MAESA Matters December 2018

In this season of Advent we hope that you and your schools are finding meaningful ways to prepare as a community for the coming of The Christ Child. Please share your traditions with us!

It was wonderful to see numerous friends from our Episcopal schools at the NAES Biennial Conference in Atlanta earlier in November. The workshops, many of them presented by MAESA schools' faculty members, were excellent and inspiring. The theme Seek Justice, Do Right and Defend the Oppressed was threaded through out the conference. Keynote speaker The Rev. Becca Stevens of Thistle Farms in Nashville, TN @thistlefarms brought the audience to its feet as she described her ministries to at risk women here in the Untied States and recently to Syrian refugees in Greece by offering them dignity and employment through social enterprise through Love Welcomes . A highlight was The Most Reverend Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, leading the opening worship service . His sermon challenged us to be deeply rooted , like a tree or vine, in Jesus. Those deep roots will see us through trying times especially those when we are called to stand up to forces of evil in the world.

Pictured below L to R: The Rev. Dr. Lisa Barrowclough, Chair of the Biennial Worship Committee, Nina Bacas,St. Stephen's St. Agnes School Religion teacher, Sean McConnell, Director of Engagement at Episcopal Relief and Development, The Most Reverend Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, Sarah Tielemans, Advancement Manager at NAES and Dr. Jo W. Harney, Head of School at Christ Church Epsicopal Preschool and MAESA Board President.
In our December edition of "Why I Teach in an Episcopal School " Pam Stewart, twos and K science teacher at St. David's Episcopal Day School in Roland Park, MD shares how she came to teach in an Episcopal school and how the community allowed her to respond with compassion to Houston flood victims in a school wide service project. Next, in "Spread The Word" The Rev. Betsy Gonzalez , Chaplain at Episcopal High School in Alexandria and member of the MAESA Board of Governors shares how Episcopal High School commemorated 50 years since its integration in the fall of 1968. They did this by engaging their school community in a series of lectures, panels and school events in November including guests The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Tony Chase, EHS class of 1973 and one of the first to enroll to integrate EHS. 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
Next Up:
MAESA Choral Evensong February 10, 2019 at Washington National Cathedral hosted with St. Albans School and National Cathedral School . The Rev. Scott D. Parnell, Chaplain at Christchurch School , will be our preacher for the MAESA Evensong. Scott leads the chapel program, teaches several biblical classes, coaches JV soccer and earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry before being called to the priesthood. He is the faculty sponsor of Christchurch School's Political Thought Club. The aim of the club is move beyond debating partisan policy and grapple with the values that motivate us, with the ultimate goal to foster empathy across the aisle . Please contact us if you haven't been a part of this special service in the past, or are looking for more information for your school or choir director.

MAESA Scholars Fair April 26, 2019 hosted with National Cathedral School for Girls . Please share this date with you faculty and students grades 4th-8th in preparation for attending our annual Scholars Fair in April. We return to NCS and are grateful to them for their second year as host. MAESA will be looking for a host school in 2020 & 2021. Let us know if your school would like to host this springtime MAESA event in the future.
"Why I Teach in an Episcopal School"
By Pam Stewart
St. David’s Day School
Roland Park, MD
My journey to teaching has taken me on a very curious road map with jobs right out of college ranging in  advertising sales, new homes sales for a builder, stay at home mom and volunteer guru to becoming a Preschool teacher.  I laugh when my mother says “Well you finally arrived at the right career. The one I knew you were destined for when you were a little girl” The road was a little curvy but I have to admit I couldn’t be happier or more fulfilled than being a teacher at St. David’s Day School in Baltimore City for the last six years. The faculty and staff make St. David’s Day School a joyful place where children love to come to school and teachers love to teach.

 I still look at each new day as a blank screen with the potential to stimulate imaginations, inspire dramatic play and influence new knowledge and to get those fingers gooey and experiencing texture in a shiny tech savvy world. I encourage my students to enjoy childhood and to take the time to laugh and giggle. I want them to experience nature in their play and in their artwork. My students are greeted each morning with a warm smile so they feel welcomed and comfortable in their classroom. I want them to leave each day with new knowledge or tasks attempted and the desire to return with excitement to try it all again. This is the perfect day in the classroom of two and three year olds. I feel extremely blessed to work at an Episcopal school that allows me to incorporate my faith of being a good steward of nature and to others.
Last year I witnessed the generosity and compassion of the families of St. David’s Day School. I became involved with a school supply drive called Help Houston Teachers established by Marty Appelbaum, President of ATI Seminars. As a former resident of Houston, I knew what damage flooding can do. I thought of those wonderful schools with absolutely nothing.  I thought as a school if we could send a box or two that would be helpful so I organized a school supply drive to help the preschools in the Houston area. I was overwhelmed with the generosity of our amazing school community and their willingness to help others. Boxes upon boxes of craft supplies, educational toys, dress ups, teacher supplies and so much more were shipped to Houston. Twenty boxes in total. It reaffirmed the feeling that I am so very blessed to work in a school where I can practice my faith in giving to those in need and less fortunate and to encourage compassion  in our next generation.

