In this day and age, it seems that everybody wants to be known. Consider the obsession with social media and the way individuals count their followers and number of “likes.” At Our Shepherd Lutheran School, the #beknown culture is embraced but in a different way. Here, #beknown is unrelated to popularity or likability, and is instead a reminder that when students walk into school, they are known by Christ first and foremost.
Students are also known by every teacher in the building, each of whom models a faith-based attitude and fosters a love of learning. In addition, students all know one another, from preschool through eighth grade, because classrooms intermix on a regular basis.
“Middle-school kids interact with our early childhood kids, playing games and reading with them,” says Tomi Mattick, admissions coordinator. “It gives younger kids role models to admire, and it instills a sense of pride in the older kids that someone is looking up to them.”
The child-to-teacher ratio in the early-education classrooms is 8-to-1, and classes cap out at 16. They have three early-education classrooms, and a bustling kindergarten that is expected to grow into another classroom. First- through eighth-grade classes are single classrooms, with capacity capped at 20 students. They also offer Spanish, art, physical education and music classes.
The school is built on 50 acres of land that includes two outdoor learning classrooms, which allows students to spend a significant portion of their day outside. They also utilize the cross-country course so that learning can coincide with fresh air and connection to nature.
“It’s great when you can take kids on a three-mile walk on the property and be part of what God has given them,” Mattick says. “They learn to appreciate and take care of the property.”
Each year the school’s staff chooses a bible verse that is prominently posted throughout the building, printed on field-trip T-shirts and spoken throughout the school day. The 2022-2023 school year will focus on Colossians 3:16 and the concept of nurturing. Service is a big part of the school, as the students serve the community in a variety of ways. For instance, they recently helped to collect more than 2,000 pieces of clothing for children in Haiti.
“The students are educated on why they’re doing it too,” Mattick says. “It’s not just, ‘Hey, can you bring in a T-shirt?’ We explain that not every kid gets to pull open their dresser and pick out an outfit for the day. Doing these types of things helps children see that even at a young age they can effect change.”
At Our Shepherd, teachers and administrators view parents as each child’s first and most important educators.
“We partner with families in their child’s education,” Mattick says. “Parents have a voice and a responsibility to uphold their child’s future. Things don’t just happen here in a vacuum for eight hours. What happens at home affects us too, so we want to be a collective community.”
If you’re looking for a warm, nurturing, loving environment that focuses on relationships, character and responsibility, stop by Our Shepherd Lutheran School and ask for a tour. Your child will thrive as they grow in mind, spirit and service.