Shepherd Park Citizens Association: May 17, 2017

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Shepherd Elementary School is located at 7800 14th St. NW. (Brian Kapur/The Current/September 2016)

Shepherd Elementary School has been a busy place! Two weeks ago the PTA held its Spring Soiree at the school. It was a big success with good food and merriment, while also raising funds for school programs.

Madame Koutouan Gadie was honored at the soiree for her selection as the Elementary World Language Teacher of the Year for D.C. Public Schools. Gadie came to Shepherd Elementary in 2007 from the Ivory Coast, where she had taught geography for 12 years in middle and high schools. After a stint in the after-care program, she spent time as a long-term substitute in French, and a temporary teacher before becoming the full-time French teacher in 2010. Since then, she has received a master’s in elementary education and is now nearing completion of her doctorate in leadership.

At Shepherd, Mme. Gadie has coordinated the Embassy Adoption Program with its Mini-UN, participated in the Family Engagement Collaborative’s home visits, developed a world language curriculum through the Curriculum Cornerstone Program, helped sponsor several International Day events, and served on the Academic Leadership Team.

Ranked as a “highly effective” teacher by D.C. Public Schools, Gadie is warm, open and extremely helpful to her colleagues. She has encouraged parents to learn French along with their children, sending home materials and alerting them to the many internet resources available.

Shepherd students performed a French folk dance at the World Languages Festival held at Deal Middle on Saturday. Gadie and teachers from Whittier Elementary and Wilson High each received flowers and a plaque, along with messages of praise from the three teachers’ principals. Congratulations!

Meanwhile, Shepherd has welcomed Antrina Leeth as its full-time librarian. Leeth comes from D.C. Public Schools’ Office of Teaching and Learning, where she served as the manager of the International Baccalaureate program. A graduate of the University of Florida, Leeth was an experienced teacher when she came to the D.C. school system as a Master Educator. Before moving to the central office, she served as an IB coordinator. Shepherd is pleased to have her as librarian, a role where she can use her teaching and IB experience to enhance the IB instructional focus and encourage French and Spanish offerings.

Several parents, including the PTA’s co-president Gwen Washington, recently met with Ward 3 D.C. Council member Mary Cheh in the first of six meetings to discuss possible solutions to the overcrowding at Deal Middle School and Wilson High School. They emphasized the importance of program considerations, not just numbers, in looking at the situation. Although no changes are anticipated until the 2022-23 school year, parents will continue to participate in the meetings to give input from the community and ensure that the academic IB offering available to Shepherd Elementary students will continue to be available to them at the middle and high school levels.

— June Confer