Under the SurfACE

Diving deep into all things gifted

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October 21, 2020

Mask your face, not your personality.

Author: Adia Dawn, MA, NCSP Director of Counseling & Assessments

Click the photo to find the most comfortable masks

Wear Masks That You Love, Masks That Show The World A Little Bit About Who You Are Inside

Let's face it, we don't know how long wearing masks is going to be our new normal. Why not get excited to wear your mask?

Here are 3 things to think about when choosing a mask to love.


Does it fit your child's face and around their ears without falling down? Think about what it's made of, choose cotton and natural materials if you can. Avoid polyester if possible, as cotton is much better for our environment and your child's developing body.


Consider the texture and the material of your child's masks. A soft mask that they can wear for a long duration will help them manage to keep it on. Different kinds of fabric have different levels of sustainability. Cotton is generally more environmentally friendly than synthetic fabrics. Think about the pattern of the masks you or your children choose. You can find beautiful fabric masks in patterns and colors that can help your child express themselves.


The mask you wear can show others a little bit of your personality. This can be especially nice for children interacting and connecting. Allowing children to tell a story through their mask will create an emotional connection to it, leaving them more likely to take care of it and wear it proud. So grab some iron on patches and have a little fun! Or make a tie die project with some white cloths masks!

Start with soft colorful masks

Then iron a on patch or two and let your personality shine! Now you're ready to wear your mask with confidence and pride every day. Keeping a mask on all day can be hard, but this can make it a little easier.

Click on the photos above to link to the best face masks and get your own personalized patches.

October 21, 2020

Social Dilemma: How is ACE Connecting the Dots?

Author: Tabitha Molett M.Ed, MRT, Gifted Endorsed Head of School

After I hosted a Virtual Coffee with our parent community, the topic of screen addiction came up. One parent suggested the movie, Social Dilemma (Netflix), and they inquired how we, as a community, are connecting the dots for our students.

While I do think all parents should view this documentary and decide for themselves if they want to watch this with their child and discuss it afterwards, it sparked an idea for me based on the question asked:

How is ACE connecting the dots?

As difficult as parents find it to monitor Internet / social media challenges, teachers and schools also struggle with this balance. Below are the top 10 ways ACE addresses the big topic of Internet addiction and connects the dots for our students. Many are in foundational ways, and while on the surface they may not seem to directly correlate in actuality they provide the exact independent thinking skills that are needed in this new digital age.

10. Study Skills Elective: This elective can provide time at school for students to work through homework and projects in order to give them time after school for more physical and screen-free extracurriculars (e.g. baseball, soccer, or violin practice). Finding ways for students to close the screens when the school day ends is a wonderful way to teach balance.

9. The ACE Math Approach:Teaching students to respectfully agree and disagree or appropriately challenge / question their peers is not always easy. In this digital age, students fall prey to accepting information blindly, so to counter that we need to teach them how to question and forge their own path in life. The approach we use in math sets the foundation for students to apply this skill to all aspects of their life.

8. Working with our counselor: We are lucky to have a counselor on faculty who understands both gifted and 2e students. She is available to meet and conference privately with students and also facilitate different lunch group topics: Social media challenges can be one of them.

7. Social Emotional Learning (SEL): Much of the research behind Internet addiction comes from the premise that technology can control our behaviors. So how does ACE support and encourage independent thinking? I can point to our SEL criteria. At every level, teachers weave in and evaluate SEL criteria, such as curiosity, perseverance, and relationship skills. Students who have a strong sense of self and self-efficacy can better advocate for themselves and recognize when their behaviors are destructive vs. empowering.

6. Upper school ACE X Signature Program: This program, among other things, teaches students about media literacy. Students learn what are reliable sources while investigating in depth a subject of their choice. Dedicating an entire program (a full semester) to vetting reliable sources is key in developing strong independent thinkers.

5. IPAD offerings. At any point and time, any family who has a child they think is struggling with screen addiction, can opt into our iPad program. ACE-issued iPad takes a majority of temptations away from students and allows the school to do the monitoring instead of the parents.

4. Screen free week (for 2020-21 school year: life skills week). Each year teachers work hard to develop lessons that are more or less screen-free -meaning they don’t require students to access the Internet or social media in order to do the work.

3. Collaboration - open conversations with our ACE Parent Association. Our parents are amazing and the APA is supportive. Based on this shared experience we are all in, the parents are rallying and organizing a virtual discussion for parents around the topic of online learning. Providing an open space to talk about success and struggles, what works and doesn’t work, is key to helping our students and children use technology in positive ways.

2. Cell phone parking spot / Technology expectations: Prior to COVID, students in upper school had cell phone parking so that the temptation to access their phones during class time was removed. Of course this has changed temporarily, but ACE’s technology rules are still intact. While it’s not uncommon for us to get some backlash from students who want to access technology all throughout the day, we do work to provide a nice balance.

1. Conscientious and Caring Teachers: Our teachers are at the heart of everything we do and make our school as special as it. We work hard to attract good talent and retain only the best.

I always enjoy these coffees as they spark me to connect the dots as well. Seeing how ACE goes beyond and tailors the school day for gifted learners is one of the many things that makes our school special and unique.