While it is important to teach children the benefits of physical activity, many question whether a school P.E. class actually imparts that lesson. If the ultimate goal of these classes are not being met, what changes can schools and educators make? Our Fitbit customer, Elite Academic Academy (EAA), approaches education in a non-traditional way, and its approach to physical education is no different. It just made sense that EAA would be able to use Fitbit Care to develop a personalized program for their kids that would not only support their academic goals but also help instill healthy habits. Utilizing an activity tracker specifically designed for kids 6+, Ace 2*, and an easy-to-use fitness tracker with 24/7 heart rate, Inspire 2, for students 13+ and staff.
Focus on Flexible Learning
This year, many children made the difficult transition to remote learning. For Elite Academic Academy’s students, virtual homeschooling is part of their regular education. Based in Southern California, EAA is a tuition-free charter school that focuses on flexible, individualized homeschool.
It is composed of virtual and blended academies for students choosing not to attend traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Its mission is to harness the power of a flexible learning environment to provide a superior education for its students.
Making Physical Activity a Lifelong Habit
In California, the department of education requires that students in fifth, seventh, and ninth grade must complete a physical fitness test, FITNESSGRAM®. The test has six parts that are designed to show a level of fitness that offers a defense against diseases that come from inactivity. But the greater objective is to start students on a path that makes physical activity a regular, lifelong habit.
Looking to go beyond just providing exercise routines or informational articles, EAA offered students Fitbit devices as a fun way to prepare for their tests. Students were encouraged to use their Fitbit devices to better understand how their steps, distance moved, active minutes, and calories** burned all contribute to helping them reach their fitness goals.
Students were excited when they learned that they could message their friends*** within the Fitbit app. They set goals and supported and cheered each other’s achievements, which also created a spirit of friendly competition.
Faculty Puts Fitness First
EAA looked at this partnership as an opportunity to help improve the overall health and wellness of not only the students, but their staff. The faculty members served as a beta for the Fitbit program. They were provided with Fitbit devices and enrolled in Fitbit Care prior to the students joining.
Before students were able to onboard, the EAA staff members were already learning about–and enjoying–the Fitbit program. They started morning walks and tried to incorporate more movement during their work days. Beyond just increasing physical activity, the team bonded over starting the program together, with members noting that it improved their social connections and ultimately brought them closer. “Year one of our Elite Fitbit Challenges were so fun and successful that we began looking for opportunities beyond Physical Fitness Testing to incorporate Fitbit. The PFT Challenges allowed Elite distant learning students and staff the opportunity to make new connections, share laughs and encourage one another to do a little better each day,” Andy Allanson, Athletic Lead – EAA.
Blending Fitness into Education
As many people look at a new year as a time to reset, EAA will be kicking off 2021 with the first of five student challenges that they plan to run this year. It is important to them to integrate fitness into their education programs, and the key to make this successful for their kids is keeping it fun and allowing them to engage with other students. “Yes, PFT participation and scores improved as expected, but what we didn’t anticipate was all the BeElite School Spirit that developed from our challenges. Our next goal is to outfit all Elite students with a Fitbit and challenge benefits,” Andy Allanson, Athletic Lead – EAA.
School website: https://www.eliteacademic.com/
*Children under the age of 13 used a Fitbit Ace device which requires a Fitbit Family Account.
**All-Day Calorie Burn is not available on Ace devices.
***Friend requests for kids 6+ require mutual guardian approvals within the Fitbit Family Account.
Charter School Adds a Personalized Path to Fitness is written by Janine Garb for healthsolutions.fitbit.com