MAESA Matters September 2020


Greetings from MAESA.

"Welcome back to school!" It feels good to say whether it is in person or in the virtual realm. Some schools are back together in person with some or all grades while others are utilizing a variety of hybrid and distance models. Because of these variances in day to day operation among our member schools, and due to guidance from government officials and medical experts on large gatherings, our MAESA events will feel different in the coming months. One of the most important things MAESA is doing now is meeting with our many stakeholders to discuss the most effective ways we can reimagine and plan our events. MAESA wants to get it right. We want offer programming this year that is helpful to the adults and students in our schools, to be there for them without asking too much of them. See below about our plans for the Virtual Annual Membership Meeting, Episcopal Schools Celebration and our early childhood educator programming plans.

This week in the Episcopal Church calendar we honor the life of Alexander Crummell, an African American man born in 1819 who struggled against racism throughout his life. It is fitting that we acknowledge his life still today as our country continues to reckon with the scourge of racism two hundred years hence. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Massachusetts but denied a seat at the diocesan convention. He earned a degree from Cambridge University and spent much of his life as a missionary to Liberia. He famously said "If you are leaders, teachers, and guides among your people, you must have strength. No people can be fed, no people can be built up on flowers." In this season we pray for leaders in our schools and for teachers of all young people that they may have strength and grace in equal supply.

MAESA's Fall Membership Meeting will take place virtually on Friday, October 2nd at 10 a.m. as we welcome our keynote speaker, Dr. Rebecca Resnik. RSVP using this link and share this link with colleagues in your school. More details on the meeting and the keynote address are below.

Have you renewed your school's membership with MAESA? 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.

Welcome to new MAESA governing board members and board leadership! The MAESA Board is pleased to start the program year with Jamey Hein, Head of School at St. Martin's in-the-Field Episcopal School in Severna Park, MD as the board president and Danny Vogelman, Head of School at Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda, MD 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. Earlier in the summer we shared news of three new board members who will each serve 3-year terms: 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 this month's edition of Why I Teach in an Episcopal School we hear from St. Martin's-in-the-Field Episcopal School Head of School, Jamey Hein about his reflection as a leader of an Episcopal school in this time.
Why I Teach in an Episcopal School?

By Jamey Hein
MAESA Board President
Head of School St. Martin's-in-the-Field Episcopal School

Greetings MAESA Community,
I suspect this is likely the most unusual start to a school year most of us have ever experienced in our careers. One year ago, our imaginations were far removed from the variety of sweeping protocols, plans, scenarios, and PPE our schools have been compelled to deftly implement over these last few months. 
Here in our small school, just this morning as students returned to in-person learning, we traded in our morning handshake ritual for some excited masked expressions, waves, and wide eyes. Even though carpool dragged a bit longer due to the new temperature scanning, we managed to get them all in and took full advantage of outdoor time. I’ve quickly seen the benefit of a good outside mask break for kids and teachers, and it’s only just begun!
While we’ve chosen a path toward an in-person experience for our students and teachers, I am mindful of the great diversity of our MAESA schools – in their scope, size, and location – and that some are tackling their restarts under a different set of norms and guidelines. Whatever our scenario may be, the Episcopal tenet of community is now more prominent than ever on or off our campus. And by living into that unique relational and spiritual culture, we are blessed to have a foundation on which we can draw in this time of needed care-taking, conviction, and compassion toward our students, families, and each other. 
Our common goal toward community will also buoy us as we tackle other complexities beyond the pandemic. Current tensions and protests continue to play out in cities all while a contentious election looms on the horizon. I’m certain our shared identity will allow each of our schools to be pulled deeper into conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion and to remain steadfast in our mission to foster lives of innate good and difference-making.
By learning together – virtually, in-person, or a mix of both – our Episcopal communities will fuel and inspire us in this most unique year ahead where we will all be stretched in surprising new ways. 
I wish our schools much optimism, peace, and strength of community this year!

Jamey Hein
President, MAESA Board of Governors
Head of School, St. Martin’s-in-the-Field Episcopal School

MAESA Event Plans for 2020-2021
MAESA 2020 Virtual Fall Membership Meeting 
October 2, 2020 @ 10a.m. hosted with Grace Episcopal Day 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.  You can also RSVP through the MAESA website. Thank you to our meeting sponsor Southern Teachers for their support again this year!

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 Celebration and Service Project
This fall, because of constraints around gathering in large groups for worship, MAESA will not be able to host our traditional large services with our member schools. We are working to offer a virtual type of service or worship tools that can support your own school chapel times. We know that based on how our schools are meeting this fall, gathering for all school chapel is being done in creative ways depending on the size of your school. Our theme this year will center around Love and Becoming A Beloved Community and we are working hard to see how we can provide resources for Episcopal school celebrations. In addition, MAESA has received an outreach grant from NAES to partially fund a service project this fall. We are working to plan a project around comfort bags (reusable backpacks) with items like mask, 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 hopes 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 roll out this idea.

MAESA Early Childhood Educators’ Conference
(Originally planned for Nov 6, 2020 at Washington Episcopal School)
Given the many changes to our member schools' schedules this fall, the MAESA Early Childhood Educators Conference will be postponed. We are working to hold an in-person conference in the spring of 2021. Instead, 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. Schools can engage in these two workshops during a faculty meeting or on the originally planned professional development day of November 6th. We hope to have these sessions recorded in October for your use. 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 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.

MAESA Events in 2021

MAESA 2021 Choral Evensong: We know that given the constraints around large worship services and singing together in groups, MAESA will not be able to welcome nearly one dozen 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