Williston Central School receives grant for heart rate monitors

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Williston Central School has been awarded a grant for heart rate monitor equipment and software for physical education classes, the Vermont Department of Education announced on April 5.

The state grant funding will allow physical education teachers to provide immediate biofeedback to students about the intensity of their physical activity during classes.

“Students will be able to wear these monitors during phys ed class and will truly get an understanding of if their bodies are working as hard as they should,” said WCS physical education teacher Jennifer Oakes.

Pat Bannerman, the WCS physical educator who was most responsible for securing the $7,637 in grant funding, said the new technology will allow less gifted student athletes to feel better about exercise by showing them that different people require different amounts of physical activity to achieve their target heart rates.

“What I really like about it is the individualization,” Bannerman said. “We are all individuals and we need to respect that. It keeps (students) moving and motivated and they set goals for themselves.”

Lindsay Simpson, physical education consultant for the Department of Education, said WCS was chosen for the grant because of its “very strong, committed team” and its “commitment to lifetime fitness.”

Simpson said that the state is trying to move away from a “sports model” of physical education to a “lifelong wellness model,” and that the technological aspect of the heart rate monitor program is appealing to students who have grown up with the instant connectivity of computer-based technology.

“Kids are super plugged into technology,” Simpson said. “To have that kind of instant feedback for their bodies is really exciting for kids.”