Excerpts from Colorado Springs Rotary Meeting
on January 15, 2021
Sharing student benefits of The ACE Project
"I am writing this letter of reference for Charmas Lee. Charmas worked as a structured mentor/teacher for a cohort of African American males at North Middle School. During this time Charmas focused on essential adaptive skills essential to academic and social success in and out of the school setting. His skills are extraordinary and success evident (e.g. the growth on the CMAS assessment of the African American cohort at North Middle School surpassed all other groups including the Gifted and Talented population).
The process Charmas utilizes can be summarized in two words: grit and resiliency. His programming hones in on building essential skills; a process through which students develop a cognitive strategic plan that breaks larger issues into smaller more manageable ones. The focus on grit/resiliency affords his students the opportunity to internalize both problem solving skills and cognitive flexibility-skills essential to overcoming impediments and success in the 21st century.
So with the aforementioned testimonial, I can strongly recommend his programming."
Chris Kilroy, Principal
North Middle School
"In the one year I’ve been with these kids there a few that stand out to me. There were students throwing punches, chairs, and anything they could get their hands on. Their ability for self-regulation was non-existent. This year those same students still have challenges but have drastically improved their ability to control their anger. They breathe, they think, they use strategies and they better communicate their feelings and what they are struggling with. They are starting to believe in themselves like we believe in them. It’s a process but it’s begun and I’m super proud of them."
-Elaina Richardson, TLC
"I find ACE to be a valuable resource for the school and especially my class. The students look forward to Mr. and Mrs. Lee’s lessons and visits. My students are retaining the skills and information the Lee's convey. I personally find their involvement with the Adams community uplifting and motivating for myself as well as my class. Their motivational tools like THINK SAY DO and WIN (what’s important now) are assets to our staff and students. They are quick reminders, as well as motivators that grab the students attention and focus."
-Trevor Burnley, 5th Grade Teacher
"We are in our second year of the Ace Program at John Adams Elementary. Last year it was for a small group of students, but now Coach Lee has brought it to the masses. One thing I really like is, that what Coach Lee teaches, we can expand on in our class. A main teaching point that Ace has brought is “Think, Say, Do”. We have reinforced that when we made our vision boards for the new year. The students thought about their dreams and goals for life and for school (THINK), and then spoke them out loud in the form of a vision board (SAY). We also talked about steps to take to achieve those dreams which will help them succeed (DO)."
-Kim Devilbiss, 5th Grade Teacher
"I love his program and the two of them!! His energy and motivation is contagious and great for kids of all ages!
-Clare Mihalko, 4th Grade Teacher
The ACE program with Charmas and Janice supports what we are doing here at Adams and what we are hoping to accomplish with our students. ACE, CKH, and PBIS all support the extensive need of our population. I know the kids are gaining real world skills that will help them not only in school but in life. Charmas has been where these kids are and is living proof that we are not the sum of our DNA. He gives these kids hope for a better life. I would love to have more time with the Lees and see them more regularly. My hope is that they could provide boot camps for kids, field trips to training sessions, and be more interwoven in their life outside of the school walls."
"We absolutely love ACE. The energy Charmas and Janice bring to this school is contagious. The kids ask for him to come in and look forward to their time with him. He brings something different and special to these kids that they relate to. He gets them and cares for them in a real tangible way. I have used some of the Think Say Do strategies in various situations. In an ideal setting we would have more of this program, more working in small groups, more in-depth work for our high flyer kids, more time and more consistency. We are so fortunate to have this for our kids and I absolutely value what the Lee’s are doing here at Adams."
"Mr. and Mrs. Lee did an excellent job engaging the students with practical everyday lessons that the students could use immediately. The brilliance was that while they are daily lessons for the kids, they are helping to set them up for long term success as well. It was a well- designed unit and age appropriate. I saw students who would not consider themselves to be good at learning, paying attention and working."
7th Grade Math North MS