Newly released Fitnessgram scores show significant improvement district wide.
Passing the California Physical Fitness Test, also known as the Fitnessgram, has been a challenge for many students in the Sweetwater Union High School District. However, newly released data from the California Department of Education shows that students have made significant improvements among both 7th and 9th graders.
The new data shows the percentage of high school freshmen passing the state-mandated Fitnessgram test has risen from a pass rate of 58 % to over 75%. Seventh graders increased from 58% to just over 64%. Also showing significant improvement were Hispanic students who account for 73% of all students in the district. Hispanic 7th graders went from a passing rate of nearly 56% to 63%. Hispanic 9th graders increased from 55% passing to over 72%.
HTH Stretching:Dr. Kim Butler prepares her Fit for Life class with a series of stretching exercises
To pass the Fitnessgram, students must score in the "Healthy Fitness Zone" in at least five of six tests that measure aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extensor strength, upper body strength and flexibility.
Among all students in the district, 7th graders showed an increase in four of the six categories including a dramatic increase in students who were in the Healthy Fitness Zone for aerobic capacity from nearly 60% in 2007-2008 to over 75% in 2008-2009.
Ninth graders showed increases in all six categories, including significant increases of over 10% in three of the six categories - aerobic capacity, upper body strength and flexibility.
Much of this success has been attributed to a change in the way health and physical fitness classes are taught in the district. Ninth grade physical education and 10th grade "Fit for Life" classes have replaced the emphasis on traditional team sports, athletic ability and competition with a focus on personal health and fitness goals.
HTH Running:Hilltop High students warming up for class with a jog around the gymnasium
In addition, Sweetwater recently received a three-year grant of over $1.1 million from the US Department of Education to improve physical education. The grant will take the emphasis on fitness goals to a new level by integrating technology into classes and purchasing Body Buggs for students. These devices help students achieve their goals by tracking their individual caloric intakes and expenditures and tracking them electronically throughout the school year.
"We are proud of not only our students for their dedication to improving their physical fitness, but to our staff who have worked tirelessly the last few years to make this happen." said Board President Jim Cartmill. "This is a team effort and we know that it's only a first step to ensuring students in our district lead healthy and productive lives."
Additional information about the California Physical Fitness Test can be found at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pftresults.asp