MAESA Matters August 2020


Greetings from MAESA!

In a season with many questions about what the future will look like one thing is for certain, learning will continue. Student, faculty and staff learning in our MAESA schools has continued through out the summer in many instances. This is a tribute to the extraordinary work of our schools, teachers, faculty and administrators during this time.

The plans for fall re-opening seem to be evolving by the day. At MAESA we hope to to be able to serve your students and teachers whether you're in a distance learning mode, a hybrid model or on campus 100%. To best serve you please share with us, at this point in time, what your re-opening plans look like by completing the survey at this link. We will continue to update this data and be in touch with you as MAESA's plans for the fall are finalized. MAESA's Fall Membership Meeting will still take place virtually on Friday, October 2nd as we welcome our keynote speaker, Dr. Rebecca Resnik. RSVP using this link. More details are below.

Information about the MAESA membership renewal process was e-mailed to the Heads of School in July, and we hope that all of our schools will renew their membership in MAESA for the 2020-2021 program year. Thank you to those who have already done so. If you have not renewed your membership yet, please complete the membership form noting any new or departing personnel for our records. Dues may be paid directly on-line via the MAESA website by visiting the membership dues page.

New President and Vice President of MAESA Governing Board MAESA is blessed with strong leaders that donate their time to the growth and governance of our association. We are pleased to announce that Jamey Hein, Head of School at St. Martin's in-the-Field Episcopal School in Severna Park, MD will serve as the board president. Danny Vogelman, Head of School at Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda, MD will also serve as Vice President. MAESA thanks Jalene Spain Thomas of St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School and Janet Mosher of St. Martin's in-the-Field Episcopal School for continuing their service as board secretary and treasurer respectively. Last month we shared news of three new board members: Danielle Collins of St. Andrew's Episcopal School, Lori Dembo of St. John's Episcopal School and Erica Thompson of St. Patrick's Episcopal Day School. You can see news about them in the July Newsletter. MAESA is grateful to all its talented board members.

In place of our regular reflection, Why I Teach in an Episcopal School?, MAESA wishes to honor and celebrate the life of one of its early leaders, Karen Strimple, former Head at St. Columba's Nursery School. What follows is her obituary. It is is a beautiful summary of the pursuits to which she dedicated her life, especially the education of children.

Karen Strimple, surrounded by many loved ones, passed away on June 28, 2020. As director of St. Columba's Nursery School in Northwest Washington, DC, for 28 years, Karen was passionate about the importance of early childhood education, especially for the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social development of three- to five-year-old children. Karen's belief in preschool as a powerful influence on how children experience their worlds was ever present in her work. Joining the staff as a music teacher in 1970, Karen worked at St. Columba's until her retirement in 2006. As director, Karen transformed the nursery school experience for hundreds of Washington families, pioneering sensory motor integration to anticipate and mitigate students' future learning challenges; incorporating extensive, all-weather outdoor playtime; integrating animals into the learning process; and creating an inclusive environment for children with all abilities. Through her support and encouragement, Karen provided the scaffolding that allowed both teachers and students to take risks. She fostered collaboration, team work, and kindness. Karen was known for visiting classrooms with one of her beloved, bandanaed Labrador retrievers in tow. Three dogs --Luke, Brandy and Cassidy - joined Karen over her tenure at the preschool, sporting tutus for the annual Halloween parade through the local retirement home. Some people might remember school events inaugurated by Karen like the end-of-year Teddy Bear picnic or Stone Soup, when children brought items for making soup to donate to a community organization. Karen's work at St. Columba's was part of her role in the Washington, DC area Episcopal community. For many years she offered parenting classes and she consulted with local institutions, including St. Philip's Child Development Center in Anacostia and All Saints Preschool in Chevy Chase, MD. Karen acted as chair of the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal School Association (MAESA) for six years and was on the board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NEAS) for eight years. In addition, as a long-term member of St. Alban's Episcopal Church, she contributed as both junior and senior warden and as a stalwart member of the flower guild. She participated in a diocesan committee to select priests and bishops. Upon retirement in 2006, Karen and her husband Earl relocated to Blue Ridge Summit, PA, where Karen cultivated not only her love for gardening but also her love of family, cooking, and reading. As a master gardener, she joined the local garden club and served as president from 2013-14, during which she planned local landscape beautification projects. Through her bridge club, she developed new friendships. She remained a long-term member in two book clubs, one in DC and the other in PA. As wife, mother, sister, and grandmother, she was friend, mentor, and advisor, creating an environment in which all felt welcomed. As Karen journeyed through life, she touched the lives of so many children, parents, and co-workers. Her ripples of influence can still be felt throughout her extensive community. A memorial service will be held when circumstances allow. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of these two projects: The playground redevelopment at St. Philip's Child Development Center in Anacostia; or The Karen Strimple Scholarship Fund at St. Columba's Nursery School. To support St. Philip's Child Development Center, please visit www.stphilipscdc.org and click on donate. To donate to St. Columba's, please send contributions to Saint Columba's Nursery School at 4201 Albemarle Street NW, Washington DC 20016.In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of these two projects: The playground redevelopment at St. Philip's Child Development Center in Anacostia; or The Karen Strimple Scholarship Fund at St. Columba's Nursery School. To support St. Philip's Child Development Center, please visit www.stphilipscdc.org and click on donate. To donate to St. Columba's, please send contributions to Saint Columba's Nursery School at 4201 Albemarle Street NW, Washington DC 20016.

