Admission Viewbook 2021

Page 1

THE REAL “US.” At Good Shepherd Episcopal School, we start and end with children - your children, who we share for a few short years. Our exceptional curriculum and signature programs are designed to encourage learning through a well-balanced and meaningful educational experience for all students, prekindergarten through eighth grade. At Good Shepherd, our mission is to inspire your children to learn with confidence, serve with compassion, and lead with courage. From the first day of prekindergarten through eighth grade graduation, we do our best to provide an environment to achieve this mission. Our early childhood program allows the youngest of our students to discover their own joy and confidence in how they learn. They are able to participate in a myriad of activities to uncover strengths, develop creativity, implement important socialization skills, begin to serve others, and even learn early leadership skills. In the lower school, our students continue to grow, discovering new interests, establishing strong moral values, and building selfesteem and confidence. In the middle school, our students continue to explore learning, identifying their gifts, stretching their minds, pursuing their leadership potential while remaining in a closeknit community where all students are being encouraged and nurtured. At the end of eighth grade, Good Shepherd students are well-prepared to matriculate to any top high school in the Dallas area. They have grown to better understand themselves and can imagine their exciting futures. This understanding positions them beautifully to participate fully in the high school search process, finding that just-right high school fit. Come by our campus to visit and experience the community that is Good Shepherd Episcopal School.

feel the

at gses!

Early childhood and lower school teachers know better than most that there is no crystal ball that predicts the future, so we teach our students to think and do for themselves. We give them the skills and substance to be adaptable, versatile, and able to think on their feet.


good shepherd

because it was my children’s second home. - Alumni parent

early childhood


my teacher’s hugs, and she lets me run and play” - Andrew, PreK student

lower school I

good shepherd because

we are a family here. I have fun each and every day, and I always look forward to coming to work. I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to share my love of learning, and I truly feel honored to be a part of this community! It’s a dream job for me!” - First grade lower school faculty

Everything we do academically at Good Shepherd is intentional and deliberate, intended to be customizable to the unique learning styles of each child. Our faculty is gifted and exceptional. Through ongoing professional development, they have perfected a delicate balance between telling their students what they need to know and letting them figure things out for themselves.

The classroom environment allows for a space of creativity, exploration, and adaptability. Tables for facilitating teamwork replace traditional desks. Technology is ubiquitous and integrated for meaningful, productive learning. Our student-centered learning incorporates plenty of time for play, movement, and collaboration. Students work together to create, produce, and construct, not consume.

Throughout the curriculum we encourage teamwork, partnership, and camaraderie among our students. From the Classroom of the Earth trips, where our kids tame the wilderness together, to the ensemble music-making of the Orff classes, to the SPARQ Innovation Space, designed to foster collaboration and a sense of shared purpose, each of our programs encourages the intentional development of mindful habits.


good shepherd

because the teachers are dedicated to helping students achieve both their personal and academic best. The school’s dedication to a solid academic program, the arts, daily physical education, and chapel make it a nurturing place where young people can thrive and grow into confident, compassionate adolescents.” - Current family

Lower school my teacher taught me that in this world you have to go with your gut and look for what is true.” - Jack, 4th grade student

Our nurturing environment ensures that all lower school children are ready for their next step into our middle school. They are ready to follow their own paths to reach their greatest potential - and blossom into engaged, enthusiastic scholars with a diverse range of talents. At Good Shepherd, the school day doesn’t end after the last bell rings. Many of our students fill that tricky time of day, after school but before dinner, with something fun and interesting. Our Capers extended day program, and our Encore enrichment offerings provide numerous gradelevel activites and a head start on homework.

Good Shepherd’s middle school academic program is unbridled vigor! Our objective is to bring out “the BEST” in each student. What does “the best” mean? We define it as celebrating and fine-tuning the unique qualities inherent in each student and guiding them to discover and employ their diverse strengths to develop their full potential. Being a GSES middle schooler means taking academic risks, asking questions, even falling down once in a while, because we are in a setting where it is understood we are still learning. It is through the total experience that each student receives the type of education that is ideally suited to their aptitude and their passions in preparation for high school.

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about gses

is that it provides the quality education

Without the influence of a high school program, our middle school students have the freedom to discover their own strengths. Through a variety of designed learning experiences,

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opportunities to learn individually and and supported as they navigate

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middle school students regularly

nurtured and treated

and complex problem solving.

special in their own way! Whether athletic, artistic, or mathematic, my son’s talents are cultivated. The entire school is a community…. students, faculty, and parents. It is a great place to call home!” - Current parent

as they prepare for high school, our grapple with higher levels of thinking

The classrooms in our middle school will look and feel differently than those of surrounding schools. They are mobile and modular. Round tables for group discussions, rolling desks for project partners, traditional desks for teacher instructed learning – at Good Shepherd we have it all. Why? Because the real world is about being adaptable and flexible to any situation, and our faculty ensure that each student is equipped with the tools and skills they will need to succeed here and in whatever high school they attend.

