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About This School

Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran is a private middle school in Scottsdale. The principal of Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran is Andy Benscoter, whose e-mail is paulbrandt@shepherdofthedesert.org. 261 children attend Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran and identify primarily as White, non-Hispanic; Asian/Pacific Islander; and Black, non-Hispanic. The ratio of students to teachers at Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran is 13:1. Desert Canyon Middle School is one of the nearest middle schools.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Arts

    • Band
    • Ceramics sculpture
    • Chorus
    • Computer arts
    • Dance
    • Drawing painting
    • Orchestra
    • Photography
    • Theater drama
    • Video film production
  • Languages Taught

    • Cantonese
    • French
    • Japanese
    • Mandarin
    • Spanish
  • Sports

    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Cross country
    • Football
    • P.E. classes
    • Soccer
    • Softball
    • Track
    • Volleyball
    • Yoga

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School
White, non-Hispanic 93%
Asian/Pacific Islander 7%
Black, non-Hispanic 4%
Hispanic 4%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0%
Multiracial 0%
Asian 0%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0%

Community Rating & Reviews

  • (4 months ago)

    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.

  • (4 months ago)

    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!

  • (5 months ago)

    We have been with SOTD for almost 3 years now. I love the teachers and staff and feel the curriculum and additional support is key to our son's success. The teachers' truly care about each student and the school is a very "family" friendly community. This is a fabulous school and I would recommend it to anyone.

  • (6 months ago)

    We are in the second trimester of our first year at Shepherd with a child in the five day kindergarten. We really like Shepherd. On a scale of 0 to 10 where ten is the best we would SOTD a solid 8.5. We like the approachability of the teachers the excitement seen in our child wanting to go to school (it definitely was no always this way with a preschool we were at in years past) the community of the school is welcoming. Yes you need to make an effort attend and get involved to meet others but that's a normal part of life at any school. The teachers really care about the kids and make learning fun. As far as kids that are severely autistic I wonder if the person that wrote this has ever seen a severely autistic child? I have to wonder as the situation presented in previous reviews is just not accurate. It sounds to me like fear based statements from someone who does not understand what autism is...and so rather than learning about it reacts with fear to it. My child is also in this class and it is not out of control the kids are not fearful and the kids are learning! I consider the statements made overly dramatic and misrepresenting the class. Just something to consider

  • (7 months ago)

    I'm saddened by the comments made toward this school and its staff. As a new employee I was welcomed with love and appreciation and continue to receive nothing less than that. In my opinion our staff goes above and beyond to make sure that everyone is treated fairly and respectfully. The education that the children receive IS on par with their grade level and our students are well prepared as they transition into the next year. Being in this faith based Christian environment is a blessing each and every day. I' m proud to be a member of this loving staff and would highly recommend this school!

  • (7 months ago)

    Oh my gosh!!! My kids are working ABOVE grade level compared to when they were in the public school! It was initially a struggle for them to get caught up but the teachers went above and beyond to help my children even staying after school! I laughed about the comments made about the principal and assistant principal...the principal is sweet and caring (yes she smiles a lot and I like that!). The assistant principal is also the middle school English teacher and if by bullying you mean she holds kids accountable then that's what my husband and I like! My daughter is now in high school and English is a breeze...the principal CARES and that is important. I LOVE THIS SCHOOL!

  • (8 months ago)

    We are very happy with the teachers and the education at SotD. Our daughter was in the 5 day kindergarten last year. It was a great experience and she was reading fluently by the end of the year. She now is in 1st grade and reading at a 4th grade level. The math is Singapore math and it is impressive to see how much she is learning. My one reservation is that many of the parents especially the core PTA group tend to be unfriendly.

  • (8 months ago)

    My children attended this school and the kindergarten is horrible! The principal is new and she does not have any background on how to run a school and is completely inept. She thinks smiling is enough but it's not and her greenness and unprofessionalism comes through with one conversation. The assistant principal is a bully never smiles and is generally very mean. It's clear why they didn't give her the principal job! The teachers are not teaching as they have too many problem children in class that they ignore and allow to hit other children and throw fits. Nothing is done about these children. It is likely because they are severely autistic and trying to be acclimated into a class where they do not belong. But when you complain you will be the problem. One child cannot even speak so he acts out physically and against the other children. How are kids supposed to learn when they are being attacked by other kids and nothing is being done to stop it. Shame on this school! The quality is terrible and I hate to see that happen after all that had been done to build it up. Bad teachers horrible "principal" if you can call her that and overall bad leadership. BEWARE!

