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 The teaching methods at Shepherd are out of date and the programs are not on par with other private schools or even public schools for that matter.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.
As John Bradford said "There but for the grace of God go I." My kids are both graduates of SOTD and I am happy to say that they have both carried the morales and values they were taught at Shepherd into their adult lives. This was one of the main reasons my husband and I chose to enroll and keep our children in a SOTD. We wanted them in an environment that reinforced what we taught them at home. It was not always easy either financially or when dealing with day-to-day "personality differences" but they were given the tools and perspective from a caring and involved staff to make the correct decisions. Not only are they educationally prepared for high school and now college, they'll are also prepared to cope with all people in a tolerant and accepting manner. While we may not all agree or "like" each other, we must all learn to live in the same world. Shepherd's staff is excellent educationally also and goes the extra mile to help students learn proper study habits. So happy we made the decision to send our kids to SOTD. They both plan to continue the tradition when they have kids.....not to soon I hope!
We are new to Shepherd of the Desert, and so far it has been wonderful! My kids actually enjoy going to school. The teachers have also been a surprise. It often seems like kids are just a number, but both teachers have truly taken an interest in my kids. I had individual meetings with each teacher to discuss my needs and expectations as a parent. I was very pleased with how they listened to my concerns, and gave me the reassurances I needed. Overall I am very happy with the school, and look forward to see how the rest of the school year goes.
My son graduated from Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran School and was received with love and acceptance after relocating from the Midwest. The school is a close knit community, the teachers are caring and nurturing. The education was far superior over the public schools he had attended prior. The Christian foundation and well rounded education that he gained has been and is a huge blessing in his life. I strongly recommend this school.
This school went from an incredible reputation and education to the absolute opposite in less than 2 years. It's only getting worse from here and now it's not just the good and well behaved students leaving, but the good teachers too. It seems they too cannot handle the disruptive behavior allowed in the classroom. Because of the hitting, kicking, tantrums and other disruptions that are not at all discouraged, the children are unable to learn what their peers are learning at other schools. There isn't enough time to teach when there are so many distractions in class. I feel sorry for the parents who are continuing with the school hoping it will get better because their kids will only fall further and further behind. My kids love their new school and I'm so glad to be rid of this school and it's politics among the teachers, administration, board who lacks any experience, and "mean girls" parents' association. All in the name of God!
This school is on a very sad situation! They have decided to reward bad behavior in the name of disabilities and the good kids are punished because they cannot learn in the hostile environment that they are subjected to each day. Hitting, kicking, throwing, tantrums and other bad behavior is accepted so long as your child can be labeled as special needs. Nothing is done to stop or correct the behavior because anyone who sees a problem with it is labeled a bad person. I just wonder how much longer the school can survive with this philosophy? Why isn't something being done? If your child is a problem child, this is the perfect school for you. If, on the other hand, you have a good kid, you may want to consider a different school. The teachers and administration are all not only on board with this behavior, but they talk badly about people who want kids to be told it is not okay to be bad.
We were at SOTD for two years in the upper elementary grades. SOTD is not worth the $$$. The previous reviews about "mean moms" are true. Bad parent behavior is rampant throughout the grades and encouraged by the administration. The small class sizes are no advantage when you factor in that there will be a significant number of children who need special attention from the teacher because of a behavioral or learning disability. The classrooms are wrought with distractions from these children, and the level of academic achievement is just not where it should be for a school charging this much money. Over the two years that we were there, we watched as all the smart, well behaved kids and good parents left the school. We watched in horror as the teacher disclosed to another parent that we complained about the obscene gestures that their child was making toward our child in class. We were ostracized by the other parents and excluded. Finally, we were done with complaining to the cowardly administration and left as well. Worse, we paid good money to be treated poorly!