MAESA Matters July 2018
Summer is a time for exploration whether literally taking an adventure or challenging yourself from within. It is also a season for "hellos" and "goodbyes". So it is that we thank our retiring Board of Governors members and welcome our new class of governors. We are grateful for the years of service given by Ms. Julia Berry, Head of School, St. Columba's Nursery School, Washington D.C.; Dr. Caroline Chapin, Head of School Christ Episcopal School, Rockville, MD; Mr. Tom Stevens, Head of School, St. John's Episcopal School, Olney MD; The Rev. Preston Hannibal, Washington National Cathedral.
We wel come the MAESA Board: Ms. Rachael A. Flores Director of Diversity & Multicultural Education, National Cathedral School, Washington, D.C.; The Rev. Betsy C. Gonzalez, Head Chaplain, Episcopal High School, Alexandria, VA; Ms. Susan Bond Kearney Asst. Head of School for Academics & Innovation, St. Paul’s School, Brooklandville, MD; Jul Lee Martensson Director of the Program for Young Children, St. Anne’s School of Annapolis, Annapolis, MD.

Join or Renew your membership in MAESA by August 31st for the 2018-2019 school year. Membership renewal letters were mailed on July 2 to your school. If you wish to renew by mail, complete the form and mail a dues check to us at MAESA. If you wish to renew on-line you may pay your dues on our Membership page. Your support through membership dues is appreciated and essential to our programming, thank you.

RSVP to the MAESA Members' Meeting & Luncheon September 21, 2018 with keynote speaker Mr. Rodney Glasgow, Head of Middle School and Chief Diversity Officer at St. Andrew's Episcopal School , Potomac, MD. This meeting is for our schools' leadership teams: heads of school, chaplains, directors of admissions, advancement, diversity, school's board members, senior staff and directors. A networking luncheon with affinity group tables will follow the meeting and offer a chance for school professionals to network with one another. Please e-mail Katherine Murphy maesaschools@gmail.com to confirm your attendance on Sept. 21, 2018.

In this month's feature "Why I Teach in an Episcopal School " we hear from Ms. Julia Berry, Head of School at St. Columba's Nursery School in Washington, D.C. as she shares how our understanding of faith and nature unfold for young children. Then learn about the chapel program and its role in the formation of high school aged students at St. Andrew's School, DE. 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.
2018-2019 MAESA Event Dates
Mark Your School Calendar
September 21, 2018 MAESA Member's Meeting at St. Andrew's Episcopal School. Our keynote speaker is 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. RSVP with your attendance to maesaschools@gmail.com

Episcopal Schools Day Service October 10, 2018 hosted by Beauvoir The National Cathedral Elementary School held at Washington National Cathedral

Richmond Episcopal Schools Day Service October 17, 2018 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Richmond and hosted in partnership with St. Catherine's School.

MAESA Early Childhood Conference October 26, 2018 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. Registration forms will be available in August.

MAESA Choral Evensong February 10, 2019 at Washington National Cathedral hosted with St. Albans School and National Cathedral School .

MAESA Scholars Fair April 26, 2019 at National Cathedral School for Girls
"Why I Teach in an Episcopal School"
St. Columba's Nursery School
Washington, D.C.
Written by Julia Berry, Head of School and retiring MAESA Board Member
I’ve never not taught in an Episcopal school, so I can only imagine how hard it must be for our public-school colleagues to squelch questions from students about God and heaven, life and death, and other weighty things. What a gift it is to have the freedom to speak of spiritual things when children ask! The sudden death of one of our hens a while back was just such an opportunity.
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”    ~A Child’s Prayer

"We’ve had a visit from the grim reaper this week," I tell the children. One of our young hens, Spooky, was caught by a neighborhood dog late Wednesday afternoon and killed. On Thursday morning I conducted viewings of her beautiful feathered body, listening to comments and answering questions. Here’s a sampling:
“Do her chicken friends know she’s dead?”
“Is her blood still in her?”
“If your bones are still in you when you’re dead, you can move.”
“Is she in heaven with God?”
“Will she wake up later?”
“Were you sad when it happened?”
“What is heaven?”
And even , “Now we could roast her.”

