PALMDALE — Adaptive PE teachers work with students who, due to medical or physical problems, are not always able to participate in activities that most students take for granted.
Teachers help ensure that students with balance, movement, and disabilities receive exercise that matches their ability.
Over the past three years, Craig Nystrom and other Adaptive PE teachers have worked to provide a special visitor to their students.
Adaptive PE teachers are itinerant teachers who are not assigned to a specific location and go to their students.
“I have the opportunity to interact with students and staff from multiple campuses,” says Nystrom. “We understand the desire of teachers and administrators to help their students. This Santa Claus project was born out of conversations with many caring and motivated professionals.”
Many students are unable to visit Santa at stores or other venues due to a variety of issues, such as being overstimulated by crowds and noise.
For others, there are transportation issues, exposure risks, time schedules, and medications that conflict with Santa’s visits. increase. Some of his students had autism, others had orthopedic problems, but they all had big smiles for Santa.
Nystrom has played Santa in Buena Vista Special Education holiday performances for several years and has officially visited 450 students on campus and classrooms over the past three years.
Ages range from 3 to 14 years old. For parents whose students aren’t on the school campus, Nystrom has created “Santa’s Office Hours” for parents to bring their kids to her Vista School in Buena to meet and greet Santa.
During their visit, students will have the opportunity to be kids like everyone else. He also encouraged his students to read new books to his parents, siblings, and even pets.
For the past few years, teachers and administrators have purchased gifts for their students. This year, Nystrom applied for teacher grants from her Palmdale School District Foundation and received donations from the Antelope Valley Rotary Club. This allowed Nystrom to purchase books at the appropriate reading level for each student.
Nystrom has been a teacher in the Palmdale School District for 33 years. He has been teaching physical education at the middle school level for his 23 years and has been an adaptive physical education teacher for the past 10 years.
“This Santa project is teamwork,” he said. “Other APE teachers, school administrators and staff, donors, parents, students. Everyone makes this project work.”