While Administrators Focus on ESSA Funding, Teachers Continue to Seek Other Sources
Teachers searching for funding to purchase technology to improve student wellness find success in a variety of ways.
The US Department of Education allocated more than $1 billion to programs supporting safe and healthy schools through the Every Student Succeeds Act for the 2018-19 school year. In local school districts, wellness and PE administrators work with their federal funding departments to request their portion of that funding.
While administrators seek out federal funding, teachers remain focused on discovering funding opportunities on a more local level. With its ability to teach students the lifelong health benefits of exercising at an elevated heart rate, the IHT Spirit System® qualifies for funding from organizations such as local health departments.
In addition to health departments, teachers have sought and received funding from:
- Regional health organizations
- Local education foundations
- Parent-Teacher Organizations
Local Health Departments Offer Grant Opportunities
When he worked at Port Jervis (N.Y.) High School, teacher Jon Foley sought and received a grant from the Orange County Health Department to purchase a set of IHT ZONE wrist heart rate monitors for his PE classes.
“It was relatively easy to do,” Foley said. “They gave me the outline and I filled in what needed to be filled in. Our request was justifiable. They got back to me within a month or two that we received the grant.”
Foley began using the heart rate monitors with his high school students before transitioning to a new role in one of the district’s elementary schools. There, his young students get an early start on developing skills they’ll need to self-manage their fitness over the long haul.
“As physical education teachers, heart rate has to be one of the top five most important things,” Foley said. “Having them understand the heart rate is one of the most important things because knowing how the body works with their stress levels is huge. Learning that at the elementary level…”
Fort Lupton (Colo.) Middle School health teacher Lindsay Yost also worked with the local health department to obtain her inventory of IHT ZONEs.
“When the district made health a priority again, our district grant writer was able to get funds and through the grant money,” Yost said.
Education Foundation Impressed by Heart Rate Data
Lincoln Elementary (St. Charles, Ill.) teacher Will Navis worked with his local education foundation to purchase the IHT ZONEs he uses with his students. He’d already secured a portion of his funding from his local technology department but needed the remainder.
He’d met with members of the St. Charles Education Foundation previously. At a final meeting, he shared some of the data from one of his class’s first sessions. The IHT ZONE monitors record each student’s heart rate during the session, and the Spirit System software analyzes that data and shows students how their heart responded throughout the activity.
“I did some screenshots of some of the reports,” Navis explained. “They were just floored. ‘You get all that?’ ‘Yes, I get all of that, and I can email it to parents.’ They were very impressed.”
The Spirit System’s reporting capability enables teachers to collect data and measure student progress over the course of a week, month, grading period or school year.
Adding Activity to Health Curriculum
Yost worked closely with the North Colorado Health Alliance to bring the heart rate monitors into her health classroom. Without a dedicated space where students can exercise, Yost adapted her teaching style to incorporate activity in nearly every lesson.
“Via these heart rate monitors, I’m able to implement physical activity again, even if it’s a small little piece, into my classroom since I don’t have access to teach physical activity on a regular basis,” Yost said.
While the regular fitness opportunities help during the school day, Yost’s students also learn the long-term benefits of using heart rate monitors.
“The kids having this technology so young is very exciting,” Yost said. “They’ll be able to take that knowledge and use it as an adult.”