases its devices from Apple, the district does not purchase Apple’s support option, AppleCare. That choice results in significant savings for HSSD. Though school districts often get price breaks based on large-volume orders, support remains costly.

  • iPad AppleCare support: $99
  • MacBook Air AppleCare support: $249

By declining AppleCare, HSSD needed to come up with its own policy. The HSSD self-insurance plan covers all damage short of the obviously intentional and loss.

“Unless it’s blatant…the kid picks it up and throws it against the wall or stomps on it with his foot, it’s covered in full,” Welnetz said.

In those cases:

  • HSSD invoices family full replacement cost of damaged device
  • Full replacement cost determined by current market value
  • Districts must develop collections policy

The repair process strives to keep devices in students’ hands. To accomplish that, HSSD purchases extra devices as part of its initial order. Having a surplus of devices comes at an extra upfront cost to the district, but Welnetz said it’s part of the cost of providing students with devices, making sure they don’t lose access to information or assignment during the repair.

Insurance on shared devices

Michael Posey, an administrator with DC Public Schools, demonstrates the pick-up method utilized by the IHT Spirit System

How schools ensure devices shared by multiple classes or students is a largely undeveloped space. Bay View Middle School, also in the HSSD, utilizes IHT Spirit System chest strap heart rate monitors at present but will be adding Zone monitors this fall.

“When you share from class to class, it gets a little tougher,” Welnetz said of the logistics around distributing and collecting monitors for each class.

Thanks to the Spirit System’s design, theft or loss becomes less of an issue. The pick-up and return method takes shared device insurance into account. Each monitor is assigned to a specific student, which allows teachers to identify which students haven’t checked devices back in at the close of class. With this strategy, schools know who to contact if devices go missing.

We see the benefit of a self-insurance plan for schools using these shared devices. Schools can charge a small fee — a percentage of the device’s retail price — and create a pool by which they can purchase replacements when necessary. A benefit: if the fund has money left at the end of the school year, that money could be used to fund the next round of Zone purchases.

IHT developed the Zone as a tool to improve physical education, helping students see their exertion level and understand how that impacts their health and well-being. We appreciate that schools dedicate precious financial resources to purchasing this type of technology and we want to help protect that investment.

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