Life With Ferris: Good Shepherd School Celebrates 50 Years

  • Monday, December 11, 2023
  • Ferris Robinson
Good Shepherd School circa 1988
Good Shepherd School circa 1988

Good Shepherd School celebrated a 50-year anniversary this fall, and both former and current teachers and students enjoyed celebrating on the lovely grounds at Church of the Good Shepherd. Director Sandy Skorput was on hand for the special occasion, and has worked tirelessly for years as head of the school. During the challenges of the pandemic, she prioritized the safety of the students and their families and the staff of the school, and maintained the integrity of the school – not a small feat.

My sons attended decades ago, and my granddaughter has been a student for almost three years. Mary Jane is delighted every morning when she dashes into her classroom, “full of excited” to get to school. She has learned about letters and numbers and art and sharing and taking turns and listening and kindness and all manner of important things.

Founded in 1973 by several communicants, the school originally consisted to two classes of 4-year-olds and two classes of 3-year-olds. “Mothers’ Day Out” began seven years later, serving children aged 6 weeks to 2-years-old, and the two programs merged. “Lunch Bunch” extended the hours until 2 p.m. in 1982, and extended care followed 10 years later.

Good Shepherd School’s directors include: Margaret Welsh Bryan (1973-1974); Cornelia Hines (interim1/75-5/75); Margaret Smith (1975-1982); Becky Sutter (1982-1998); Pate Bagley (1998-2002); and Sandy Skorput (2002 – Present)

In 1989, Tida Landry became the first school bookkeeper, and the school was accredited by National Association of Early Childhood Education in 1994.

In 2008 Lunch Lab was added to the program. Lunch Lab, held from 12-2 p.m. for four and five-year-olds, is a curriculum-rich alternative for children about to enter kindergarten. It includes both instruction and hands-on learning opportunities in literature (phonics, reading and writing), math and science. Morning instruction prepares the children for the hands-on labs, which include laboratories of learning, taking what they have learned and applying that knowledge. It includes outdoor and indoor classroom experiences.

Good Shepherd School has become a wonderful service to the community and an outreach of the church. Good Shepherd School has earned the highest level of excellence in all areas of operation for the past 21 years from the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Through active partnerships between family and school, students who attend Good Shepherd School are challenged and motivated in order to reach their full potential. At the same time positive encouragement, nurturing and praise are abundant each day and seen as essential for developing confidence and positive self-image for all children.

Since its inception, the vision of the school is to be an exciting, nurturing community where the students, teachers and parents learn and live in daily affirmation of God’s love. The school proudly shares the enduring baptismal commitment to the unique worth and dignity of all human beings to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all its forms. Here’s to another 50 years!

* * *

Ferris Robinson is the author of three children’s books, “The Queen Who Banished Bugs,” “The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds,” and “Call Me Arthropod” in her pollinator series “If Bugs Are Banished.” “Making Arrangements” is her first novel. “Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity” is a collection of true tales about man’s best friend. Her website is ferrisrobinson.com and you can download a free pollinator poster there. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.

Ferris Robinson
Ferris Robinson
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