Teaching in a faith based preschool allows me to listen and encourage each child and to nurture their natural curiosity, play and activities. It is my responsible to have the classroom be an engaging and appealing environment. I constantly work to change the classroom to showcase children’s artwork and stimulate things that interest the child.  I prepare for the day’s activities but am willing and flexible to alter the curriculum to follow a path that interests the child. I firmly believe the child will learn by being stimulated by themes that are relevant and intrigue them. The learning should be open ended, not rigid and at the child’s pace. Childhood is not a race. Children should be able to explore their senses and encouraged in dramatic play. A favorite quote that sums up teaching for me is “A great teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart”.  It is simple, but it truly says it all.

"Spread The Word" News From Our Schools
By The Rev. Betsy Gonzalez
Chaplain, Episcopal High School
Alexandria, VA
"My testimony is my life." 
"My testimony is my life." These are the words that still ring in my ears almost a month after Nov. 9, the day that Episcopal High School commemorated 50 years since our integration in the fall of 1968, when two students, Regi Burns and Sam Paschall, joined the community as freshmen. 
The words were spoken by Tony Chase, a member of the class of 1973 and one of three black boys who joined Burns and Paschall the next year. All of Episcopal’s early black students were brought to EHS through the Anne C. Stouffer Foundation whose mission was to promote the integration of preparatory schools in the South.
Chase currently resides in Houston, TX where he serves as Chairman & CEO of ChaseSource, LP, a firm consistently ranked as one of the nation’s largest minority-owned companies. Chase addressed the community several times throughout the commemoration including a commemorative chapel, a panel discussion, and at the Spirit of the High School Dinner with faculty, staff, parents, and alumni. Chase was joined by The Rev. Jesse Jackson, grandfather to a current Episcopal sophomore, who offered a benediction in chapel, was a participant in the panel discussion, and led a blessing in the evening.
“My testimony is my life,” Chase said, “the life I was prepared for right here on this sacred Hill; the life I have lived since.” Coming to Episcopal shaped him, Chase reflected, but, he knows that it also shaped those around him in ways he cannot know, like his fellow members of the Class of 1973 who came to support the weekend’s events, and in ways that he can see, like the moment when he became overwhelmed, standing in front of the current diversity present in our student body during the morning chapel. He was witnessing a diversity that he did not know in his time at EHS and, perhaps, could not have even dreamt.
Before hearing from Chase and Jackson in the panel, the community watched a  video produced for the event by Luke David ’93. The video explores the atmosphere at Episcopal in the late 1960s as the School prepared to welcome Burns and Paschall. After a morning meeting announcement was made announcing the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in April 1968, a group of Episcopal students cheered. The idea of it hits you in the gut. The film goes on to explore, through generations of students, board members, faculty, and administrators, how we have navigated this journey and how we need to tell the truth of that journey in order to look ahead to our next 50 years.
Along with Chase, several dozen black alumni from the past 50 years, including faculty and a former chaplain, returned to campus to mark the event. All students participated in afternoon sessions, which included:
      Numerous small group conversations with alumni;
      A presentation by a recent alumna on her historical research project,  “Voices of Integration at Episcopal” ;
      A panel of History of the South students sharing their research on  “Episcopal’s Southern Culture and The Civil Rights Movement” ;
      Another panel featuring history teacher Wade Morris of the Lovett School in Atlanta, professor and author  Dr. Michelle Purdy , and artist and art history professor  Amber Wiley — discussing “Integration and the National Landscape.” Morris completed his master’s thesis on  the integration of Episcopal schools in the South (PDF). Purdy is the author of  Transforming the Elite: Black Students and the Desegregation of Private Schools .
      And finally, a workshop on  “Becoming Beloved Community,” a conversation tool centering on racial reconciliation that has grown from the Episcopal Church’s work over the last three years.
Joel Sohn, Director of Community and Equity and one of the principal organizers of the commemoration events, saw reason for hope but much work still to be done.
“It takes a lot of courage for our students to hear the words of Tony Chase and Reverend Jackson and then process them as lessons to take to heart. I hope our students will truly work toward unlearning the things they've taken for granted and the habits they've formed,” Sohn said. “Perhaps this weekend saw some seeds planted, but those seeds need constant water and nourishment, so we can't stop talking about these things.
“I'm not going to stop talking about these things because these conversations are what makes community that much stronger and that much more welcoming and inclusive.”
Chase closed his chapel talk by encouraging students not only to  value where they were in that moment, sitting in their pews, as students of this School, but to imagine the world they will be stepping into very shortly and the important choices that they will make in the future, choices that come from their life at Episcopal.
“In many ways, this diversity in which you live is an artificial community that exists primarily in academic settings. The administration here has the capacity to choose and select a student body that has the carefully-balanced ranges of cultures, experiences, and backgrounds that now makes up EHS,” Chase noted. “But when you get out in the real world, the business world, or wherever your lives will take you, beware. Those worlds will be much less diverse. In fact, they will tend to be highly segregated, not legally, but by choice. Your choice. I encourage you to take this experience of diversity with you. Take this commitment to diversity with you, into your worlds, into your neighborhoods, into your lives.” 

Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director