MAESA Matters March 2018

Welcome to this edition of MAESA Matters. During recent weeks many of our schools have engaged in hard conversations about how to be prepared for
and how to process the type of violence that occurred last month in Parkland, FL.
We’ve heard from MAESA schools’ chaplains who have ministered to middle and upper school students, and from administrators and heads of school who are in conversation with student and parent communities. It is in times like these that we are fortunate to have the language and context that are already a part of Episcopal Schools, as we navigate our way. Read about the efforts of Episcopal youth to respond to violence in the face of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in this article from the Episcopal News Service.
In this issue hear from Ms. Dale Kynoch
, third grade teacher St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Potomac, MD in "Why I teach in an Episcopal school." Ms. Kynoch shares her experience through the lens of the five Episcopal habits practiced at St. Andrew's. Next learn about how St. John's Episcopal School in Olney, Maryland fosters certain character traits among its students 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.

Finally, if you couldn't join us for the MAESA Choral Evensong last month, you can enjoy it on-line here. This was our largest gathering for Evensong yet, and our 400 students thoroughly enjoyed the added section rehearsals as part of the day. Thank you to St. Albans School and Washington National Cathedral, our gracious hosts!
MAESA 2018 Events Calendar
April 27, 2018, MAESA Scholars Fair TIME TO REGISTER MAESA is delighted that National Cathedral School will be our host this year. Registration and event details can be found here . Registration materials are due by April 12th. Fourth through eighth grade students compete and engage with one another in categories from science to art, multi media presentations and more on this exciting day. Event entry guidelines are also posted on the website. Please contact Katherine Murphy to volunteer as an event judge or include your name on the registration materials.

September 21, 2018 MAESA Members 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 10, 2018 at 10am MAESA Episcopal Schools Day Service & Celebration at Washington National Cathedral. This service brings together more than 800 elementary school students within MAESA to worship and celebrate what it means to be a part of an Episcopal school. Please make your calendars early for the next school year.

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. Download a workshop proposal here
MAESA is proud to share the redesign of our website. Please update www.maesaschools.org in your browser and take a look around. There you will find current and past editions of our MAESA Matters newsletter and MAESA event and program details along with registration forms to download and share with your school.
"Why I Teach in an Episcopal School"

