MAESA Matters October 2020


Greetings from MAESA.

This week MAESA traditionally marks our Episcopal Schools Celebration with liturgical services and celebrations at Washington National Cathedral and All Saints Episcopal Church in Richmond, Va. While we were not able to celebrate with in person services, our Episcopal school community and the grace and support it provides is more important than ever. Learn more below about how MAESA plans to celebrate and lift up the adults in our schools during November and throughout the year. 

We hope that many of you have registered for the NAES Virtual Biennial Conference on November 5-6, 2020. You can visit the conference website for details and early bird registration rates through the end of October. NAES has planned an amazing conference, and being a part of it is more affordable than ever for you and adults in your school community. This year's guiding theme for the biennial conference is "Love one another."

Last week more than fifty MAESA members from dozens of MAESA schools gathered virtually at the annual MAESA Members Meeting. MAESA was pleased to welcome keynote speaker Dr. Rebecca Resnik, a Bethesda based psychologist, to our meeting where she discussed “The Science of Resilience in Children.” If you missed our live meeting, or want to view the keynote address with your faculty or staff, we recorded it for our members. You can access the link to the recording from the MAESA website.   
2020 Stewardship Award Winner
Ms. Anne Marie Desaulniers
Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School

The highlight of the MAESA Membership Meeting was the awarding of our 2020 MAESA Stewardship Award to long-time Beauvoir teacher Anne Marie Desaulniers. More than two dozen Beauvoir faculty and staff joined the meeting and surprised Ms. Desaulniers, who thought she was participating in the meeting only for professional development! Pictured below many of her colleagues cheer for her using heart shaped hands on Zoom.

Last spring MAESA announced the creation of the MAESA Stewardship Award to honor an adult in one of our schools and nominations were accepted throughout the summer. The MAESA Stewardship Award is described in part as intended to“honor 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.”
Beauvoir Head of School Cindi Gibbs Wilborn, in her nomination, described the impact Ms. Desaulniers has had on her school.  “At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, Anne Marie Desaulniers will be celebrating 30 years of service to Beauvoir and as I think back on the many ways she has been an advocate for our students and families, I cannot imagine anyone more deserving of this award...Over three decades, Ms. Desaulniers became a beloved fixture at Beauvoir, epitomizing the four Beauvoir Life Rules of Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, and Kindness. As a second grade teacher, Anne Marie co-led the faculty in adopting the Responsive Classroom, a social curriculum that has continued to guide community members in promoting a diverse, healthy, and respectful school culture for over two decades. Ms. D's students, past and present, often describe her as loving and caring, for she approaches everyone with a smile and clearly loves her work." She continues, "Anne Marie is a true bridge builder. When I think about the impact that adults have on a child's life, nothing is more important than having a caregiver who models integrity, warmth, a genuine care for others, and a commitment to living a life that is faithful and devoted to serving others.” 

A colleague also shared her reflections on working with Ms. Desaulniers, “As co-chair of our school’s Social Curriculum Committee, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Anne Marie over several years. She is dedicated to making Beauvoir a true community of learners where students and teachers follow our Life Rules of respect, responsibility, honesty, and kindness. Through role-playing, community meetings, faculty discussions, and the teaching of teachers, she has emphasized the importance of the social curriculum in the lives of our children.”

MAESA is proud to honor Anne Marie Desaulniers with the first MAESA Stewardship Award.
MAESA Event Plans for 2020
Announcing MAESA Schools Cycle of Prayer and Collecting Examples of Faculty & Staff Extraordinary Actions
Now through November MAESA plans to work with school leaders and chaplains to collect stories and examples of adults in MAESA schools who are doing extraordinary things to make it possible for their school to operate and to thrive. In a recent discussion with MAESA chaplains, it was decided that since many of our schools are in hybrid learning, various types of distance learning and still are not convening for all school chapel, that working hard to deliver our Episcopal Schools Celebration virtually to students may not be possible. Instead, we heard from chaplains that the adults in their school communities needed care and prayer.
This has lead us to design a plan to collect short video recordings from you describing examples, large and small, of what adults are doing to make this all work amidst a pandemic. MAESA plans reach out to school leaders and chaplains with instructions about how to submit videos and story examples. A short video will be produced to share these acts along with a MAESA Cycle of Prayer. Our intention is to have our community of schools and of individuals hold specific MAESA schools in prayer on a weekly basis, in chapel or in our own daily devotions. 

MAESA Episcopal Schools Service Project Update
As many of our schools resume more in-person learning the protocols in place make it challenging to envision supporting the assembly of comfort bags this fall. We are working to shift this service project to the spring semester and will share more details at that time. Our vision includes providing comfort bags (reusable backpacks) with items like masks, hand sanitizer, notebooks and pens/crayons. These comfort bags would be given to students in your communities: other neighborhood schools, family shelters, after school programs or a group of your school's choice.

MAESA Early Childhood Educators’ Conference
(Originally planned for Nov 6, 2020 at Washington Episcopal School)
We are working to hold an in-person MAESA Early Childhood Conference in the spring of 2021. Prior to that time, MAESA is working to offer two pre-recorded 1-hour sessions for our schools and teachers that can be accessed at any time free of charge. The first 1-hour session will be centered around talking with younger students about topics of diversity, equity and inclusion and the second 1-hour session will be related to the practice of mindfulness. We will continue to communicate with you as plans take shape around these two offerings. 
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 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.
MAESA Events in 2021

MAESA 2021 Choral Evensong: As we are all mindful of the constraints around large worship services and singing together in groups, MAESA will not be able to welcome hundreds of choristers in MAESA school choirs to Washington National Cathedral to sing Evensong in early 2021. MAESA is working with our host schools, St. Albans School and National Cathedral School, to consider alternative programs this year to take the place of the MAESA Evensong. We have begun this process by surveying our chaplains and music directors and will use that valuable in put in our planning.

MAESA Scholars Fair 2021 We do hope to host our annual Scholars Fair in the spring at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Washington, D.C. This annual scholastic fair for students in 4th-8th grade is a highlight of the year. Our Scholars Fair is always on a Friday in late April and we will announce the date later this fall.
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director