Large State Districts Improve Efficiency with IHT FitnessGram® Software
Texas physical education teachers and administrators using IHT’s FitnessGram® software have all the data they need to meet statewide reporting requirements while focusing on health and fitness with their students.
Six of the nine largest Texas public school districts have moved their FitnessGram® data collection and reporting to IHT’s software in the last year. The districts include: Dallas Independent School District, Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Northside ISD (San Antonio), Fort Worth ISD, Fort Bend ISD (Houston), and Aldine ISD (Houston).
IDEA Public Schools, a network of charter schools open to the public with 120 schools in Texas and three other states, uses IHT’s software to manage testing for more than 63,000 students and IHT ZONE heart rate monitors to promote moderate to vigorous physical activity on all its campuses.
Why did these school districts choose IHT?
“IHT is essential to what we do,” IDEA Public Schools Physical Education & Health Curriculum Manager Eren Kirksey said. “It is essential to how I communicate and an essential part of our students’ lives to take ownership of their own health and fitness.”
IHT’s software enables teachers to conduct their fitness testing (including automatically entering results for some assessments), provide students with feedback, and generate mandatory reports that must be submitted as part of Texas’ Physical Fitness Assessment Initiative.
“It is very user friendly,” Brenham Independent School District Director of Health and Safety Jamie Woodall said. “The data collection was seamless and at the end, to submit the data (in a report), teachers did not have to do an extra step of entering it into the computer.”
Conducting Fitness Testing and Generating Reports
IHT’s software includes the measures for all of the fitness tests included in FitnessGram®. From one spot, teachers can select any or all of the tests to include in an assessment. Teachers also have access to IHT’s video library, which includes strategies from certified Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP) trainers. PYFP oversees the tests nationally and IHT is the official software of the PYFP.
Using any internet-connected device, teachers can access their assessment and enter results in real time. For time-based tests such as the mile run or 20-meter beep test (PACER), the system provides a timer to help teachers record student data automatically.
“Inputting data is very easy. I started doing it on my iPad,” St. Elizabeth of Hungary School PE teacher Will Cervenka said. “As soon as the kids finish their mile run, I click their name and their time stops and you’ve recorded the data. It’s so much less work after the fact now.”
Easy Assessment of Student Results Drives Conversations
“I do like that you can send out emails with a click of a button, and parents really like that because they get some feedback,” Cervenka said.
Once students complete all of the tests, teachers can easily generate a summary report showing students what they achieved and what the results mean.
“The reports we are able to run make this a non-brainer,” Dallas ISD Middle School Health and PE Coordinator Rhonda Rutherford-Odom said.
With the data, students can work with teachers to create personal improvement plans, whether they need to achieve healthy fitness zone standards or simply improve upon their individual scores next time. Creating engaged parents has been another bonus.
“The data connects to our student record system,” Kirksey said. “We can send reports to parents and that gives us another data point for parent engagement.”
Kirksey also uses the data to communicate with principals so they continue to focus on the importance of student fitness.
“I am able to then synthesize (the data) at my level,” Kirksey said. “‘Hey principal, did you know that only 60% of your students are attending PE on a regular basis and attaining moderate-to-vigorous physical activity?’ I have tasked each campus with meeting a goal. Having this data is essential to our core mission.”
“Data, as we all know, does drive decisions,” Humble Independent School District PE/Wellness Coordinator Helen Wagner said. “When we can critically begin to look at data, we can begin to make bigger changes. Using IHT has allowed us to open some new doors to not just look at the data, but to do something with the data that is proactive for our students.”
Making the Data Work For Students, Families, Teachers and Administrators
Dallas ISD, the second-largest school district in Texas, uses the data from reports to shape its future PE purchases.
“We’ll be able to invest in programs that will work with students in the healthy fitness zone,” Rutherford-Odom said. “Not having that data from year to year sets us back, and this data gives us funds and programs with the district.”
At IDEA, Kirksey relies on the data to keep his finger on the pulse of student fitness across the network. The data allows him to communicate with teachers and principals and let them know exactly where their campuses stand. Are students meeting goals? How can teachers help?
“The goals and the data together, they paint a picture for us,” Kirksey said. “By using IHT to paint this picture and speak the language of those in charge, I can review the fitness gradebook of all of our different teachers, the curriculum that it came with and how frequently our teachers are using those resources. When you talk data and IHT and couple that with the ability to take care of our state FitnessGram®, it’s a one-stop shop.”
To learn more about IHT’s FitnessGram® software and get a quote to implement across your district, please click here.