LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Educators say the wrist monitors some Lincoln middle school students are wearing are reinforcing the children's efforts to get fit.

Lincoln Public Schools bought monitors for all middle schools using a combination of grant and district money. The monitors are up and running in nine of the schools, the Lincoln Journal Star reported .

"The students just love that we have technology in the classroom," said Tanner White, a physical education teacher at Schoo Middle School. "We have every single P.E. class wearing one. We get a real ear to the ground on how students are doing."

The wrist monitors allows students to see for themselves the level of exertion it takes to keep their heart rate up, reinforcing the work they're doing.

"What it does is reward the kids that maybe aren't that skilled, but if they're working hard, it's reinforcing their effort," said Matt Avey, physical education curriculum specialist for the district.

District officials said the point of the monitors is to encourage children to be active.

Increasing physical activity at the district is a cause Dr. Bob Rauner has championed for years. Rauner is the president of the Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln.

Rauner's research shows a link between fitness levels and academic success. He said that a higher percentage of students who pass the district fitness tests are proficient on statewide tests in math, reading and science. Some of the best success in fitness has been at the middle school level.

Fitness rates for middle school students increased nearly 12 percentage points between 2011-12 and 2016-17, according to Rauner's data. That compares to just a just above 1 percentage point increase for fourth- and fifth-graders during the same time period.

Rauner said the trends are encouraging.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com