MAESA Matters April 2021


Greetings from MAESA.

Happy Eastertide and start to spring. As we begin the final months in a remarkable year for all of our schools, we are thankful for signs that our routines are feeling more familiar. And we continue to hold close those who are still grieving the loss of a loved one or the feeling of loss from unrealized events and activities we once took for granted. Still, springtime brings with it milestones and celebrations for graduates, sometimes the announcement of the retirement of a colleague, and always an energy that reveals there is much to accomplish before the school year concludes.

MAESA would like to be a part of celebrating your colleagues this year too. We are still accepting nominations for the 2021 MAESA Stewardship Award and want to hear from you about a faculty or staff member in your school that stood out this year! While this award is conferred at the start of our program year next fall during our annual meeting, we accept nominations in the spring. 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. You can make a nomination using this link. MAESA is accepting nominations through Monday, May 10, 2021.

MAESA is pleased to feature Han Na Jang of St. Catherine's School in this month's edition of Why I teach in an Episcopal school. Han Na is the middle and upper school choral director. She describes her personal history with liturgical music and shares a music project that she led at St. Catherine's when singers couldn't meet and sing together easily. Hear how she was welcomed into the St. Catherine's School community, and listen to the compilation of beautiful music offered by her middle and upper school students for the hymns and spiritual songs recording project, "Lift Your Spirit."
MAESA Early Childhood Educator Workshop is April 14, 2021 on Zoom

There is still time to register! Download the registration form here. MAESA will offer three hours of workshops that can also be watched as recordings. Access to the sessions is only $100 for your school. We have some wonderful presenters!

  • Jacky Howell, Azspire, llc, is an experienced early childhood consultant, author and speaker who will speak about “Caring for Ourselves as Educators and Rediscovering Our Joy!”
  • Jordan Love, Co-Director of Lower School, and colleagues Hilarie Hall and Justin Pyles of St. Andrew's Episcopal School and the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning will share ideas for curriculum in design thinking with their Wonder Workshops.
  • Chéleah Googe, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School, will present a session titled Equity in the Early Years: Cultivating Curiosity. Educators will be grounded in child identity development research, examine the role of children’s literature in developing racial literacy, and explore antiracism as a personal and professional responsibility.
"Why I Teach in an Episcopal School"

Han Na Jang 
MS/US Choral Director 
St. Catherine’s School

Last school year, pre-Covid, I was invited to lead the hymn sing-along with all students and faculty during one of our morning chapel services. It was my first year teaching at St. Catherine’s School so I was a little bit nervous about singing in front of everyone. One hymn I picked was “Amazing Grace.” As I sang each verse, my whole life’s journey up to that moment passed through my mind, from my dad and I singing together at church, to coming to the United States as an exchange student, to my graduate studies. I started singing the first verse in my mother tongue, Korean. Then I invited the students and faculty to join in English for the next two verses and everyone stood to sing the last verse. The small chapel then erupted with cheers and applause. My soul was overwhelmed by the overflowing of God’s grace and love. It was my first “ah ha” moment of realizing why God called me to St. Catherine’s School. 

What I love most about teaching at an Episcopal school is the balance of rich tradition and the openness to other cultures. Participating in the MAESA Evensong at the National Cathedral in 2020, which highlighted the Episcopal choral tradition, was a beautiful experience and showed one of the strengths of the community. Likewise, being invited to talk about Korean culture and music in a colleague’s history class or supervising my students leading their own contemporary a cappella group shows openness and acceptance to things not rooted in the Episcopal tradition. St. Catherine’s has been focusing on DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) work this year, so I have been spending time re-evaluating the choral curriculum to provide a diverse and inclusive experience for students from a wide array of backgrounds. 

Typically, the choir curriculum has leaned towards traditional classical sacred repertoire. However, since we had limited performance opportunities or chapel hymn singing experiences due to Covid, I saw this as an opportunity to explore some other genres and formats. Our recent hymn/spiritual songs recording project had the theme of “Lift Your Spirit.” Students had the freedom to choose their own music, as well as to arrange and create the video recordings. Some chose sacred genres, while others preferred secular genres that they were really excited about. These projects enabled students to showcase their passions and talents during the pandemic, and also exposed them to various styles of music that their fellow students had chosen. I believe being at an Episcopal school allows for a wide variety of music to be brought forth and for our girls to benefit. 

During my time so far teaching at St. Catherine’s School, I am grateful for being part of an Episcopal school. I feel like I am supported by a loving and caring community of wonderful colleagues, students, and parents. As a young teacher, I am still learning so much, and this encouraging environment has made me want to improve each day for my students. I read a quote recently that inspired me, “We do not just teach choral music. We teach singers, and in the teaching, we shape who they will become.” Teaching at an Episcopal school has broadened my teaching philosophy to truly focus on students’ holistic growth and development as God’s children. 

Listen to St. Catherine's School Students
St. Catherine's shares several recordings. You will be glad you took the time to listen to the links shared below!

US Hymn/Spiritual Songs Recording Project Compilation The link above features a number of student voices singing their own selections of liturgical music and other genres too.

St. Catherine’s Day Service Chorale Performance featuring the St. Catherine's School Chorale.
Choral and Fine Arts Recordings to Share
So much beautiful work is continuing in our schools. We'd love to share a choral recording, chapel performance or fine arts production that your school has done during the pandemic. Please send items to maesaschools@gmail.com. Thank you.

Christchurch School, Christchurch, VA:
Service of Lessons and Carols Director, Mark Parsons

St. James School, Hagerstown, MD:
Service of Lessons and Carols, Director, Linda Stowe
Save These Dates
2021- 2022 MAESA Events
2021 MAESA Fall Members' Meeting & Luncheon Friday, October 1, 2021, 10:00 a.m. hosted by Holy Trinity: An Episcopal School in Glendale, Maryland. This event is for school heads, leaders, administrators and chaplains in our MAESA schools.

2021 MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service in Washington, D.C.: Wednesday, October 6, 2021, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Washington National Cathedral and hosted by Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School. This worship service is for MAESA schools' students. This year we are planning a service project following the worship service to extend our time together. More details to come on our project.

2021 MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service in Richmond, Va.: Wednesday, October 20, 2021 10:00 a.m. Location to be announced. This worship service is for MAESA schools' students. This year we are planning a service project following the worship service to extend our time together.

2021 MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference, Friday, November 5, 2021 at Washington Episcopal School in the Mid-Atlantic region and offers a preferred registration rate to MAESA Members.

2022 MAESA Choral Evensong at Washington National Cathedral Sunday, January 30, 2022 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 MAESA is planning to hold our annual spring scholastic fair in April 2022 at St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School. This event is open to students in 4th-8th grade in MAESA member schools. The date for this event will be announced soon.
MAESA Prayer Rota for 2021
MAESA shared our "We See You" video celebrating adults in our MAESA schools. We also created a MAESA prayer rota at this link, which assigns a week of prayer to each of our MAESA schools. You can pray for each of these MAESA schools during the designated week at your school's chapel service, and also in your daily prayers for the rest of this school year.
Let us hear from you!
Katherine F. Murphy 
MAESA Executive Director