MAESA Matters October 2021


Greetings from MAESA!

Last Friday MAESA held our Annual Membership Meeting virtually. The highlights of the morning included announcing the two 2021 MAESA Stewardship Award winners and then participating in a truly interactive conversation with school leaders and our keynote speaker, Kaliq Hunter Simms.

The theme of Kaliq's address was how, as leaders, we continue the momentum of diversity and equity initiatives in our schools moving forward. With dozens of school leaders in attendance, the workshop-style keynote conversation provided participants with insights from peer leaders about what it feels like to lead an Episcopal school in a time when our Episcopal mission aligns with our call to further DEI&J work; both honoring and respecting every human being as a child of God. Kaliq guided the conversation using the biblical story of Noah and his time on the Ark as a parallel to our times today. MAESA will share a link to the recorded meeting for members who would like to view the keynote and share with their own school leadership teams.

2021 MAESA Stewardship Awards

Maria Viera
Facilities Team

Washington Episcopal School's Head of School, Danny Vogelman, presented Ms. Viera her award. In her nomination her service was described by a colleague.

"Maria's faithfulness and dedication are tremendous, and while her work is most often behind the scenes, without her our school would not run so smoothly. She always jumps in to lend a hand without being asked, making sure that everyone has what they need--often before they've realized they need it!"
Miguel Palacio
Physical Education

Grace Episcopal School's Head of School, Patti Culbreth, presented Mr. Palacio with his award. In his work at school he is described as follows.

"Although the term coach relates to PE, it holds a more important connotation for Miguel. He truly coaches the children to be God’s children, to make wise choices and to develop strong character. He proves his integrity each day as he begins all his classes with a prayer, and every class ends with children with sweaty brows and smiles on their faces eagerly “hydrating” as Coach taught them.  
Why I Teach In An Episcopal School
Miguel Palacio
Physical Education Teacher and Coach
Grace Episcopal School, Alexandria VA

As one of the two 2021 MAESA Stewardship Award winners, MAESA interviewed Miguel Palacio to learn what he loves about his vocation.

Is there something special for you about coaching young students in P.E. and on the field? What drew you to this role?
I have always enjoyed playing sports, but as I grew closer to the Lord, I knew I could use my talents to follow my heart and help shine the light of Christ. I gravitate to younger students because they are like sponges and open to hearing a message. I hope I can put a brick or two in their foundation with the Lord.
How does your support and guidance for these students express itself at Grace? Does the fact that you work within an Episcopal School impact how you interact with them?
The fact that I work at a Christian school gives me joy because I can express freely that Jesus is the joy of my life without overstepping my bounds. It allows me to share my faith with others freely. I have worked in other schools where we were not allowed to freely express our faith in Jesus Christ. 

Can you share an example or two of a time you witnessed a triumph or a failure for one of your students and what that was like?
When I work with young children, I try to teach good character keys. Our school character keys are aligned with the fruits of the Spirit -- respect, responsibility, courage, compassion and honesty. I help kids to know they might not always win or be best on the scoreboard, but if you have courage, you can do great things in life. By the time our fifth graders graduate, they realize that lesson. I also work hard on sportsmanship and to win humbly and to lose gracefully. A triumph for me is when kids come back to me to thank me, or I hear from a parent that a student emulates me at home. I appreciate that parents and kids notice and follow my example. I try to be a good role model.
What do you value about working at Grace Episcopal School, the colleagues, the families, the place itself?
I value the leadership at Grace because it gives me the space to be me, and that helps me to be a better teacher. Any organization needs good leadership to let employees be the best they can be. At Grace, my colleagues are always fun to be around. They are approachable, and we help each other figure out the best way to support each other and our students. We love our faculty lunches together with lots of laughs and support. I always try to tell my coworkers that I appreciate them because they make Grace a good place to work and together we make a great team. We can always lean on each other.
Is there anything else about your personal or professional journey that helps MAESA and our members get to know you better?
I am the father of five children and a grandfather of one. My youngest just turned twenty, so I have been around children for a long time. My wife and I have emphasized education, faith, dedication and hard work. I have always loved working with children, and through sports, try to shine my light. I try to walk the walk and set an example so I can show God in our lives. My father always said that one of the most important things about work is to “show up” and do your best. You need to know that you are not just working for yourself and your family, but also for the Lord who guides you each day. 

MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration Updates
October also marks our MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebrations. MAESA plans to mark the occasion in two distinct ways this year!

