Teachers consider the appropriateness of homework and try to find a balance between family time and homework. As in any school, there may be times when students can be overwhelmed with projects and studying; however, this is a perfect opportunity to learn good time management. High school is difficult and Shepherd teachers need to prepare these kids for this challenge.
Middle school teachers are excellent in their academic approach. Students are challenged to think critically and analytically. Any high school student that I have spoken to who has attended Shepherd has been very successful in high school, no matter where they have chosen to attend school.
Teachers strive to instill a sense of compassion among students and to learn how to be respectful of one another even if they don't always agree. There are always plenty of "teachable moments" when students talk about incidents and how they can be resolved.
We have been at Shepherd of the Desert for 4 years now, including the preschool. No school is perfect, but I really like the warm, nurturing atmosphere of the school. The principal knows everyone's name and calls out hello every morning while he is directing traffic in the drop off lane. Class sizes are small- 15 or 16 students. My child had the most wonderful first grade teacher. She was so amazing.
I have read some of the recent not so great reviews and am confused by them. I have not experienced any "mean girl mom" behavior, nor any tolerance by the school of temper tantrums by other students. Also, the faculty and staff take any kind of bullying or unkind behavior towards others very seriously.
As for the school making the decision not to go ahead with Singapore Math- quite frankly, I was relieved. I really didn't care either way. Not a deal breaker for me.
It's a little heavy on the religion side for my taste, but it's a Christian, service oriented school, so this is to be expected. I don't mind it so much and the kids learn some good values. Nothing wrong with that!
I do wish the school had a track (the parking lot is currently used) and I would like to see more after school programs. There is an excellent weekly extracurricular art program and six week art workshops offered through the School of the Arts, but I would love to see Lego Engineering and robotics offered as well.
I had my child enrolled in the Scottsdale Unified School District for a year before I got so disgusted and decided I would never go back. It was awful. So impersonal, and no one cared. Just horrible. A friend told me about Shepherd of the Desert, and thank goodness she did! I will always be grateful to her for that.
Our children have attended Shepherd for three years now. This year will be our last. We have seen three principals in three years. The teaching methods at Shepherd are out of date and the programs are not on par with other private schools or even public schools for that matter.
We were very excited two years ago when Singapore Math was purchased and teachers were trained. The program was pulled after the first year and materials were literally thrown away. The new principal came in and announced the school would be going back to Saxon Math. No parent input, not much of an explanation. It was told to us later that there were several long time teachers who did not like the program and pushed for it to go. These are teachers who do not want to learn something new. Schools today are pursuing programs such as STEM and other innovative learning programs and techniques. Shepherd has reverted back to what is comfortable for their teachers and administration, not what is best for learners. The kicker was a tuition raise for next year. What will that money be used for? We don't know other then keeping enrichment programs in place and adding band. That's great, but we should be doing MORE then that in private schools.
Their kinder program is very weak. Saxon phonics is used which is helpful in the beginning of the year, but by mid-year most students have this and need to be pushed and reading books not just doing phonics worksheets.
It's a shame to see the direction this school has gone.
I have a child in the preschool and one on the main campus. We can't say enough great things about this school. The class sizes are small, the teachers are caring and loving, the families are friendly and involved, and my kids are happily learning here.