Beth Kirkpatrick

Director of Education and Advocacy

From 1973 to 1993, Beth Kirkpatrick taught middle school PE in the public schools systems in Vinton, Iowa. She was one of the first PE teachers in the nation to pioneer the application of wearable technologies – the heart rate monitor – in schools.

Beth leads a team of experienced educators and entrepreneurs at Sacramento-headquartered Heart Zones, Inc. to accomplish a very large goal – get kids and teachers fit. Beth Kirkpatrick has the spirit and the stamina to lead teachers, administrators, and students by revitalizing curriculum, leading professional development, and implementing technologies that will accomplish getting kids and getting America fit.

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Questions and Answers

Why do you think the most significant invention for Physical Education has been the Heart Rate Sensors?

Because the printout retrieved from each heart rate sensor, showed for the first time in the history of our profession, the visual evidence of what each student was doing throughout class. Never before had a single, objective reading been available that would provide students with the accurate and guiding information. Students were now given credit for what they do in each workout, and also held accountable. Instructors no longer have to guess when it comes to student exercise intensity and all heart rate data is now easily sent to student records, their parents, and the student.

Downloading Heart Rate Data and being able to view the data electronically brings physical educators into the Technology Era and into the Objective Measurement Era.

Why do you believe that physical education alone will not solve the state of health and well-being for our children?

It is a community and lifestyle challenge for us all, together, to live better. Imagine a high tech physical education program that reaches outside the walls of the gymnasium and into the hearts and minds of our community. Imagine seeking out best practice and identifying those who need inspiration, and those who can offer inspiration to live better. Imagine a world where physical education is not just another class to be completed, but a destination for a different kind of learning. Heart rate sensors level the playing field by making sure each child understands that fitness is an individual journey. We must bring inspiration to our students, one by one.

Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan, visiting Grundy Center, Iowa, to see the outreach of a high tech physical education program, that reaches outside the walls of the gymnasium. Notice the huge heart rate graphs of the “Day In The Life Of. . .” our community members, hanging on the walls. Hundreds of parents wore a heart rate sensor during their day.

Why do you think it is important to record the heart rate throughout the school day of our students, at least once each year?

What better objective evidence can we provide for adults in our community, for the value for daily physical education, than showing parents how inactive their child’s school day is WITHOUT physical education? Is that what they want their child’s day to look like? Do they realize that is what a child’s day looks like without physical education? Couple this heart rate printout with lifestyle illness facts, and it creates a persuasive educational visual picture to inform parents about the importance of quality physical education experiences for their children.

Why do you think it is important to engage the entire community with helping to solve the health and well-being of our children?

In Grundy Center, Iowa, where heart rate sensors were implemented not only into the school physical education program, but also into the community.  In so doing, soon, there was a movement to build a fitness center for everyone to work out in our community.  It was an awakening for parents that quality physical education included getting “families” fit and living better. We really have the ability to inspire so many through outreach strategies like holding fitness fun nights, where parents get to use heart rate sensors. This outreach has been so successful, that some members of our community, have donated generously to our school program.