MAESA Matters April 2020


Greetings from MAESA!

As we prepare for Holy Week and Easter in our school communities it will feel very different this year. While we are saddened by the distance required of our schools to fight this virus, we know that all of you have been working tirelessly to bring teaching, learning and a sense of community alive in inspiring ways that you never imagined would be necessary last month. Know that your MAESA community holds you in prayer as you continue in that endeavor. We also pray for the safety and comfort of you and your loved ones.

MAESA is excited to share an announcement! The MAESA Board of Governors will introduce a new award this year to honor adults in our schools that embody the values of our organization. It will be called the MAESA Stewardship Award and the honorees will become our MAESA Stewards .
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. While the creation of this award preceded the outbreak of the coronavirus, our MAESA leadership still believes the opportunity to recognize adults in our schools who meet these high ideals comes at the right time. MAESA is seeking nominations now and plans to hold a recognition ceremony at our Annual Members Meeting and Luncheon on October 2, 2020. Please follow this link to learn more about the award and to complete a google form to nominate an adult in your school. This award is open to all school employees and not limited to teachers or administrators. So, cast a wide net when thinking of worthy recipients to be called MAESA Stewards.

Usually, in the springtime we are busy preparing for the MAESA Scholars Fair for our students in 4th-8th grades. But nothing is normal about these days. While we have had to cancel the 2020 Scholars Fair, we will be glad to consider "sharing" art work, science fair projects and multi media video creations that your students have created and had planned to showcase at the Scholars Fair. Please contact us if you have work to share. We also appreciate the preparation already undertaken by the teachers and administrators of St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School for this year's fair, and will look forward to being there in April of 2021.

"Why I Teach in an Episcopal school" This month MAESA is very pleased to present a reflection from the President of the MAESA Board of Governors, Dr. Jo Harney, Head of School at Christ Church Episcopal Preschoo l in Wilmington, DE . Jo is retiring this spring, and MAESA is indebted to her for her vision and leadership. We'd love to hear from an adult or an upper school student in your school about why they value being at an Episcopal school. Please contact us at  maesaschools@gmail.com to be included.
Planning for MAESA Fall 2020 Events
Save the Date! MAESA Annual Members Meeting and Luncheon on October 2, 2020 at 10 a.m. at Grace Episcopal Day School in Kensington, MD. Mark your calendars and invite your school leadership teams to join us. MAESA welcomes Dr. Rebecca Resnik as our keynote speaker. Dr. Resnik is a psychologist who oversees a thriving practice in Bethesda with two locations and also consults and speaks to professional associations, conferences and schools. She will be talking with our school leaders about " The Science of Resilience in Children and What It Can Teach Us ." Dr. Resnik will focus on how schools can foster resilience in students through specific aspects of their community culture, through intentional programs they create and though working with parents and students to cultivate resilience.  This annual meeting is a valuable time for leaders in our MAESA schools to gather in fellowship and learn from one another. We want to thank our sponsor for the luncheon, Southern Teachers , for supporting us again this year!
2020 MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference Is Seeking Workshop Proposals: The planning committee wants to hear from you! We are soliciting workshop proposals from your talented teachers in preschool through third grades. This year's conference will be on November 6, 2020, at Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda. We hope to offer 4 workshop rotations providing even more training credit hours this fall, but we need your workshop ideas to help us achieve that goal. Submit a proposal HERE
MAESA is also pleased to announce that Dr. Amelia J. Dyer will welcome and kick-off our Early Childhood Educators Conference on November 6, 2020 . Amy has amassed a wealth of knowledge throughout her career that has spanned teaching in schools, training teachers and ultimately becoming the James Maxwell Professor Emerita of Christian Education and Pastoral Theology at Virginia Theological Seminary. We are excited to have Amy welcome and inspire us! Registration forms will be available later this summer. In the meantime, please encourage your faculty to participate by offering a workshop at our conference. Perhaps a workshop exploring an innovation around distance learning this spring, or traditional ideas like STEAM in the classroom or fostering emerging literacy skills are things you could contribute. Proposals may be submitted through the end of the school year using this link .

Also, in the arena of how MAESA is working with our early childhood cohort (preschool-third grades), we began a private Facebook group last month to facilitate educators' conversation and share information in this unprecedented time. This page can support the exchange of ideas and resources for our schools that are working to teach and engage our youngest learners. We hope this group will continue to be a resource following this pandemic also. If you or a faculty member would like to join please search "MAESA Early Childhood Practitioners" on Facebook and send a request to join the group.