By Dale Kynoch
Third Grade Teacher

I was honored this year to be asked to reflect on why I teach where I do. I spent this last month thinking about the joys and challenges of teaching at an Episcopal school. As I spent time reflecting, I thought of the importance of my teaching training, our school-based Episcopal tenets, and finally my personal faith on my choice to teach at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.
I trained at a private elementary school that was struggling with its religious identity. First the wreath on the door at Christmas time was green with a red bow. Later in the month the wreath lost its red bow, and later yet, the wreath changed to blue with a silver bow (apparently school colors.) Such a struggle made me realize how faith plays such an important role in my identity, and how the wreath changing upheaval weighed heavily on my soul. It was then that I realized I needed to teach in a school with a strong religious identity.
At St. Andrew’s, we practice our faith by honoring five Episcopal habits. We love. We worship. We welcome. We serve. We question.
We love. I teach third grade. So many times, people think that the upper grades are the challenge - that we elementary school teachers have it easy. Not so much. It is my practice to find the good, the joy, the strength in each student I teach. Facetime with an elementary student hovers around five hours a day. It is easy to get in the rut of complaining and blaming the students for our rough days. I often think from that child’s perspective, for after all, how many times a day would I like to hear my name called out in a punitive way in class in front of my classmates and friends? There is something redeeming in each emerging soul, and it is my position to find it, nourish it, and develop it. We love.
We worship. I look forward to Chapel each week. It is a time of reflection and practice of my faith by enjoying song and a message. That Chapel moment helps establish my week. But the chapel does not need to be one on Christianity. In an Episcopal school, we honor all traditions, so the message might be about a Jewish holiday, or a living or deceased prophet, or a message delivered by a guest speaker. I love the look on my students’ faces when we return to the classroom and his/her tradition has just been honored. We worship.
We welcome. We welcome different thoughts, diverse religions, genders, and skin color. We talk about differences frequently in class, helping students realize that it is okay to be distinctive. We teach growth mindset and the art of skillful risk-taking. We greet each other each day with a welcoming comment and a warm hello using his/her name. When conflicts arise, we hear each viewpoint, acknowledging that each student needs to feel heard and understood. We welcome.
We serve. In an Episcopal school service is most important. Recognizing the value and beauty in another’s voice as we listen is paramount to a rounded education. We take care of our classmates in need and recognize that fair does not look equal. I know we are getting somewhere when students freely share their supplies and one student helps another without being asked. We serve others outside our community, such as our sister school in Haiti and our acquaintances at Samaritan Ministry, as well as our friends at Bokamoso Youth Centre in South Africa. We serve.
We question. One of the best moments in my class is when students start a discussion with, “I’m not sure but...” or “I wonder if...” Then I know we are getting somewhere. The gift of knowing how to challenge your thinking and respectfully challenge the thinking of another is powerful. A questioning mind within an emotionally safe environment is key to growth as a student. We spend time reflecting and jotting thoughts on exit notes describing our thinking and our wonderings, leading to continuing conversations. We question.
I feel blessed teaching at St. Andrew’s and look forward to the impact I might make on the minds of our future. My faith carries me through each day, as I know I am actually not alone in the classroom. I know the school Chaplains are available for my and my student’s needs. I honor the differences among my students and relish the deep conversations we can have with eight and nine year olds. I feel honored that parents allow their most precious beings to enter the classroom each day in my care. I look forward to the future.
"Spread The Word"...news from our schools
St. John's Episcopal School,
Olney, Maryland
Character is at the heart of the educational experience for our students today. We believe, as an Episcopal school, without a strong character program which grows a student’s moral compass, we are doing a great disservice to our children and would not be fulfilling our Episcopal mission. This belief is why St. John’s Episcopal School has always focused on a three-fold model of education; academics, character, and faith.

Research indicates that certain character traits play the most significant role in enabling students to achieve a lifetime of learning and success. St. John’s Episcopal School has identified these nine Traits for Success as Organization, Attentiveness, Courage, Faith, Persistence, Positive Attitude, Flexibility, Generosity and Responsibility. It is these nine critical aspects of character that become the focus of interactions and become the language for our community.
Each month during the school year, we focus on one of the Traits for Success. In the classroom, at assemblies, during Chapel, and in the lunchroom, and in many facets of school life during the school day, we highlight that trait. Monthly assemblies are themed to each trait, and morning announcements give tips and helpful information to students on how to personally improve on each trait. We highlight role models, famous and local, and how these traits have been important in their success. These traits seamlessly become a part of each student’s daily life.
In our Lower School, in addition to the daily pats on the back, students are recognized at weekly assemblies when they exhibit a Success Trait. Perhaps a student showed generosity by helping another student with a difficult task. Or, they showed positive attitude and persistence by continuing to work on a difficult project. Or, the exhibited courage by standing up for something they believed in.
Our older students are challenged on a daily basis to embody and display these traits for success, as they prepare to go on to high school and enter a world which will challenge their character. In preparation for projects and field trips, in discussions of literature and culture, these nine traits are woven into the fabric of the day. We have heard from the high schools that our graduates attend that St. John’s students can be counted on, are on time, know their responsibilities, give and seek support, and are prepared. We believe this is a direct result of the character traits we instill in our students.
We are confident of our academic strength; with the foundation of these traits, we know that our students have the tools as well as the knowledge to be successful; our mission to strengthen our students faith, let’s us believe that they will use this success wisely and for the benefit of others. 
St. John’s Episcopal School is celebrating 57 years of commitment “to graduate students of character and faith,” and focusing on preparing our students for whatever the future might bring.
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director