  • (1 year ago)

    I love Shepherd of the Desert. We are entering first grade next year and my daughter is really thriving. The class sizes are small with attentive teachers and aides as well as parent volunteers. The community is warm and welcoming and she is getting great academic building blocks.

  • (1 year ago)

    I am sad to report that the value of this school has greatly deteriorated over the past 4 years. The lack of leadership dare I say character of our leaders has failed our children and our teachers. We used to be great now we are mediocre at best. My child received an A+ for Spanish a class that was taught every two weeks and then once a month in the last trimester. That is unethical. I don't want padded transcripts and half truths; this school is better than that. We have many wonderful teachers who invest in our children but the leadership over the past few years has pushed many of those out the doors. I pray God will intervene and save our school.

  • (1 year ago)

    Shepherd of the Desert is an Amazing school in so many ways! First the environment is Christ Centered and also focused on teaching our children the importance of helping the community! The teachers are caring and go above and beyond what their job description asks them to do! The environment is loving the education that my kids are receiving will and is preparing them for High School and when your child LOVES school you know you have them in the right spot! We LOVE SOTD and everyone there! It's a family kind of place!!!

  • (2 years ago)

    My son and daughter attended SOTD. My daughter was enrolled in the three day kindergarten. We were shocked and not prepared for the hostile nature of the school community. The teacher and some of the more involved parents were unfriendly and bullies. We complained many times to the teacher and principal that our daughter was not welcomed to play with the "popular" group of girls. The teacher encouraged us NOT to discuss this matter with the principal. Why can't we speak with the principal about this important issue? Well we did and he was receptive and tried to correct the problem. The teacher then decided to participate in the bulling. We were suprised when numerous parents shared with us that they too had reservations about this teacher. Our daughter did not attend the last three weeks of school. Instead of her kindergarten being a memorable year it was traumatic.

  • (2 years ago)

    We have two children who attend SOTD and we absolutely love ir! Great director and the teachers not only know and care for our kids but promote age appropriate development. Very nice clean facilities too. Highly recommend!

  • (2 years ago)

    Excellent teachers and a great atmosphere for learning. A focus on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior is very important for children to establish a firm foundation for life. The academics are second to none. We're so blessed to have our child @ Shepherd of the Desert since pre-K. The experience has been outstanding!

  • (3 years ago)

    Our daughter was in the pre-K program this year and did extremely well here! Her teachers were excellent & the "play" while learning was incredible. She is definitely ready for Kindergarten following this program.

  • (4 years ago)

    The junior high program has developed over the past two years into a premier academic program that shares the love of Christ. Little behavior issues within the junior high as negative parents and students have been asked to move onto other schools (note the negative May 22 2009 parent posting ). My son loves the teachers and wonderful variety in programs! Thank you SOTD!

  • (4 years ago)

    We have had 2 children at Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran School since 1st grade. It's been a wonderful experience for our family. We couldn't ask for anything more from a school.

  • (4 years ago)

    We have three kids at SOTD. I thinks it is one of the best kept secrets in Scottsdale. The academics are very strong and the teachers are excellent. There is also a strong feeling of community among the families here. We couldn't be happier.

  • (5 years ago)

    Our children have been at the school for many years starting out in the preschool. I would say that the elementry experience is wonderful. Caring invested teachers and an emphasis on doing the right thing in a faith based environment. The middle school is another matter. Middle schoolers are treated more like elementry schoolers with similar rules and expectations. There is little room for individualism and the structure is very limiting celebrating the plain vanilla wrapper child. The class sizes are small which is good for the academics but again can be limiting with very little social interaction created for the more mature junior high experience. The middle school was an add on and is still a work in progress. I would say if your child is shy or quiet they will like the experience. Children that are social creative or push the envelope will feel bored and frustrated.

  • (5 years ago)

    I have a 4th grader and a 2nd grader at the school and couldn't be happier! This school has such a strong sense of community not only among the parents and students but the staff as well. All of the teachers know every student regardless of grade and go out of their way to help each child. Having previously been at a charter school I can't say enough about how impressive this school is both academically and socially for my kids. They are really thriving and I've seen their confidence soar in the smaller environment. I also love the uniforms-no hassle getting the kids ready or them worrying that they don't have the 'right' clothes to wear. I would highly recommend this school!

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