GSES is a tremendous gift to our family. The strong sense of community, the support our children receive from their teachers, and the confidence that has blossomed in them are outstanding. GSES has created a bond between the school and our children that gives them so much happiness every day and memories that will last a lifetime.” - Current parent

It is no wonder that our students go on to attend the top high schools in the area, and many receive scholarships for their academic achievements. Recent graduates have been accepted to:

Bishop Lynch High School Booker T Washington High School Cistercian Preparatory School The Episcopal School of Dallas Greenhill School The Hockaday School Jesuit College Prep. School of Dallas John Paul II High School Parish Episcopal School School for the Talented and Gifted, Dallas School of Science & Engineering Magnet St. Mark’s School of Texas Ursuline Academy of Dallas



25 tapps championships

cross country


in the past eight years

track & field


80% of seventh & eighth graders particIpate



in at least one of our nine athletic offerings

Good Shepherd Episcopal School is an outreach of The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd and enjoys a healthy and fruitful relationship with the church. As an Episcopal school, we have a reverence for faith and reason along with a sense of duty to serve others rooted in the Episcopalian tenets, but inclusive of all beliefs and backgrounds. The connection of our spirituality is Chapel, a place, program, and sanctuary for students, faculty, and staff of all beliefs and backgrounds. Chapel is where our entire community comes together to nurture the spiritual beings we are and to encourage one another on our journeys of faith.

Being able to help build a foundation for children rooted in Christian beliefs and traditions while allowing them to preserve their own families’ religious heritage is a true honor. i

gses because i have

the opportunity to help students understand different points of view in a diverse society while fostering god’s teachings of caring and sharing with respect and dignity. for me, there is no greater chaplain’s blessing than to help open the eyes of a child’s heart!” - Lower school lay chaplain and alumni parent


Our Christian faith and values explain why we do some of the things we do - not just why we start our day with prayer or have chapel, but why we try to forge a meaningful community or take on acts of service and social justice. All of that comes out of our understanding of what it means to be God’s people in the world. And those tenets we share with other faith traditions include our belief that: • Everyone has inherent worth as a creation of God. • Every individual shares responsibility for the community to put their best effort forward in all areas. • Individual moral integrity and a core of common values are essential to every community. • Mutual respect among people of varied backgrounds and perspectives leads to positive, beneficial relationships. • Individuals thrive in a safe, nurturing environment where they can be comfortable in taking risks and where they can develop their talents.

EPISCOPAL TENETS 1. Common Prayer 2. Intellectual Discipline 3. Welcoming Community 4. Respect for Others 5. Compassionate Service

While many schools have STEM labs, Good Shepherd went in a totally different direction with the creation of SPARQ (Solving Problems, Asking RealWorld Questions) - a unique learning space where students at all grade levels use the latest advances in technology to enhance projects or create and gain new skills from leap motion, 3D modeling and printing, robotics, coding and circuitry, to rapid prototyping and film making.

Child by child, we harness technology to customize effective teaching for a multitude of learning styles. Hundreds of grade-level applications are supported by our educational technologists who know how to use them to enhance learning. They give our teachers a framework through which each child can engage in individualized and self-directed ways.

Our Classroom of the Earth (COE) program is outdoor education in a class of its own. It’s the original. It’s groundbreaking. The wilderness gets wilder as our students get older. Nature hikes in PreK through first grade give way to a ten-day hiking/ camping adventure in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in eighth grade. In their years here, the students will hike over 50 miles, travel over 5,000 miles, canoe 10 miles, and raft 11 miles, among other adventures; the scope of the program goes way beyond nature study.

COE is one of the best things our school has to offer. camping for days on end is an exciting, challenging, rewarding experience. ” - Bella 6th grade student

You’ll be amazed at the places your children will go. Children learn best by doing. They learn that the world extends way beyond the “walls” of our everyday lives. And they learn so much about themselves and how their individual efforts impact the success of their peers. It is real world education, and nobody does it better than we do.

classroom of the earth


Our Spanish curriculum is creative, ambitious, and designed to go way beyond merely learning to speak the language. Because students start Spanish in PreK, our Spanish curriculum is designed to dig deeper into cultural backgrounds, advanced sentence structure, and real world stories. Native speakers from South America visit our classes to tell all about their language and their lives. Due to our students’ comprehensive preparation, they are both conversationally proficient and culturally knowledgeable. Most of our graduates are placed in second-year Spanish or beyond in their first year of high school. A summer immersion program in Costa Rica is available for older students.


