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Districts around the country get fit with new technology

<b>Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Florida</b>

At Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Polar heart rate monitors have introduced a “wow factor” to physical education that has motivated students to take on personal ownership of their fitness achievements.

“Polar technology shows students the difference between moderate and vigorous physical activity,” says Dr. Jayne Greenberg, the district’s director for physical education and health literacy. “The students learned to set their own target zones and learned the importance of exercising in the right zone to attain and maintain health benefits.”

Miami-Dade County has implemented Polar heart rate monitors and the TriFIT fitness assessment system at the high school level. According to Greenberg, students have embraced the Polar fitness technology.

“Students grow up with technology so they are motivated by the immediate feedback they receive from Polar monitors,” she says.

<b>Sierra Vista Junior High School, California</b>

At Sierra Vista Junior High in Canyon County, Calif., heart rate technology is elevating physical education and student performance to impressive levels. “Adding technology into our ‘New PE’ curriculum has brought accountability and objectivity to our program,” says George Velarde, chairman of the school’s physical education department. “Our students, teachers, administration and parents get to see first-hand program results of a student’s grade, heart rate data and daily class performance.”

Using the Polar heart rate monitors keeps students on task, Velarde says. “They are constantly looking forward to receiving their heart rate comparison reports,” he explains. “This helps our students measure individual performance and progress throughout the year.”

The technology has paid off in results. For the last four years Sierra Vista’s fitness test scores have improved in every category and have surpassed average scores throughout California. Recently, Sierra Vista was recognized by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

<b>Titusville Area School District, Pennsylvania</b>

Ask Tim McCord, health-physical education department chair for the Titusville Area School District in Pennsylvania to explain how heart rate technology is enhancing his school’s physical education program and he’ll tell you that the program has been taken to a whole new plateau.

“When we started using Polar technology, it enabled us to legitimize what we were doing in our PE classes,” says McCord. “Our heart rate monitors gave us a sort of physical education computer that allowed all our students to exercise in a manner that was appropriate for their individual fitness level.”

Students at Titusville between grades 4 and 12 are using an array of Polar technology including E series heart rate monitors, the TriFIT fitness assessment system and PE Manager software. From the moment the Polar tools were introduced at the school, the difference was clear.

“Almost immediately it gave credibility to our program that had never existed to that point,” McCord explains. “Polar also allowed us to have a means of examining our curriculum to ensure we had maximum activity levels in our daily lessons.”