Sean McCue is a high school PE teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He is best known in the CrossFit Kids community for the success he had with Buff Class. Sean is a charter member of the CrossFit Kids Educator Support Committee. Below is a Q&A with him on becoming a CrossFit Kids Affiliate.
Were you a CrossFitter and decided to implement CrossFit Kids or did you just see the benefits of CrossFit Kids without any exposure to CrossFit Kids?
I found CrossFit in 2006 and immediately began implementing some of the concepts into my general PE classes. I continued to learn more about CrossfFit and took my Level 1 course in Apr 2008 and then CrossFit Kidsin Jan 2009.
Did you approach your administrator (school, principal, etc.) before attending a CrossFit and/or CrossFit Kids Course?
I just had to get permission for PE funds to be released for the trainings. The PE department had a large grant for equipment and professional development from the state that was sitting unused so I used it. The principal didn’t really pay too much attention to my request other than to sign of on it.
How did you approach your administrator (school, principal, etc.) with your idea of implementing CrossFit Kids as PE?
Initially I didn’t propose anything, I just kept adding the concepts into my general PE classes. Administrators were happy to see the students highly active in my classes and didn’t question what I was doing. They just said keep up the good work.
When I did propose a CrossFit/weight training class it was as an elective class for 11-12 graders who wanted to continue taking PE but not have to repeat the classes they already passed. My school had a dearth of electives for students so it was proposed as a way to get kids engaged at school and offer them another way to earn credits instead of as an office helper or TA.
What was the initial response to this proposal?
The initial response was one of interest but uncertainty. Where would the class be held? Where would the equipment come from? Would there be enough interest? Would I have one less general PE class or would they have to pay me for an extra period?
How did you address those concerns?
I had already scouted out a room on campus that was currently used for storing junk. It was the old wood shop so there was lots of room (close to 4000sqft). I arranged with a supportive assistant principal to have the old shop machines removed and I did the rest of the work cleaning up the space. The equipment would come from the grant money ~ $20,000. As for interest, I pre-signed up over 50 students who wanted to enroll in the course. I agreed to have larger sized PE classes in exchange for the CrossFit Kidsclass.
Were there additional school or administrative hurdles that presented themselves?
There were loads of hurdles that presented themselves in the process. An administrator stole some of the equipment money. After spending 20+ hours getting the room ready I was told it was not an “instructional space” and I wasn’t
able to use it. The following semester it was given to the football team as a new team room. In subsequent years I had to fight to keep the class on the schedule because the Assistant principal didn’t like PE or athletics
How did you overcome these added issues?
We moved our stuff into the old football team room. As for getting the class on the schedule I had to go over the AP’s head to the principal and get the interested students to pester the Administration to reinstate the class.
Were there any issues in getting CFL1, CrossFit Kids Courses completed?
None other than getting them paid for. My district moves verrrrrrry slowly so it was always wait, wait, wait and then rush to get it paid before the registration was cancelled.
Describe the affiliation process.
The first time I tried affiliating I had to rescind it because of insurance issues, we couldn’t add CrossFit Inc onto the district insurance because they self insure.
The second time I just purchased an insurance plan through the RRG as a trainer and that was sufficient.
How long did it take to go from the initial proposal to a CrossFit Kids class up and running in your school?
It seemed like forever and it is taking a long time at my new school as well.
What equipment did you begin your program with?
In my general PE classes I started with nothing. Everything was bodyweight, campus benches were used for stepups, box jumps and dips. Later I purchased a class set of PVC for about $40. When the dedicated class was started we had a large number of dumbbells, lots of 10’s, 12’s, 15’s and 20’s. I used the set of PVC I had previously purchased as well. We used the overhanging bars on the chain link fence gates for pullups and the bleachers in the bleachers for box jumps.
How long has your program been running? What grades? Level of implementation (class, school, district…)
My program has been running off and on officially since 2009 at the high school level. General PE classes are 9-10 and the elective course was designed for 11-12 graders but I allowed a few 9th and 10th graders in who had the maturity level to handle the instruction.
What improvements (equipment or program) are you looking to make in the next 1-2 years?
I’m looking to completely outfit the new weight room at my new school with pullup/squat rigs, Oly bars and bumper plates, rings, boxes, rowers and some sleds. Med balls, sandbags and some GHD’s are on the list too as well as a
couple of sets of monkey bars for outside.