“I was interested in bringing instant and accurate feedback to my classes. This program does exactly that.”
~ Rick Wank, PE Teacher at Milford High School
What was your first experience with Physical Education technology?
My first experience with Heart Zones was back in 2015. I saw a presentation at SHAPE Michigan by Dr. Deb Berkey. After seeing the presentation, I spoke with my principal Kevin Mckenna and we were able to come up with the funds to purchase our first set.
What do you find most fun for you and for your students using Heart Zones Move Solution?
The piece that I like best about Heart Zones is the instant feedback it gives to myself and students. I can walk right up to a student I notice who isn’t in the fit zone and address that. Along with that, I can notice when someone might be in their typical range and check in to see if something is wrong. I have been very fortunate and I have caught about 6 students who had some sort of heart defect and we were able to help them to get the medical help needed. There are three students from previous years that had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which was pretty scary at the time abut now I’m just very happy we were able to catch it and help find the issue. The struggles I had at first were just the set-up of the system.
“Heart Zones has seriously changed my view of PE classes.”
~ Student in PE at Milford High
Describe your P.E. Program before and then after using Heart Zones… What Changed? How did YOU change as a result of infusing Heart Zones Method using physical education technology?
My P.E. program was always one based on getting kids moving in some way shape or form for as long as possible while in my class. Heart Zones helped me to focus my teaching to find times when I was talking to long and not having the students move. My program changed for the better with Heart Zones because it gave students real time data and instant feedback on their overall performance while in the activity. This program has allowed me to go from a teacher who was subjective in observing students to being able to show students hard data on their performance in the area of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
What have other faculty or administrators said about Heart Zones?
From the very beginning Rick has had amazing support from his administration team and board office. They were able to show data of student growth and a reduction of off-task time while in their P.E. classes. With Heart Zones we were able to catch quite a few students who had heart issues and in turn be able to help them get the medical help needed to live a long healthy lifestyle. For those reasons and others, our district purchased five middle and high school curriculum packs, as well as three traveling sets for our elementary buildings as well.
Funding is important. Share how you were able to secure the funding.
Our first set came from our P.E./school budget. Heart Zones was something I was really pushing for and my principal was able to save enough money from the previous year to help purchase the first set. After that, I was able to show the benefits to our district with COVID and all the EARS money available to purchase the other sets.
“These things are crazy how accurate they are.”
~ Milford High School Student
“It is so cool how the sensors can show me instantly how I’m doing everyday.”
~ Milford High School Student
“Teaching our students the proper way to use a heart monitor will provide them with a tool that will give them an opportunity to lead a healthy and active life beyond their high school years.”
~ Kevin Mckenna, Principal at Milford High School
“Mr. Wank’s access and pioneering with the heart sensors for the Milford High School staff shows an increase in student accountability and independence when it comes to their exercise
tracking and abilities. . .”
Lauren Leege, school social worker for Huron Valley Public Schools
“. . . It (Heart Zones) is a great way to put autonomy in our student’s fitness, well being and overall success. I love Mr. Wank and he is the greatest.”
Rick Wank’s teaching career started in 2007 in Chicago Public Schools. He moved back to Michigan and taught briefly in Detroit before being hired in Huron Valley schools. I have taught P.E. from K-12. I am a graduate of Western Michigan University, as well as I have masters in Educational Technology from Marygrove University. I have been an active member of SHAPE Michigan which is the state organization for P.E. teachers here in Michigan for 16 years. I was extremely honored to be the Teacher of the year in 2021 for SHAPE Michigan as well. You can reach me at Rick.Wank@hvs.org OR
High School P.E.
2380 S Milford Rd
Highland, MI 48357