Why I Teach in an Episcopal School
Dr. Jo Harney
Head of School
Christ Church Episcopal Preschool

This is not the way I imagined the last few months of my 32 year teaching career would unfold.  Although I have been looking forward to retirement for a number of years, I thought it would come with sentimental moments, some tears and regrets, lots of joy, and a sense of satisfaction.  As we’ve entered a new time of fear and anxiety, isolation from close friends, work teams, and family, as well as limitations on how we can move around the world, there’s a heaviness in the air I didn’t expect.  The burden of keeping our families, faculty, and board connected and supported in new and unfamiliar ways is exhausting.  Every time I press “send” on an email, I think of the ways I could have conveyed the message better.  I’m trying to work from home, but just need to go into the office for “one little thing.”  Six hours later, I’m still there and wondering why I’m so hungry.  

As hard as each day is, it is true that there is much good to be seen in the ways we are relating to one another.  My teachers are excited about the new ways to offer content and support to our preschoolers and their parents.  Parents are expressing their appreciation for every resource we’re sending them.  I am recognizing how much I’ve learned from the wise school leaders with whom I’ve had the privilege to work over the years, especially during my 19 years in Episcopal schools. 

Recent conversations with my MAESA colleagues and other Episcopal school leaders from around the country have brought the realization of how much we have in common.  We are all fretting over tuition revenue, grieving over the lost milestones of the spring, worrying that our parents are expecting more (or less) from us, and that our expectations for teachers are unrealistic.  But in the same space as those cares are unloaded we hear coming back to us, “I have a parent letter I can share with you,” “My teachers had a great idea about…,” and “Just breathe; you don’t have to accomplish it all today.” 

Amongst all the sharing on Facebook, Instagram, newsletters, Zoom conferences, and old-fashioned phone calls, what I am hearing Episcopal leaders addressing first and foremost is the spiritual life of their students and their school communities.  Video recordings of chapel services were the first things to appear on shared sites.  Educators are not only sending learning resources to families; they are checking in on the spiritual and emotional health of every member of the community, not to mention their physical health.  It seems a given that our students will continue to learn, so we turn our attention to being sources of comfort, connection, and joy.

I have never been more grateful for being part of an Episcopal school and a whole network of Episcopal schools.  It grounds me and points me in the one direction (among the host of choices) that is essential—reminding our families of God’s love and our love for each other.  These last few months of my teaching career may look different from what I expected, and although I am not grateful for the circumstances that caused this paradigm shift in our school (and yours), I am immensely grateful for the years of preparation provided by my Episcopal school colleagues and for the recent reminders that farewells are not nearly as important as serving one another in the here and now.   Thank you, MAESA schools, for the work you are doing in your own community, and for the support you are providing for one another in our time of need.

Donate to the 2020 MAESA Stewardship Campaign
In February MAESA launched its first ever annual giving appeal to our members with a letter mailed to our schools and our colleagues. We've had a steady response with several schools or individuals responding with donations made by the school or personally by individuals, and we've have raised about $1,000. These donations will allow MAESA to do things like scholarship teachers wishing to attend our Early Childhood Educator's Conference, assist with funds for things like transportation to our events for schools without such resources and also continue to add opportunities for engagement and development for the adults we serve.

MAESA is a unique association in that our mission seeks to serve adults and students in Episcopal schools. If you would like to make a donation to support the events and the work that MAESA continues to do, you can make a secure contribution on our website or by clicking the donate button below. Thank you!

Mark your calendar for next year!
 2020-2021 MAESA Events
Members' Meeting and Luncheon Friday, October 2, 2020 at 10 am  
The MAESA Members' Meeting will be hosted by Grace Episcopal Day School, 9411 Connecticut Avenue, Kensington, Maryland.

Episcopal Schools Day Celebration, Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, October 7, 2020  at 10 am at Washington National Cathedral hosted in partnership with Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School.

Episcopal Schools Day Celebration in Richmond, VA on Wednesday October 21, 2020  at 10 am. The service location in Richmond will be announced later this spring. MAESA is expanding this celebration to include elementary, middle and upper schools in our central Virginia region and hopes to include a service opportunity in conjunction with the worship service. 

MAESA 2020 Early Childhood Educators Conference Friday, November 6, 2020  hosted by Washington Episcopal School, 5600 Little Falls Parkway, Bethesda, Maryland. This year’s conference will feature our teacher-to-teacher workshops. Please share this link with your teachers to submit a workshop proposal .

MAESA 2021 Choral Evensong Sunday, January 31, 2021  at Washington National Cathedral in partnership with St. Albans School and National Cathedral School.

MAESA Scholars Fair 2021  will be hosted at  St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School  in Washington, D.C. for the annual scholastic fair for students in 4 th -8 th  grade. Our Scholars Fair is always on a Friday in mid to late April and we will be confirming and announcing the exact date later this spring. 
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director