My son's teacher is very supportive of him and actively reaches to the parents for support.
The principal is new, and she too is open to ideas to foster a better school environment.
The PTA is very active and committed.
My son has great friends, and has bonded with all classmates.
In the 2015-2016 school year, Shepherd ES hosted an astronaut at its school; visited the U.S. Supreme Court and met with Chief Justice Roberts; and have competed in science fairs hosted by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
Just know that there are different philosophies employed at other schools that are more nurturing.
At some DCPS schools, you may find both the principal and vice principal greeted every family at 8 AM every day.
The suggested PTA donation is $180/year per family. Some don't even both to give that much. Some schools ask 2-10 times that amount from their parent families in part because the money can supplement the school curriculum.
Lastly, I have seen too many parents act like teenagers who simply do not follow rules.
This includes the following: parking in the public crosswalk;
parking their cars and blocking the alleyway used by residents;
parking a car with a pit bull inside, but the window fully down to intimidate pedestrians (no kidding);
clogging up the drop off/pick up lanes by parking their car;
PK 3 and PK 4 parents (the most coveted neighborhood spaces) arriving in cars with Virginia and Maryland tags;
and finally, parents who do not pay for after care, yet routinely leave their children at the school until 6 PM.
This neighborhood deserves better.
Supplies were requested from all parents at the beginning of the year. Day 1, I could see which parents brought supplies and which simply showed up. Almost 200 school days later, you get to know those who just show up. The kids, in this class, kept breaking the pencils in part because they were afraid that others would take and that they, themselves, would be without any pencils or pens.
Having been at Shephard ES for 5 years now, the school continues to grow into its IB program and parent engagement. I love the way the school teaches and encourages critical as well as creative thinking to prepare our children for the global economy. My oldest is currently in Middle School and has thrived from day one. I believe that Shepherd had a lot to do with it. My middle child, who is an introvert, decided to run for a student government office and was encouraged by his teacher and administration. Finally, my youngest, who is in Kindergarten, has grown leaps and bounds in learning to read.
My family is now in our second year at Shepherd ES. Both of DC's teachers have been friendly, but very firm, regarding their academic expectations and classroom management styles. They created an environment where hard work and success were rewarded and they even allowed a little scholarly competitiveness to develop among the top students. The IB curriculum has been implemented wisely and DC has enjoyed all of the projects that have been assigned. I'd give school management a solid 'B' grade. All of our paperwork has been processed w/o issue. The principal is not going to knock your socks off with an inspiring speech but she keeps the trains running on time. PTA leaders and active parents are helpful and more than willing to welcome new families into the community. Overall, we are very pleased with Shepherd ES and we are so happy to have a resource like this in our community, especially since we can walk to school instead of commuting a long distance. Before we enrolled, we heard lots of mixed reviews about the school, but we are happy to report than the negative comments were either unfounded or the issue they described has been addressed.
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.