gses because

of our fine arts and foreign language programs. We have so many interesting tools for creating, and in my case, performing.” - John 5th grade student

What happens at the crossroads of creative expression, academic freedom, and ample time? In a word, art, the way it’s done at Good Shepherd. We give generously to the arts here, with art and music classes alternating every day, starting in first grade. Creativity is free to blossom, and being creative becomes a habit without ever being mundane. Orff Schulwerk is a process of teaching music that has been around for over one hundred years. It is beautiful in its simplicity. Based on things all children like to do - like clap, dance, sing, and keep a beat - music is made without constraint or convention. The Orff process is proven to make music relevant to children at all grade levels in a personal way, which can fuel their creativity as they grow and develop as artists. Visual art class is held twice a week, every week of every year, at Good Shepherd. Beginning in lower school, students study painting, drawing, and sculpture. They learn principles of line, shape, form, color, texture, contrast, pattern, rhythm, and space. By middle school, we explore broader subjects, including two-and threedimensional design and printmaking. A year-long drama class for eighth graders produces two live events each year. The class is designed to build children’s confidence and comfort with presenting themselves live and in person. In addition, the Musical Theatre Club for fifth through eighth grade stages a musical each year.

eight for eight

During the first eight years of school, your child is constantly growing – physically, mentally, and emotionally. At Good Shepherd, our programs and curriculum are focused on discovering how your child learns; allowing them to identify their strengths, interests, gifts, and learning style in a community where all are encouraged and nurtured.

The Good Shepherd connection continues throughout life. Our students know that just as in choosing a high school that is compatible with their aspirations, likewise they know how to choose colleges and universities to fulfill their potential in becoming learners, benefactor, and leaders. They maintain close relationships with their friends, teachers, and coaches throughout high school and college, and often return to give back to GSES in many different ways. We even have alumni and alumni parents who come back to serve as teachers, staff, and administrators for future generations of GSES students.

As a PreK-8th grade school we create a well-balanced and meaningful educational experience around key developmental areas: Intellectual – A strong foundation of comprehensive instruction across all grade levels where faculty discuss your child’s academic strengths and needs across the divisions. We know and understand your child over time and can help them maximize their potential over the years. Emotional – A -- --community that provides students the chance to join together to serve others with compassion and lead with courage.

As an outreach of The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, our inclusive faith-based community provides all students, of every age, a sense of the values and skills necessary to become an accepting positive influence in the world around them, respective of their individual beliefs and backgrounds.

For many students, entering Good Shepherd in our PreK program allows them the freedom to participate in unlimited activities, uncovering strengths and realizing the things that matter most – free from the pressure of a K-12 school environment. Our lower school students have the advantage of being a critical part of the life of our school and experiencing all of the resources, programs, and extras of a bigger school. As for our middle school students, they are not “caught in the middle” and instead become leaders and role models, recognition usually reserved for seniors in high school.

With an exceptional scholastic background behind them, it’s no surprise that our students matriculate to the top high schools in the area. Our eighth graders spend a year as part of a well-designed, personalized process. From creating resumes and learning how to prepare for an interview, to mock high school admission visits, to meetings and advice from our director of high school placement, our students are pursued because they are wellprepared, self-assured, self-confident, and well-rounded, often becoming leaders in their high schools.

Your child is involved in choosing a high school that is compatible with their aptitude and passions. Our students receive the high school education that is ideally suited to who they have become – not one that was chosen for them as a preschooler. They know what questions to ask to help guide their journey, making their college selection with more confidence than their peers from 12-year schools.

the eightH GRADE advantage

New studies show that the first eight years of school are the most critical for students in developing their creativity, moral values, self-esteem, and confidence. At the end of eight years, our students emerge with a strong sense of self because they have a multitude of opportunities to explore leadership and service at all ages.

at the

of gses

All three of my children gained knowledge, courage, confidence, and compassion because of their Good Shepherd experience. They are who they are today and where they are today in large part to gses.” - Alumni parent

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PreK: Application Admission Testing Teacher Evaluation (if applicable) Student Records (if applicable)

Kinder: Application Admission Testing Teacher Evaluation Student Records (if applicable) CATS Testing

First Grade: Application Admission Testing Teacher Evaluation Student Records CATS Testing On-Campus Observation

Second–Fourth Grade: Application ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) Teacher Evaluation Student Records Student Questionnaire Student Visit

Fifth-Eighth Grade: Application ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) Math Teacher Evaluation English Teacher Evaluation Student Records Student Questionnaire Student Essay Student Visit