MAESA Matters May 2020


Greetings from MAESA!

The verse from Isaiah in this image reminds us that our forebears knew and lived through times of uncertainty and even fear. Isaiah assures us that God will be with us in those "deep waters". Images of water in scripture are abundant evoking power, passage, life and rebirth. As our season turns from early spring rains to warm spring sunshine, we can look to nature, God's bountiful creation, to lift our spirit. It seems incongruous that we are buoyed by this beauty outside, and yet still separated from many of the people we love and the rituals and traditions of the spring and graduation season in our schools. Yet, we have faith. We have missed seeing so many of you this spring, but are encouraged to hear from you all about the work, learning and caring that continues in your schools and communities.

We continue to plan for our MAESA fall events, and are exploring ways to extend and evolve our traditional MAESA gatherings, if necessary. Thank you for your continued support of MAESA as we conclude this program year and plan for the next. There is still time to make a contribution to our first ever stewardship campaign by visiting our homepage and clicking on the donate button.

MAESA Stewardship Award: We are seeking nominations for the inaugural MAESA Stewardship Award. Nominations may be submitted at this link. This 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. 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!

"Why I Attend an Episcopal School" This month MAESA is happy to welcome a student voice reflecting on why he attends an Episcopal school. Bjorn Davidson, a Senior at St. Stephen's and St. Agnes Schoo l in Alexandria, Virginia , and a member of the Student Vestry, shares what he values about his Episcopal school community; the qualities of community, faith and goodness which, he believes, are instilled from the start. 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 .
Why I Attend an Episcopal School
Bjorn Davidson
Senior Member of the Vestry
Saint Stephen's and Saint Agnes School

Hello, my name is Bjorn Davidson, and I am a Senior Member of the Vestry at Saint Stephen’s and Saint Agnes School. At SSSAS, community, faith, and goodness are the underlying principles that are instilled in every student and faculty member as soon as they walk through the doors for the very first time. The community takes great pride in maintaining an atmosphere of acceptance and friendliness because our Saints understand that the world could use a little bit more of each, particularly in difficult times like these. The members of Vestry are selected for being exceptional leaders in the school and are expected to hold themselves to a high moral and spiritual standard. The Vestry’s duty is to help the school’s weekly religious service, Chapel, run as smoothly as possible so that the messages in the prayers, sermon, and music pieces are compelling to each student and faculty member. 

As a child, I have attended Presbyterian, Methodist, and Episcopalian church services but have never strictly conformed to any of these religions. In fact, although I consider myself religious, I am not in the habit of regularly attending weekly church services. By no means do I wish to discredit the church services or sermons that I have attended in the past, but the experiences that I have had during Chapel at SSSAS exceed any other religious events that I have participated in for one reason: the religious practices at SSSAS are supposed to invoke an experience, rather than be felt like any form of obligation. Chapel services work to inspire, offer guidance, and allow members of the community to expand their perspective.

Although SSSAS is classified as an Episcopal school, all religious practices are accepted and encouraged. Friends of mine who practice Judaism, Hinduism, etc. have told me they feel no pressure from the school and are just as worthy to preach messages delivered in Chapel. This is because the principles of kindness, faith, and vulnerability that are emphasized here are universal and not specific to any religion. 

The mission of Saint Stephen’s is to pursue goodness as well as knowledge. This is a phrase that I have heard hundreds of times but really does hold true. It is interesting to note that goodness appears first in the mission statement. Before anything, the goal of the faculty is to send students of incredible character into the world. Perfection is never expected from the students, but pushing oneself to be the best that they can be is always supported. Another strength of the school is the people’s ability to form a true sense of community that lasts long after the Seniors graduate. Although I have found a smaller group of my closest friends, because of this feeling of community, I feel respected, wanted, and accepted among any of my peers. 

Our weekly Chapel service is so significant and unique to SSSAS because of the incredible concentration and acceptance that is offered by the audience. These aspects of the service are crucial because they allow the Senior speakers to feel comfortable in expressing their vulnerabilities and what they have learned from them over the past four years. The talks are special because the members of the community recognize that no problem is unworthy of being shared, which results in a wide variety of speeches. One thing that I have found in each talk is that difficult times can always be overcome with the help of God’s presence and leaning on those who love you.

I feel truly blessed to have access to a school that values the principles of love, faith, and acceptance so intensely. The Chapel talks and messages from the religious services at SSSAS have strengthened my ability to sympathize and have expanded my knowledge of God’s grace in countless ways. The experiences that I have had as a member of Vestry and the SSSAS community are priceless because I have no doubt that they will stick with me for the rest of my life. 

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 schools and individuals responding with donations made by the school or personally by individuals, and we've have raised close to $1,300. 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 by clicking on the button below.
Mark your calendar for next year!
 2020-2021 MAESA Events
Members' Meeting and Luncheon Friday, October 2, 2020 at 10 a.m.  
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 a.m. 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 a.m. 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. 
Join the MAESA Early Childhood Practitioner's Facebook Group!
MAESA is working with our early childhood cohort (preschool-third grades), and we've begun a private Facebook group in March 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.

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