You might wonder why I’d would choose to draw attention Spooky’s death when I know that most of the children wouldn’t notice her absence for weeks, if at all. Didn’t I worry about making children fearful or sad? What are the answers to the unanswerable questions they ask?
An important part of our work at the nursery school is giving children appropriately scaled life experiences that help them practice things that are, for most of us, hard to do—public speaking (sharing at Circle), standing up for your rights (“It’s still my turn on the taxi bike!”), and expressing anger, disappointment, and sadness in appropriate ways. These are rehearsals for life.
“Dying is part of living,” is what I tell kids when they ask me why something died. It happens to bugs, mice, germs, elephants, plants, and even people. It’s part of God’s plan for how the world works. What is heaven? I say I am not sure, but I think it is where we were before we were born and it’s where we go after we die—somewhere close to where God is. 
The rest of the questions are not as difficult to answer. No, you can't move your bones if you’re dead. Yes, the blood is still inside the chicken. No, once you die, you don’t wake up again. Yes, I feel sad, but I am also glad to have known Spooky, have tasted her delicious eggs, and that I can always remember her. And, yes, we could roast her…but we won’t.

At Chapel the next morning, I read Tough Boris , about a truly terrible pirate who cries when his parrot dies. Then we went outside to bury Spooky and put a stone and flowers on her grave.

P.S. The following autumn a classmate of one of our recent “graduates” died during surgery. Of limited language ability, his mother was struggling to explain to him what had happened to his friend. Quite to her surprise, he looked up at her and asked, “Like Spooky?” I received a wonderful letter expressing her thanks the following day. She said she’d be forever grateful to us for taking the time to teach children about death and dying at the nursery school.
"Spread The Word"...news from our schools

Chapel Program, St. Andrew’s School, Middletown, DE
Written by The Rev. David DeSalvo

“Our rituals and practices do form some of the most lasting memories in the hearts and minds of our students.”

The Episcopal Church is one that embraces diversity and welcomes all. This does not mean that we are unfocused or vague about our beliefs. But it does mean that we are enriched by our diversity and we seek to include differences in culture and religiosity in our conversation about what it means to be a school with a religious identity.
Two goals of a chapel program, as I view them, are: (1) that students of all backgrounds gain insight by being exposed to a particular tradition that has integrity; (2) The Episcopal Church’s deep commitment to scripture, tradition and reason can inform and support young people about their own belief system.
I believe that our chapel programs are more than the services we lead during a given week or the observance of the important rituals of the church year. Our rituals and practices do form some of the most lasting memories in the hearts and minds of our students, and, over and over again, alumni return to tell us: “don’t ever change chapel!” While they are quick to admit they didn’t always like waking up on Sunday mornings, they look back from the absence of ritual and community in the world beyond school, to say they really miss the peace and power of being in chapel, “a community gathered,” on a regular basis.
Furthermore, students who take an active role in chapel as choir members, acolytes, Eucharistic ministers, ushers, sacristans and Sunday School teachers become change-makers in their communities. As active participants in chapel programs at school, they begin to feel the stirrings of community service as they hear the messages and stories told by the faculty or clergy in homilies, chapel talks and the Gospel messages on Sundays. Hearing a teacher they admire and respect tell about his or her struggle through a crisis or challenge—those personal accounts resonate with young people and go a long way towards forming their willingness to engage rather than shrink from their own challenges.
Finally, Episcopal schools believe that the Church school is a community. Our schools are not here to convert anybody or to dictate what others should believe. At the same time, we do emphasize the value of regular gatherings of the community to pray for one another and the world and to pursue a mission of promoting justice, peace and love, locally and globally. The example we follow is that of Jesus, who teaches us that God is not about sin and death but is about love and abundant life. That’s what chapel is really about—outward and visible signs of loving and being loved by God and loving your neighbor as yourself.
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director