Congratulations Heath Mueller and St. Matthew School
This June, the Heart Zones, Inc team is proud to acknowledge Heath Mueller and St. Matthew School for our Showcase School of the month. They have been using the Heart Zones System since August of 2015 and in that time, have been incredible pioneers for the Smart PE Movement. Check out this awesome news story that a local channel did on Heath and St. Matthew and then read below from the words of Heath how the Heart Zones System has impacted him, his students, and his school. You can also find pictures at the bottom approved by Heath with he and his students using the Heart Zones System!
Here are Heath’s answers to our Showcase School interview questions:
How did you get the funds to purchase the Heart Zones System? Where did it come from and what is the story behind petitioning to allocate funds to technology for PE?
From the beginning of my career I knew I would get heart rate monitors in my classroom. In college I would attend Iowa P.E. conventions and see Beth Kirkpatrick presenting heart rate monitors and their benefits. Seeing the way this technology impacted Physical Education, and how passionate Beth was about it, made a lasting impression that changed the way I viewed Physical Education.
From year one I went to my principal about purchasing heart rate monitors. The first response was not hopeful at all: a simple no was my answer. Still each year I asked again, listing the benefits and chipping away at the possibility of what this technology could do for my school. It was during my third year that I asked my principal and he seemed hopeful. Later that year he said he may have possible donors. He and I went to the donor’s house and explained what we were trying to do. They seemed very receptive and said they would get back to us. Unfortunately, there was a member of the family who voted against giving us the money.
I then went to the parent association at our school with the cost, benefits and everything I could to show them how this would impact our school. Being such a big cost the parent association was going to need time to determine if they would be able to pay for the heart rate monitors. By the time we got back to the parent association with the cost our quote was changed by a couple thousand dollars more.
In the mean time I started typing up a letter to get possible donors, such as area businesses, to give anything they would be willing to. At this point, with all the ups and downs, I thought getting heart rate monitors would take a lot longer that I hoped. Then I saw Beth Kirkpatrick at the Iowa P.E. Convention that year everything changed. Beth was with a new company that had heart rate monitors that went on the arm, instead of around the chest. This was always one of my biggest concerns, next to cost. Any physical educator I spoke to about heart rate monitors loved the idea, but didn’t like chest strap. Not only was there no chest strap, but the cost was half of what I was looking at with another company. Half the cost and no yearly fees made this a possibility.
Needless to say I was excited to talk to my principal about this new opportunity. Fortunately, I now had my principal on board and he was now passionate about getting this technology in our school too. I was hoping this would take us one step closer to getting “in my opinion” essential technology. I never imagined my principal would tell me we had the money in our technology budget. At least every other year we have a Tech Walk to raise needed funds for our continuously changing technology needs. The money came from this fundraiser with matching donations.
Why did you choose the Heart Zones System?
There are multiple reasons for purchasing heart rate monitors with Heart Zones Systems. The first reason I chose Heart Zones was Beth Kirkpatrick. With Beth being one to the first P.E. teachers in the nation to use heart rate monitors in schools and with all of her experience and knowledge, I knew that this technology was the best fit for our school. Of course cost was another issue. Being at a small Catholic school funds are hard to come by. The overall cost was half that of their competitors, with no yearly fees. This made it possible for us to purchase the heart rate monitors. The last reason is that this system does not utilize a chest strap. This has always been a major concern as to how we’d use them for my elementary students. The arm strap is a game changer.
What are the most important features of the Heart Zones System for your program?
The most important features of the Heart Zones Systems for my program are the “big board,” the instant downloads, and the simplicity of the system. The big board is essential because it allows the students and teacher to receive instant feedback. Not only can a student see how they are doing, but it also allows the teacher to motivate students and adjust the lesson. The instant downloads make this system time efficient and effortless. As soon as you stop the class an email is sent to parents with exact details on how their child did in class. I have had multiple parents tell me this has led to interesting conversations with their children. The last feature that is crucial is the simplicity of the system. There aren’t numerous places you have to go to look for data or continuous adjusting you have to do to the system.
What have the kids liked most about having the Heart Zones System?
The kids like having the big board. Students like that they can see how hard they are working while they are active. Having goals and being able to know how they did on their goals have been extremely motivating to my students. I always have students at the end of my class want to see their graphs that will be sent to their parents.
What have the teachers liked most about having the Heart Zones System?
The part of the Heart Zones System that has impacted my program the most is having data on my students. No longer do I only have observational evaluations, peer evaluations, or self evaluations. I now know how hard a student is working in every class on record. This has changed my parent teacher conferences and my grading. To be able to show parents exactly how hard their child is working has changed the way my profession is viewed.
Want to know more?
If you would like to learn more from Heath Mueller about how he and his school are using the Heart Zones System you can email him at email@example.com!
If you would like to hear more about the Heart Zones System from a member of our team, please call 916-481-7283 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think your school should be considered as a showcase school, please reach out to email@example.com for consideration!