Washington, D.C. Area MAESA Schools: Our service for elementary students will be streamed on October 6th at 10:00 a.m. from Washington National Cathedral. Schools will join virtually. You can view the live service at this link. Following the worship, MAESA is coordinating a letter writing service project for students to send love to our partner schools in Haiti who are struggling to recover from the recent earthquake. You can watch the service on October 6th at 10:00 a.m. live or use this link later to watch the recorded service.

Richmond Area MAESA Schools: MAESA is partnering with St. Catherine's School and St. Christopher's School to hold an Episcopal school celebration conversation with middle school students. Our vision is that participating students come away having heard from other students what makes their school and other Richmond area Episcopal schools unique and important to them. MAESA will host a facilitated discussion on Zoom with students from several Richmond area schools 5th-8th grade students including: Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School, St. Andrew's School, St. Catherine's School, St. Christopher's School and St. Michael's School. Our conversation will center around questions like: Attending a Christian school in a diverse world - what do you tell friends from other schools about your school? Do you think it is different from schools without a religious tradition? Does your school have stated community values or rules that you think are derived from its Episcopal tradition? And, what do you love about your school? If you'd like your students to join the discussion please contact maesaschools@gmail.com

MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference

Erica Thompson
Assistant Head of School for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School

November 5, 2021, is the MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference and registration is now open. More information is below, and complete details are on our ECE conference registration page.

Conference Keynote: "Helping Students Celebrate Self and Others"

Erica relates that our youngest students are developing their individual identities. Each day they are learning something new, developing habits, and picking up cues and clues. As educators we are instrumental in that development. Each child should be celebrated for who they are, but they are also beginning to recognize who they are relative to others. Growing bodies of research have shown us that students notice differences at very young ages. How can we work to celebrate those differences and learn about each other? How can we give young students the facts and information that will help them understand themselves and those differences? Sharing stories from her personal as well as professional life, Erica will engage our members about how starting these conversations at the youngest ages is essential to our work as we develop students to be confident, empathetic, and successful in our schools and beyond.

On Friday, November 5, 2021 MAESA will hold our annual Early Childhood Educators Conference hosted by Washington Episcopal School. Registration is open so check out the conference registration page and please share with your faculty and staff as they plan for their professional development this coming year.

Here is a sampling of some our 2021 conference workshops:
  • Laying a Strong Foundation for Young Mathematicians
  • Teaching Page-By-Page: How Children's Literature Can Be Used To Teach Children Valuable Lessons.
  • You Can’t Add When You’re Sad or Mad: Supporting the Mental Health of Students and Teachers
  • Building Foundations for Positive Identity Development during the Foundational Years 
  • Exercising our Attitudes of Gratitude: A Firm Foundation for Service Learning
  • “Tech Time”: Balancing Technology in the Early Childhood Classroom and Beyond
  • Minding Social and Emotional Well-being of Students
  • Chapel Every Day: Integrating children's spirituality into the classroom
  • Using Art to Strengthen Your Classroom Community of Young Learners
Still Time to Renew Your Membership
Thank you our schools that have renewed their membership in MAESA for the 2021-2022 year. We are very grateful for your support! If you still need to renew this year, then we ask you to visit the MAESA membership page for renewal details.
Mark Your Calendar
2021-2022 MAESA Event Dates
MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service in Washington, D.C.: Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 10:00 a.m. at Washington National Cathedral and hosted by Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School. MAESA will stream this worship service for all our schools and include video recordings of reading and anthems from our member schools. Questions or would you like to participate? Contact us at maesaschools@gmail.com to learn more.

MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration Dialogue with Students in Richmond, Va.: Wednesday, October 20, 2021 10:00 a.m. MAESA will host a facilitated discussion on Zoom with students from several Richmond area schools including: Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School, St. Andrew's School, St. Catherine's School, St. Christopher's School and St. Michael's School. Our vision is that participating students come away having heard from other students what makes their school and other Richmond area Episcopal schools unique and important to them. Contact us at maesaschools@gmail.com to learn more.

MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference, Friday, November 5, 2021 hosted by Washington Episcopal School. Registration is open and all of the details are on the conference registration page on our website.

MAESA Choral Evensong Sunday, February 6, 2022 at Washington National Cathedral 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 Friday, April 29th at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School. This event is open to students in 4th-8th grade in MAESA member schools. Please mark your calendar and contact maeasschools@gmail.com with any questions. Scholars Fair event guidelines and registration information will be shared in fall 2021.
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director