Originally published Dec. 1, 2020 by the Los Angeles Times.
By Paloma Esquivel, Julia Barajas, Laura Newberry
Alfredo Crossman-Chávez Jr. is a problem solver — and this physical education teacher and athletic director at KIPP Corazón Academy has plenty of challenges that have nothing to do with sit-ups.
How does he teach hand-eye coordination when his kids don’t have the right equipment at home? Crunch paper into balls. How does he deal with bad internet connections when so much of their exercise needs to take place outside twice a week? Record four sessions, doubling students’ chances to log on.
Crossman-Chávez finds ways to meet students where they want to be — and it’s not on Zoom.
He and a colleague at the South Gate school make strategic use of social media. There’s the “KCA Upper School P.E.” YouTube channel with yoga and high-intensity exercises. He launched the “kippcorazon_athletics” Instagram page, where he livestreams teacher vs. student athletic challenges that sometimes culminate with him drenched in ice water.
Determined to launch a cross-country team, he used Zoom, Google Classroom and the Nike Run Club App to virtually train and keep track of the runners’ progress.
“Coach Chávez is always pushing, always wants the best from us,” said seventh-grader Nathan Rodarte, who is team captain.
Among his other teaching duties? Crossman-Chávez guides students through nutritious meal preparation. And for fun he hosts the “Anime Club,” because the biggest problem he’s solving is to keep isolated adolescents engaged.
“This can’t be all work — especially not on the computer,” he said.