Johnston teachers awarded grants for heart rate monitors, Academic Decathlon

JOHNSTON, Ia. (May 9, 2022) — With purple shirts, purple-and-gold balloons and a large check in hand, the “Dragon Patrol” from the Johnston Community School Foundation went into the classroom to surprise two Johnston teachers with grants today.

IMG 4985Nicole Beer at Johnston Middle School was awarded $7,196 for 58 wrist heart rate monitors that will be used with every student who attends Johnston Middle School and takes physical education (PE).

Sue Cline at Johnston High School was awarded $1,000 for Academic Decathlon. The money will go toward entry fees for the regional competition and study materials for the team.

Grants were provided by the Johnston Community School Foundation (JCSF), a nonprofit organization that supports academics, special needs and the arts in all of our schools, across all grade levels. The foundation’s mission is to raise funds to provide grants for our educators in support of our students and schools to promote educational excellence.

Heart rate monitors for PE studentsIMG 4981

At Johnston Middle School, the new monitors are designed specifically for PE classes. They combine a wrist heart rate and fitness tracking device made specifically for children and schools. The school has used such monitors since 2016, but did not have enough monitors for every student. The new monitors are more updated and expected to last longer.

In her application, Beer said the technology supports the need to provide all students personalized and differentiated learning. It provides direct, real-time data to students to teach them, in the moment, how to manage their physical effort. It incorporates an interactive curriculum and online student journal. And it gives the school the ability to track, record and provide instant feedback to participants and parents.

“Our goal is to support, on a daily basis, the development of healthy habits that empower students to take ownership and to help document the impact of our curriculum and our coordinated school health approach,” Beer said.

IMG 4979Academic Decathlon

Academic Decathlon is an academic competition which covers 10 areas of knowledge and skill.  Students prepare and test over art history, music history, economics, math, literature, science, social science, speech, interview, and essay. Teams are composed of nine students each, of varying GPA levels.

Johnston High School students traditionally doIMG 4989 very well at Academic Decathlon. This year, the team placed second at state and qualified for the online nationals.

“Although we win multiple individual awards and usually some team awards, I would say the most important success is the growth in the students,” Cline said. “They grow academically, of course, but growth in confidence, initiative, and self-advocacy are even more important.”

The JCSF grant will help with costs for Academic Decathlon, which include $350 for basic prep materials. Cline said she would also like to purchase official preparation materials, which cost $700 a year, and help students pay for the competition itself. Students have in past year been asked to contribute $25 a year to register.