When Stephen Ford starting working as a P.E. teacher 10 years ago at Farmersville High School, he began to notice an interesting correlation. Students who were more physically fit often had higher grade point averages than those who were not as active.
After seven years at the high school, Ford worked at an elementary school for one year, before working at Farmersville Junior High School, where he currently works as a P.E. teacher. During that time, he was gathering information and coming up with a study on the connection between physical fitness and grades. Through all his research, Ford has come to an obvious conclusion. “Science shows that when we are physically fit, our brains work better” said Ford.
In his research, Ford assessed students on anthropometry measurements, speed, agility, power, strength, endurance, flexibility, anaerobic capacity, aerobic capacity, and grade point average. According to a data abstract presented by Ford, “It was determined that those students that were ranked in the top 20th percentile had a higher average GPA than those in any other percentile ‘bands’. Stephen Ford “physical education teachers are in a unique position to influence both their students’ health and academic performance.”
For several years, Ford meticulously entered all the information he had been gathering into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. After this became tiresome, Ford took his data to an app developer who created the app Movere Fit, which became available in the app store in April this year. According to Ford, he got the name from the Latin word “movere,” meaning “to move.
At the same time, Ford created a web site at moverefit.com that gives more information on the app. As the web site explains, the app was created for four purposes: data collection, project-based learning, obesity awareness, and a fitness tool. According to the web site, MovereFit also “ranks athletes using a comprehensive point system.” That point system is also used to rank teams and classes to get in on the fun. The system automatically calculates a letter grade for your student athlete. It goes on to explain that “physical education teachers are in a unique position to influence both their students’ health and academic performance.”
Ford says that the app is mainly geared toward teachers and parents right now. But in the future, he hopes to develop a version where students can keep track of their own fitness scores and upload their own information. Ford also clarified that MovereFit is still in beta testing stages at this time. "This app is also helpful for keeping track of state-required testing, in order to make sure students meet the state standards." Ford uses the app regularly in his P.E. classes, and often holds class competitions for various fitness tests, which Ford said “kids get really excited about.” This app is also helpful for keeping track of state-required testing, in order to make sure students meet the state standards. Being at the junior high school, Ford has the unique
opportunity to influence students at a younger age, and to keep track of their scores during high school. This way students have an analysis of their progress over several years.
The school district has been extremely supportive of Ford’s new program, with Dr. Dago Garcia, principal at Farmersville Junior High School, explaining that he is backing the program one hundred percent. Ford explained that the school district has purchased $15,000 worth of equipment for the junior high school. Ford was also given
an empty room on the campus where he created a brand new fitness lab, which now features high-tech equipment used for all sorts of fitness tests.
Ford has already seen great improvement in both the fitness and grades of his students, and he hopes that other school districts will adopt similar programs. According to Ford’s web site, he hopes that this “system will play a role in establishing mental and physical vigor for our students in the 21st century.