MAESA Matters June 2021


Greetings from MAESA!

We hope this newsletter finds you well and ready for summertime. As schools mark graduation, grade level recognition, closing chapels, final faculty meetings and the start to summer programs on many campuses, we know the entire community is ready for rest and rejuvenation. Taking that down time this summer will be more important than ever. And, although things are not operating as they were prior to the pandemic, this summer brings with it much more optimism!

While MAESA couldn't operate as usual during the pandemic, this time has taught us that there are still ways to support our Mid Atlantic Episcopal school community, to celebrate what we have achieved, and to keep us connected to one another. We hope you've felt that too. MAESA is truly grateful for your school's support through membership dues and also your annual campaign donations in 2020-2021 that kept MAESA going this year. Later this month we will send out membership renewal invitations for the 2021-2022 program year. A letter will be mailed to heads of school, and we ask that you please renew your membership before August 31st. We are so thankful for your support!

This month, in our regular column about teaching, working in or attending an Episcopal school, MAESA is pleased to feature Danielle Collins, a member of the MAESA Board of Governors from St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, MD. Below, Danielle shares how her work, and that of her admission team, changed dramatically in the past 12 months. As Director of Lower Admission, Danielle describes what she's learned while doing this work in an Episcopal school.

MAESA Annual Membership Meeting
October 1, 2021
at Holy Trinity: An Episcopal School

MAESA along with Holy Trinity Head of School and MAESA Board Member Michael S. Mullin, invite you to join us for our Annual Membership Meeting on October 1, 2021. We are delighted to welcome Kaliq Hunter Simms to the MAESA Annual Members’ Meeting as our keynote speaker. Kaliq is an educator, a diversity consultant and founder of Higher Learning Group. She has done some amazing work with our host school, Holy Trinity: An Episcopal School, and will engage us in an important discussion about the path forward related to diversity and equity initiatives in our schools. Her address tackles “Now What? Sustaining the Momentum of Equity Initiatives After the Dust Settles”.

Kaliq relates, "We have experienced a whirlwind year of racial reckoning and pandemic hurdles. Now, when we would like to rest and reflect, we are being urged to get back to work on the 'new normal.' What does this mean? What have we learned and how will we ensure that we do not go in reverse but instead forge a new and sustainable path forward? Let’s rewrite the narrative of our schools’ so-called progress in the areas of diversity and equity. Let’s do so in a way that seizes this rare opportunity to reinvent ourselves, making us more true to who we claim to be as faith-based institutions of learning." MAESA invites heads of school, chaplains, division directors, DEI leaders, and all interested members of your school community to come together for a morning of conversation and networking with your Episcopal school peers. Please let us know you’re coming by registering using this link.

Thank you to our annual meeting sponsor Southern Teachers Agency. We look forward to seeing you on October 1, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Trinity: An Episcopal School in Glenn Dale, MD for our annual meeting and luncheon to follow.

"Why I Work In An Episcopal School"

Danielle M. Collins
Lower School Director of Admission and Registrar
Lower School Diversity co-Coordinator
St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Potomac, Maryland

The admission office has always been an exciting place where families discover more about the mission of St. Andrew’s, our Episcopal identity, the programs that we offer and our amazing faculty. Conversely, we have the privilege of getting to know the joys, points of pride and opportunities for growth of our applicants and their families. It is a delicate dance of building relationship, being informative, and affirming a sense of belonging. My role, as the Lower School Director of Admission, gives me the opportunity to support families of our two-year old students to Fifth grade.

A year ago, the school had just concluded a completely virtual Spring trimester (during which I introduced my preschooler to Zoom and myself to grace, deep breaths, and a deeper sense of gratitude for his teachers).  I had incredible knot in my stomach. Inundated with the “how’s” that faced our Admission team relating to the upcoming school year. How do we build and support our community…virtually? How do we meet and assess our students, especially the youngest ones….virtually? How will this work? How can this work? The questions outweighed the answers tenfold and similar to many working parents, those were just my “work-related how’s.” The uncertainty about what things would look for my then four-year-old and 11-month-old was too great to comprehend, much less answer.

Over the summer, the admission office worked tirelessly (as did the school leadership) to figure out what would be safest for families and how could we tell our story in the ever-changing landscape. School administrators were able to open the Lower School in September using a hybrid learning model and phased in the Middle and Upper School later in the Fall. While the Admission team moved nimbly to offer more virtual engagement options. Trepidation about building relationships via Zoom quickly faded and all of a sudden, though it was a new dance, we found our rhythm. 

While I missed the joy of welcoming visiting students into the building for tours or shadow visits throughout the week, I loved getting to engage with each family one-on-one. As our own students filled the hallways during the week, the masks became less obtrusive, and we were able to see their smiling eyes and hear their laughter. Similarly, when I would tour families on the weekend, they spoke of frustrations-certainly, but also of perspective. The comfort of typicality was gone, and families were redefining and connecting with the things and values that mattered most to them.

I’m always honored to talk to families about how we live our Episcopal identity, especially when so many of our families are not Episcopalian. I smile, every time I get the question, because to me the ability to question is at the heart of what it means to be an Episcopalian. I enjoy talking to families about open arms and welcoming spirit of the faith. I also love that we do not shy away from teaching our students about other faith traditions and instead celebrate the richness of our diverse school. In a divisive, stressful, and difficult year, families have been excited to know that empathy, authenticity, diversity, acceptance, curiosity, and love is how we build community and connections.

I’m still not sure how we managed to get through this season, but I’m overjoyed that we found ways to remain mission-led and prioritized “Knowing and Inspiring” our children and our prospective families. A year later, the questions are different, but I am assured that we will continue the hard work and building relationships, one dance at a time.

Mark Your Calendar
2021-2022 MAESA Event Dates
2021 MAESA Fall Members' Meeting & Luncheon Friday, October 1, 2021, 10:00 a.m. hosted by Holy Trinity: An Episcopal School in Glenn Dale, Maryland. This event is for school heads, leaders, administrators, and chaplains in our MAESA schools.

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. We are working to plan and stream the worship service with a smaller representative group of students from our Washington/Baltimore area MAESA schools. We hope to announce a date in late winter 2022 for a full-scale Episcopal Schools Worship service and are in touch with our school chaplains about these developments.

MAESA Episcopal Schools Celebration and Service in Richmond, Va.: Wednesday, October 20, 2021 10:00 a.m. at St. Paul's Church, Richmond. This worship service is for MAESA schools' students, and we are inviting middle school aged students this year. This year we are planning student engagement time following the worship service to extend our time together.

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. We are accepting workshop proposals from teachers and heads of school. Use this link to submit an idea.

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 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.

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