News Releases

November 07, 2008

Physical Education Goes High-Tech with Heart Rate Monitors

MONTPELIER – Three Vermont high schools were granted heart rate monitors and the supporting technology for their physical education programs, the department announced today.

Williamstown Middle and High School, South Royalton School and Mt. Abraham Union High School were granted a total of $26,890 to purchase and implement heart rate monitor equipment and software for high school physical education.

“This technology supports a new kind of physical education, shifting away from a competitive, sports-oriented model to one that promotes individual, lifelong fitness,” said physical education consultant Lindsay Simpson.

The goals of the heart rate monitor program are to:

1. Document and increase the amount of time high school students spend engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity during physical education;

2. Develop student self-knowledge, personal goal-setting and fitness planning skills for lifetime physical activity; and

3. Develop students’ 21st century skills of tracking, interpreting and evaluating personal physical activity effort with objective, technological measures.

Other states have utilized this type of fitness-oriented physical education program to improve students’ academic performance, as this type of aerobic training has been shown to produce cognitive benefits, according to Psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey[1]. The monitors also allow for physical educators to collaborate with other content specialists, as students can use the data for lessons in statistics and analyze the results in terms of physiology.

Previous grant winner and department head Ed Cook shared in his June 2008 final program report that “winning this grant was the best thing that has happened to the Physical Education program at Vergennes Union High School in the past 11 years. We are one of the few departments at VUHS that has the students using technology for individual analysis every day. Our P.E. department has started to make the change from traditional skills and games-based classes to classes that promote and develop an understanding and love of lifelong fitness.”

The heart rate monitor grants, awarded as a result of a competitive proposal process, are legislated in Act 161 of 2004, an act promoting wellness in Vermont schools. For more information contact Lindsay Simpson, Physical Education Consultant (802) 828-1461 or

[1] Ratey, J.J. 2008 Spark - The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Little, Brown and Co. New York, NY.

Source: Department of Education
Last Updated at: November 07, 2008 09:49:41