Part 5. The 8 Tips to Success from Adam Otstot, HPE Curriculum Specialist
When the opportunity strikes, “ask” for it. That’s just what Adam Otstot, Health and PE curriculum specialist for the Hanover County Public Schools Virginia did when he first learned about the available funding for school technology and professional development training from the CARES Act. CARES Act provides emergency money for programs and equipment. Requirement is simple – ask. Available today, instructors and specialists simply need to request with minimal paperwork needed. Make a list, take the list to your building supervisor or coordinator, and simply ask. If your request fits the criteria to purchase technology and professional development (PD), you shall succeed to.
Here’s how Adam Otstot successfully received $50,000 in emergency funding to purchase technology group heart rate monitors for his online learners.
“The first time I saw Heart Zones school health and physical education group tracking technology at another school, it was National Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year, Ron Trainum, I loved it. Hanover County schools needs this solution for all of our students in all of our schools because it provides immediate feedback for the kids,” shares Adam Otstot, HPE curriculum specialist. A common comment for those experiencing simple to use group technology for heart rate, step tracking smart pedometers, and other sensors, Adam was struck by how implementing smart technology raises his teaching efficiency and his students’ motivation.
Enter the CARES Act emergency funding to solve the under-funding challenges faced by many health and PE educators. The CARES Act is designed to provide the funds necessary for Health, PE, Athletics, and Social Emotional Learning programs to purchase instructional tools to be successful with remote, in-person, and hybrid education. Adam was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to finance his program — he simply had to ask. Just like the proverb that if you keep your mouth closed, you will starve, similarly if you don’t open your mouth and ask for the money, you will never receive it.
Tip #1. Ask.
According to Adam, Hanover County Public School Health and Physical Education Program had little to no technology for their programs. He made a wish list and took it to his county upper level administrators. From a one-page wish list, the administrators acknowledged that emergency funding was available. “I did not have to apply or fill out grant requirement but simply ask, which makes it much easier for me and every PE teacher or district coordinator,” said Adam Otstot.
Tip #2. Use the power of collaboration and team work.
“I worked collaboratively with teachers in Hanover County Public Schools to determine what tools they needed to be able to provide the most effective instruction and assessment in the current COVID-19 landscape,” recalls Adam Otstot in determining what to put on his wish list
Tip #3: Make a wish list for all grades.
“I know that the Heart Zones Move Solution is easy to use, the kids quickly slip on armbands; there’s no set up for them, and they immediately start their activities. This technology combined with the companion instructional materials like the curriculum Smart PE made it effortless for our health and PE teachers as well as SEL and wellness coordinators for the first time to have a tool for student accountability and engagement just like math and language arts,” explains Otstot.
Tip #4: Upgrade your program at the same time provide professional development like every other department.
“The plan has always been to equip our schools with student technology in Health and Physical Education. By utlilizing the CARES Act funds, our division was able to expedite the process of purchasing that equipment.” explains Adam Otstot.
Tip #5: Don’t wait. Go “ask” now and make the wish list come true now.
“The free money made it possible to purchase Heart Zones Smart Class Packs and Apple iPads for all secondary schools to support the Virginia Physical Education Standards of Learning. I also wanted to support the implementation of the “Step Challenge” that is part of the wellness related fitness assessments from Focused Fitness,” shares coordinator Adam Otstot.
Tip #6. Ask for everything that you want including tablets and software applications.
“When Covid-19 hit and I heard about the CARES Act I said to myself, “I am going to explore how these funds can be used to strengthen Health and Physical Education instruction in Hanover County. I have an incredibly supportive administrative staff. They saw my vision, and they were happy to allocate some of the CARES Act funds for Health and Physical Education. Each school received the equipment they needed to offer an equitable experience to all of their students.” further explains Adam.
Tip #7. It doesn’t hurt to try. It hurts not to try.
“I reached out to my teachers asking them, “What are your most pressing needs?” I listened to all of the department chairs, made the list, gathered quotes, and created the purchasing orders.” shares Health and PE curriculum specialist Adam Otstot.
Tip #8. Ask now, succeed, and use the equipment and PD long into the future.
“Although COVID-19 has presented numerous challenges this year for schools, framing the challenge in a new lens, and looking at it as an opportunity has helped me secure new equipment to help teachers and students learn not only this year, but hopefully for many years to come in Hanover County,” further explains Adam Otstot as he truly wants to share his experience with others in need.
Heart Zones provides technology, professional development, and instructional materials developed, designed, and managed for schools by physical education and health teachers and coaches. Visit or reach out to Heart Zones: https://www.heartzones.com or email Staff@heartzones.com
To Learn More – Recommended Resources:
Heart Zones Cares and the CARES Act: List of Articles
Part 1. Free and Quick Money for PE and Health Teachers:
Part 2. ASK – Ask your Principal, your Facility Supervisor, your Purchasing Department
Part 3. The Story: How did a District Use CARES Act Money to Purchase Physical Education Technology?
Part 4. FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Emergency Dollars