MAESA Matters March 2021

Greetings from MAESA.

This week we mark the one year milestone when the pandemic changed the way we live. Much has already been said about this anniversary. Many people have suffered a great deal and many have also shown great love. As we journey through the penitential season of Lent, we also know that we are an Easter people with faith in the Resurrection. The poem by Kitty O'Meara, written and shared often during the pandemic, offers a guide for us as we live into the future.

by Kitty O'Meara
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

MAESA is pleased to feature Chanelle Peters, Kindergarten teacher at Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School, in this edition of Why I teach in an Episcopal school. Ms. Peters describes how she is given the opportunity teach her youngest learners about differences in themselves and others while also pursuing her own journey as an antiracists. She's grateful for the teaching and learning environment at her school. Read more below.

MAESA announces early childhood educator professional development sessions on April 14, 2021. Download the registration form here. MAESA will offer three hours of workshops that can also be watched as recordings. Access to the sessions is only $100 for your school. We have some wonderful presenters!

  • Jacky Howell, Azspire, llc, is an experienced early childhood consultant, author and speaker who will speak about “Caring for Ourselves as Educators and Rediscovering Our Joy!”
  • Jordan Love, Co-Director of Lower School, and colleagues Hilarie Hall and Justin Pyles of St. Andrew's Episcopal School and the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning will share ideas for curriculum in design thinking with their Wonder Workshops.
  • Chéleah Googe, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School, will present a session titled Equity in the Early Years: Cultivating Curiosity. Educators will be grounded in child identity development research, examine the role of children’s literature in developing racial literacy, and explore antiracism as a personal and professional responsibility.
Nominate A Colleague: 2021 MAESA Steward Award
2021 MAESA Steward Award
The MAESA Stewardship Award honors a person who has made a mark on your school community. The candidate embodies the qualities that MAESA and our Episcopal schools hold closely: integrity in daily life and work, respect for all people, equity and justice in words and actions and love and hospitality toward neighbors.

You can make a nomination using this link. MAESA is accepting nominations through Monday, May 10, 2021.

Pictured above, MAESA members and Beauvoir School faculty and staff showing their appreciation for 2020 MAESA Stewardship Award winner Ms. Ann Marie Desaulniers at the MAESA 2020 Fall Members' Meeting.
"Why I Teach in an Episcopal School"

By Chanelle Peters
Partner Teacher, Kindergarten

As an educator, I am committed to fostering a classroom environment that promotes individualism and respect. I aim to make my students comfortable enough to share their ideas, worries, and dreams not only with me, but more importantly, with their peers. It is my belief that children should never be afraid to embrace the differences within themselves and others. Every day, I strive to teach my students that although everyone may not look, speak, or think alike, these distinctions bring a richness to the world and their lives that should be welcomed, rather than shunned. Thus, I teach at an Episcopal school. At Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School, I am a member of a faculty/staff that welcomes “students and families from all faiths and backgrounds,” celebrating their “individual stories and collective experiences.” During my tenure at Beauvoir, I have been blessed with the space and support to live out my personal philosophy as a teacher—preparing future generations to be successful members of an inclusive community. 

With a student body that is 46% racially and ethnically diverse, I am called daily to ensure that my students know that they are seen, by myself and their classmates. I am constantly reflecting on how best to convey to students that they are valued and loved for who they are—no exceptions. In addition, I seek to show my students that one of the greatest things they can do in life is to learn from others, starting in their own classroom. Last December, I received an email from a parent, sharing how her daughter’s face had lit up as she shared her personal menorah with the class, via Zoom, during a lesson I taught on Hanukkah. As I reminisced on what had been a special moment for a young girl, proud of her faith; I recognized how her classmates had also benefitted from the occasion, coming to learn yet another aspect of not only their peer’s identity, but also the identity of almost 15 million people in the world! 

As a learner, Beauvoir affords me ample opportunities to further my personal development as an individual “aspiring to tell and exemplify God’s love for every human being.” Every year, I have had the chance to attend workshops and conferences, such as the NAIS People of Color Conference and NPS Diversity Institute, where I have engaged in activities and discussions that have equipped me with knowledge and skills that have served me well not only in the classroom, but also in my everyday walk as an antiracist. Most recently, I completed a workshop series, facilitated by Beauvoir’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Chéleah Googe, during which my colleagues and I were able to explore antiracism as a personal and professional practice, as well as a call to action that we must all commit to for the betterment of all people. 

Several months ago, my class and I were making our way back towards the school building from our morning outdoor play time. One of my students who was serving as line leader looked up to me and said, “Ms. Peters, I want to learn about other people.” “What exactly do you want to learn about other people?” I inquired. “Everything!” she replied. “Well, I think we can make that happen,” I said, as a smile spread across my face and the wheels started turning in my mind.
Choral and Fine Arts Recordings to Share
So much beautiful work is continuing in our schools. We'd love to share a choral recording, chapel performance or fine arts production that your school has done during the pandemic. Please send items to maesaschools@gmail.com. Thank you.

Christchurch School, Christchurch, VA:
Service of Lessons and Carols Director, Mark Parsons

St. James School, Hagerstown, MD:
Service of Lessons and Carols, Director, Linda Stowe
MAESA Prayer Rota for 2021
MAESA shared our "We See You" video celebrating adults in our MAESA schools. We also created a MAESA prayer rota at this link, which assigns a week of prayer to each of our MAESA schools. You can pray for each of these MAESA schools during the designated week at your school's chapel service, and also in your daily prayers for the rest of this school year.
Save These Dates
2021- 2022 MAESA Events
2021 MAESA Fall Members' Meeting & Luncheon Friday, October 1, 2021, 10:00 a.m. hosted by Holy Trinity: An Episcopal School in Glendale, Maryland. This event is for school heads, leaders, administrators and chaplains in our MAESA schools.

2021 MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service in Washington, D.C.: Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Washington National Cathedral and hosted by Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School. This worship service is for MAESA schools' students. This year we are planning a service project following the worship service to extend our time together. More details to come on our project.

2021 MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service in Richmond, Va.: Wednesday, October 20, 2021 10:00 a.m. Location to be announced. This worship service is for MAESA schools' students. This year we are planning a service project following the worship service to extend our time together.

2021 MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference, Friday, November 5, 2021 at Washington Episcopal School in the Mid-Atlantic region and offers a preferred registration rate to MAESA Members.

2022 MAESA Choral Evensong at Washington National Cathedral Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 4:00 p.m. MAESA chorister rehearsals will begin at 1:00 p.m. The opportunity to sing with the MAESA combined choir is open to all upper school choirs who are members of MAESA.

2022 MAESA Scholars Fair MAESA is planning to hold our annual spring scholastic fair in April 2022 at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School. This event is open to students in 4th-8th grade in MAESA member schools. The date for this event will be announced soon.
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director