School district to step it up with 4,200 pedometers

The Marshalltown Community School District plans to purchase 4,200 pedometers for students in physical education classes as part of a federal grant for physical fitness.

The pedometers will measure physical activity through calculating steps among students in the district, both at school and at home. Kindergarten through fourth grade physical education students will wear the pedometers for four consecutive days and fifth through 12th grade students will wear them for seven days consecutively. The pedometers will be paid for by the Carol M. White P.E. federal grant.

Matt Tullis, grant administrator in the district, said he hopes students have fun with it and that this will encourage them to be more active throughout the day.

“It will be something new and interesting to them,” Tullis said. “What we want to do through our physical education program is teach kids tools that they can use for the rest of their lives.”

Tullis said P.E. teachers and other staff will track steps by students.

“We report to the government the number of kids who have at least 60 minutes of activity a day, which is the standard,” Tullis said.

Tullis said parents can opt out of the program if they don’t want their children wearing the pedometers, but he expects pretty high participation levels among students.

“Many other districts have had this grant before and they have done this,” Tullis said.

Another goal of the program is that students start thinking more about their overall health as they track their activity.

“Hopefully their nutrition and health becomes a little more relevant,” he said.

After the four and seven day periods, Tullis said the pedometers will be returned to P.E. teachers and they can come up with their own ideas on how to utilize them.

Bids for the 4,200 pedometers will be presented to the school board at its meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Rogers Elementary School. Tullis said depending on the features, cost of pedometers can range from $6.90 to $30 each. He said they budgeted $80,000 through the grant for the pedometers.

Tullis said a letter will be sent to parents explaining the program and they hope to have the pedometers shipped to the district soon after board approval.