This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Shepherd Elementary School5
Posted October 23, 2014
- a parent
We did a TON of research into schools last year. Although our child was accepted at a nearby private, we decided to try Shepherd--we reasoned that the test scores were good and rising, the IB model was innately appealing, the feeders were some of the best in the city (Deal Middle and Wilson H.S.), and we liked the idea of supporting our neighborhood school. I am so glad we did. More and more young families in the area seem to be choosing Shepherd, so our daughter's PK3 class definitely has a "neighborhood" feel--she already knew several children in her class from the neighborhood playground, which made the transition even easier. She loves her teachers, and has made lots of new friends already. We also like that the school is quite diverse--some parents are Washingtonians born and bred, while others are international families. Finally, we were pleasantly surprised by the high level of parental engagement--on a recent field trip to the Smithsonian Discovery Theater, almost all of the children in the class had a parent chaperone on the trip. In short, Shepherd is a great choice for our family, and we look forward to coming years as our daughter matriculates through.
My son is in the first class of PK3 at Shepherd, and he could not be happier. He was happy in preschool before, and he is notoriously resistant to transitions, but he immediately fit in at Shepherd. The mornings are a cheerful walk to school; in the afternoons he comes running to tell me about his day. He loves his teachers and has made many friends in his class. His teacher assessed him early in the year, and though she was impressed by his preparation for school, she has promised to keep him challenged. The IB program encourages curiosity and critical thinking, and the curriculum is complemented by positive approaches to discipline and emotional/social development. Aftercare is well-organized and responsive to parents; they have a different "special" every day of the week (dance, PE, music, language, etc.). Our son is happy, challenged, and supported at Shepherd. We are done with the lottery!
Shepherd Elementary has meet or exceed all of our expectations for our son. The school is wonderfully renovated, and still has one more phase of improvement to go before the $20 million renovation is complete. Shepherd is also one of three schools in the city to use the acclaimed International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program (along with Yu Ying Public Charter School and Washington International School). All children are receiving either Spanish or French instruction three time a week as part of the standard curriculum. This school is truly a neighborhood gem, and a great school for my child.
I'm a neighborhood parent, kid in Pre-K 4 and we love Shepherd. We were at a great public charter last year, but the resources at Shepherd dwarf that of our last school. I'm in constant awe at all the cool things my four year old is exposed to. The kid takes violin lessons (at school!), gets Spanish 3x a week, 4x if you count aftercare, and also gets all the other specials - art, PE and library. Her teachers are very experienced and loving. The teaching style is play-based. In three months, the kid is sounding out far more words in books, reading at home and getting better at writing with legible letters. They have recess every day at a fantastic playground. And they go on monthly field trips (a pleasant surprise for us). I've also been impressed at parent engagement in the classrooms and the PTA. Our walk to school is the best part of my day. I'm not sure how it'll go in the later years, but I keep meeting parents with 1st and 2nd graders who tell me they chose to stay at Shepherd, despite chances to jump to schools West of the park. I think more families are realizing this school is definitely on an upswing and we're proud to be a part of that.
I attended Shepherd a long time ago, I have had one child graduate and two currently attending. No school is perfect but looking at other public school options in the city, I am happy with Shepherd. They could use some improvement but who does not need to improve. With the jobs and resources that the parents at Shepherd have, we could be better but you can't complain unless you have done all you can to help. We have a partially newly renovated building with plans to continue into next year. We have new energetic teachers with great ideas and ready to implement them. There has been a decline but things are changing for the better and are on there way back up if you don't believe me look at the scores. The statistics speak for themselves!
Shepherd school was an excellent school until all of the outstanding teachers left last year, total of five teachers leaving all at the same time. this to me points fingers at the way the principal manages her staff. Some changes need to be made, in order to bring this school in good standing like it use to be.
Shepherd Elementary has progressively declined over the years. My child has attended the school for 5 years. Instruction from teachers is severely lacking leaving parents to reteach fundamentals of math and language arts at home. Instruction is often replaced by websites meant to be a supplement such as "First in Math". Often times some of the newer teachers are dismissive of parents concerns which ultimately must be funneled to the principle who at this time is bombarded by complaints, yet no changes have been seen. Longevity of teaching staff has been a significant issue at the school. Many of the academic issues could be addressed by utilizing online resources properly such as posting homework assignments online, instead of steering students to video game type learning tools in lieu of classroom instruction. I can say that Music, Art, and Gym instruction are on track for this school.
Shepherd tries very hard but is a bit overwhelmed with trying to be an IB school.Academics are average at best. I was not impressed with teacher my child had. She had no up to date training and was not interested n teaching the whole child. The PTA is overwhelmingly the best thing about the school however if you dont live in the neihborhood you are kind of an outcast. Also if your child is new and you have not been a part of the school since Pre K you an outsider. It is in a very nice area of Washington DC and therefore gets credit that it doesnt deserve. The star average says it all.
My son entered Shepherd last year as a new PK student. As my wife and I were new to the District, we had out concerns with public education in the city. We went to several DCPS open houses, and felt very comfortable with the Shepherd community. Not only has our son's want for academic success grown, but our family feels enriched by the caring environment. As a father, I am pleased with the leadership and the school's direction.