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Using Program Resources to Help Students Plan for a Healthy Lifestyle

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Getting Started

In 2012, Darcy Earley, a high school physical education (PE) teacher from Illinois, was reading online about how to meet national PE standards and saw the youth fitness test had been replaced by the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, which uses the FitnessGram® assessment to assess student fitness. At a conference she attended, Darcy was able to see how FitnessGram worked. She liked what she saw. 

Up and Running

Although use of the FitnessGram software is not required to implement and participate in the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Darcy was hoping to be able to tap into that resource. She knew, however, the cost of the software was not in her school’s budget. She was excited to learn of the opportunity to apply for funding that supported access to resources, including training and software, to enhance her program implementation. She quickly applied for funding, which she was awarded, and began implementing the program in 2013. ​

The Presidential Youth Fitness Program has helped Darcy overcome the reluctance of some students to participate in her PE classes. Through the program, Darcy provides a better fitness education to her students, which has created more enthusiasm for PE class among the students. Darcy has observed that the Presidential Youth Fitness Program has given PE a new purpose—to improve personal health and fitness. She knows that her students are learning and feeling better about themselves because she hears students having discussions about Healthy Fitness Zone® goals and less discussion about weight, although body mass index is one area of assessment for FitnessGram.

What Comes Next

The program’s resources have allowed Darcy to work with students beyond the classroom to help them achieve their goals. Although students do not take PE for the entire school year, Darcy is able to interact with them via e-mail to review fitness scores and suggest activities that will allow them to reach their fitness goals. Using the results from fitness assessments, she can help students set achievable goals then tailor their workouts in the school’s fitness center to meet their needs.