MAESA Matters January 2018

Happy New Year! Welcome to the January edition of MAESA Matters. Please note our 2018 events below , and mark your school calendars to attend them.
This month we hear from middle school teacher Ms. Nicole Stone featured in "Why I teach in an Episcopal school." Ms. Stone shares her experiences at Christ Episcopal School, in Rockville, Md. Next learn about what Christ Church Episcopal Preschool in Greenville, DE is doing to engage both parents and faculty in their worship community in Spread the Word.
We'd love to feature one of your faculty members or a school activity in MAESA Matters. Contact us to be included.
2018 MAESA Event Dates
Mark Your School Calendar
February 11, 2018 4p.m. MAESA Choral Evensong Washington National Cathedral. MAESA welcomes nearly 400 upper school students joining with the Cathedral Choir for this service. MAESA is pleased to have The Rev. Betsy C. Gonzalez of Episcopal High School as our preacher. The repertoire has been sent to member schools. Stay tuned for details about the arrival and rehearsal times for choristers. Contact us if you require more information.

April 27, 2018, MAESA Scholars Fair at National Cathedral School. Registration and event details will be sent to elementary and MS contacts in February.

September 21, 2018 MAESA Member's Meeting at St. Andrew's Episcopal School. Our keynote speaker will be Rodney Glasgow, Head of Middle School and Chief Diversity Officer at St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Potomac, MD. Join us to hear about creating meaningful diversity and inclusion programs in your school.

October 26, 2018 MAESA Early Childhood Conference at St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School lower school campus in Alexandria, VA. MAESA's 2018 conference features teacher-to-teacher workshops for our early childhood educators. MAESA schools have a wealth of talent among the faculty. Please consider asking your faculty members to propose a workshop for the conference.
"Why I Teach in an Episcopal School"

By Ms. Nicole Stone, Middle School English & Social Studies
Christ Episcopal School, Rockville, MD

As I arrived at Christ Episcopal School for my first day of teaching, I didn’t know what to expect. I had just moved back to the U.S. after spending nine years in London, England, where I taught middle school at a large, private, American school that catered to competitive and wealthy expats. I had never taught at an Episcopal school and I was grateful to my new head, Dr. Caroline Chapin, for taking a chance on me based on a Skype interview from abroad and some strong references. Walking into the school for the first time, I was immediately surrounded by a chorus of welcomes, bright smiles, and kind words. I knew instantly that this was the right place for my family and me.
Three and a half years later, I have learned what it means to teach at an Episcopal school. The first word that springs to mind for me is ‘community’. Never before have I been a part of such a warm, caring, and supportive community of teachers, parents, and students. I see the basic tenets of our character program woven throughout the school environment -- respect, patience, kindness, cooperation, and more. This character building program is one of the pillars of the Episcopal schools’ mission, and day-to-day when I see these young students choosing the right path, I feel the pride of having helped shaped these minds and spirits as part of this wonderful mission. I know that as they face moral and ethical challenges in their later education and as adults, the solid foundation our Episcopal school has cemented in them will positively influence their choices in life. I am honored to have played a small part in that future adult’s formation.
A second integral piece that forms the Episcopal school experience is the holistic education we offer the child. While academic rigors are always emphasized and recognized in the student, I have found that our school fosters additional traits such as a service to others, respect for and love of God, passion for the arts, and most especially the celebration of each student’s unique worth. In the classroom, I strive to reach each student individually, our curriculum allowing me the flexibility of teaching in the ways that I find best inspires my students. My professional abilities are respected and encouraged such that I can create a true learning environment in the classroom, one that provides varied interactive lessons including occasional digressions driven by the students’ own intellectual curiosities. With a team of similar-minded professionals around me, we create a learning sphere that ignites passion in all of the disciplines -- service, music, art, history, math, English, athletics, and more. That is the true Episcopal educational formation.
Finally, as a contrast to our currently divisive and judgmental society, our school demonstrates the Episcopal educational mission of respecting the dignity of every human regardless of background or beliefs. We are truly inclusive, and we foster that love of justice, peace, and grace. Our middle school sports program invites every student to participate regardless of ability, which encourages true camaraderie on the teams and allows for each student to feel the thrill of sports competition without the fear of ridicule. Our middle school musical is also wholly inclusive of the students, so that each may feel the excitement of stage performance in a warmly accepting and supporting environment. Many times, a student may discover a new interest that otherwise may have never been found without this opportunity. We learn through these experiences that God is in each one of us, and we must respect the beauty he has created in every person.
As our students progress through each grade, we hope that the Episcopal foundation we have laid for them will provide the strength and guidance for them in their life’s path. My aspiration is that they will lead positive change and show courage in the face of resistance because of what they learned while within our community. Again, I see this as a crucial antidote to our increasingly fractured and divisive national dialogue, or even as an important cultural nuance for an ever more digitally-connected planet. At Christ Episcopal School, we ultimately strive to blend traditional morals, intellectual curiosity, and modern sensibilities to create model citizens and change leaders for our society. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” 

"Spread The Word"...news from our schools
Christ Church Episcopal Preschool
Greenville, DE
    At Christ Church Episcopal Preschool (CCEP), we take our mission statement seriously, and continually measure ourselves against the goals expressed therein. In particular, we work hard to “create community among families, school, and church.” We are blessed with an amazing community of families who support one another, volunteer readily in the school and in its outreach efforts, and enjoy sharing time with each other. We recognize that such communities do not happen by accident, so we cherish and nurture not only our current family community, but also the larger community of alumni families, parishioners, and faculty members. 

Parents are regularly part of our weekly chapel services, and turn out in great numbers for “Family Chapel” on the first Tuesday of each month. We welcome parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends to sit among the preschool children and participate in the songs and prayers, which they do enthusiastically. Parenting classes are offered a few times each year—in the morning right after drop-off, or in the evening in the home of one family or another. 

Faculty Chapel is part of most in-service days and the teachers provide input into the kind of chapel experience that is meaningful for them. Often, it is just quiet time with candles available to light and place on the altar, with some meditative reading provided. Sometimes it is an opportunity to share “pows and wows” (“what’s going great in my life right now, and what I’m finding challenging”). 

Faculty lunches or happy hour a few times each year are strictly social times, but allow us the opportunity to break bread and share stories in a way that is hard to accomplish in the rush of a regular school day. Likewise, we have social times for parents, such as “Moms’ Night Out” or a “Nine Holes Anywhere” afternoon. 

The communities formed in the classrooms with teachers and students are filled with fun, love, and learning, of course, but by also focusing on our adult communities, we are able to build strong and lasting connections that are still enjoyed by families and faculty members who may have left our school a decade ago. We are grateful for each other and our shared love for CCEP. 
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director