Best Practices

Published on October 29th, 2014 | by Catherine Vowell, MBA


Prioritize Goal Setting and BIG Changes Can Happen

When teachers show students how to set and track health-related goals, they empower children to take control of their own health. This is one of the most important pieces of a Quality Physical Education (QPE) Curriculum. Activities in PE class get students moving, but teaching kids how to set goals and prioritize them is long lasting!

Our FITNESSGRAM10 team regularly hears student success stories from teachers who are actively promoting goal setting in the classroom. Last school year, one student set a S.M.A.R.T. goal to run one mile in 10 minutes by the springtime FITNESSGRAM assessment. After just two months of practicing and monitoring her daily aerobic activity, she ran a mile in 9:57 minutes! Success stories like this are frequent and proof that goal setting is an integral piece of QPE.

Prioritize student goal setting at your school:

We’d love to hear from you! Please share your student success stories and any games/activities you use in PE to integrate goal setting. With S.M.A.R.T. goals, you have the power to make a big difference in children’s lives.

About the Author

FITNESSGRAM Director, The Cooper Institute® Catherine directs and supervises the operations and management of the FITNESSGRAM/ACTIVITYGRAM Program and the Cooper International Fitness Test. Catherine also works with the FITNESSGRAM Scientific Advisory Board, an esteemed group of experts specializing in tests and measurements, kinesiology, behavioral science, and other pediatric disciplines, to ensure a solid scientific foundation for all aspects of programming. Prior to coming to The Cooper Institute, Catherine worked for the El Paso Independent School District as the Coordinator of Health and Physical Education. During her tenure with EPISD, Catherine developed and implemented an array of health and wellness initiatives to improve the health of her school communities. Catherine holds several physical education and health certifications and has presented at numerous health and physical education conferences. She has an MBA in International Business and a BS in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Catherine is a member of the Society of Health and Physical Educators of America (SHAPE America), American School Health Association (ASHA), and ASCD.

2 Responses to Prioritize Goal Setting and BIG Changes Can Happen

  1. My district would like to have an “expert” come in on a professional development day on fitness gram. We feel like we are not using fitness gram to its fullest compacity. Please help. My school district is in Watertown, WI.
    Thank you,
    Amy Grotenhuis

    • Hi, Amy Grotenhuis. Thank you for your interest in using FITNESSGRAM to help track student fitness levels at your schools. Please email us directly at so that we can provide you each with accurate information on the onsite and in-person training option. We also have wonderful online training options available that we can tell you more about.

      Additional free resources are available through the Presidential Youth Fitness Program website. Teaching tools and access to our basic online FITNESSGRAM course can be found at:

      Thank you again for your interest. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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