MAESA 2020-2021 Event Updates as of August 2020
MAESA 2020 Fall Membership Meeting 
October 2, 2020 @ 10a.m. hosted with Grace Episcopal School, Kensington, MD
RSVP Here. MAESA is pleased to welcome Dr. Rebecca Resnik, as our keynote speaker at the Annual Members Meeting. Dr. Resnik will speak to us about, “The Science of Resilience in Children & What Schools Can Do to Cultivate It”. MAESA will hold this meeting virtually and is planning for breakout time in practitioner groups to allow peers to connect with one another too. The meeting is always free of charge, so please mark your calendar now and use this link to RSVP. We hope that even more adults in your schools will plan to participate this year given that it will be virtual. 

Dr. Resnik, a psychologist in Bethesda, oversees a thriving practice with two locations. She also consults with independent schools and speaks to professional associations, conferences and school groups. 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 or by working with parents and students directly to cultivate resilience.

MAESA 2020 Episcopal Schools Celebrations - not just for elementary grades this year! 
MAESA is working to plan a virtual worship service this fall and to activate a service-learning component too. MAESA has received an outreach grant from NAES to partially fund a service project this fall creating comfort bags (reusable backpacks) with items like mask, hand sanitizer, notebooks and pens/crayons to give to students in our communities within neighborhood schools, family shelters or after school programs. We hope to coordinate this service project in our schools in conjunction with the Episcopal Schools Celebration and will work with your school chaplains over the coming months to execute this idea. This year for the Episcopal Schools Celebration liturgy we envision offering a pre-recorded service that includes contributions from many more schools than usual, possibly having upper school student voices preaching and asking students of all ages to send us examples of service by sharing images and videos. Using the Becoming Beloved Community vision we will invite ALL of our schools, not only the elementary schools, to engage in StorySharing. You can learn more about this on the National Episcopal Church website. MAESA would also provide supporting materials for chaplains to use in your schools' worship as part of our Episcopal Schools Celebration. It is our hope to ask 3-4 middle school or upper school MAESA students to pre-record (StoryShare) a personal experience related to the Beloved Community commitments: Practicing the Way of Love, Repairing the Breach, Telling the Truth and Proclaiming the Dream. These testimonies could be shared with our schools’ chaplains as material to conduct StorySharing in their schools. Due to the lead time we anticipate for schools to collaborate with us and to help provide the content we want to see in our virtual Episcopal Schools Celebration, we are exploring moving the date to early November and focusing the entire month on expressions of love and service. 

MAESA Early Childhood Educators’ Conference
(Originally planned for Nov 6, 2020 at Washington Episcopal School)
There are a few scenarios that we are exploring for the Early Childhood Educators’ Conference for the 2020-2021 school year. The MAESA Board and the ECE Conference planning committee have both met to discuss how we will re-imagine our conference for our members if we cannot meet in person in November. MAESA plans to survey our early childhood programs to understand what types of training and delivery mechanisms may be most beneficial. MAESA hopes to offer an evening series of monthly workshops leading up to a culminating conference in 2021. This evening series of events would be open to all members, not only those in early childhood programs, and would cover a variety of topics. There is no doubt MAESA will be offering professional development and training in the upcoming year to our early childhood practitioners. We will continue to communicate with you as plans take shape. We are still accepting workshop proposals from early childhood educators for the conference at this link. Given the demands of the last school year, we have extended the period for teachers to offer workshop proposals and encourage you to share this with your faculty.  
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.

Mark Your Calendar
2020-2021 MAESA Events
Members' Meeting and Luncheon Friday, October 2, 2020 at 10 a.m. 
The MAESA Members' Meeting will be hosted with Grace Episcopal Day School, Kensington, Maryland. Our meeting will feature keynote speaker, Dr. Rebecca Resnik and will be virtual. Please RSVP here.

MAESA Episcopal Schools Day Celebration - Our celebrations and services will be virtual this fall. MAESA will be in communication with your chaplains and heads of school as we create our virtual worship service and work to execute our comfort bags service project planned for November.

MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference - stay tuned for a new date in the spring of 2021 for our in-person conference. In the meantime MAESA is planning 1-hour on-line workshop sessions to share this fall with our early childhood educators.

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 4th-8th grade. 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