We Are Shepherd:  A safe, respectful, and positive community where our high expectations and emphasis on personal growth support all students being successful, lifelong learners.

    We Are Shepherd:  Empowering students to achieve greatness.

    Built Upon:  ResPect - LeadeRship - IntegrIty - KinDness - AchiEvement

    Tuesday, June 04, 2024


    I've always said that the school years tend to fly by, and this year is definitely no different.  Maybe time is going faster as I get older.  I'm not sure.  Anyway, we have put a wrap on the 2023-2024 school year.  We culminated the year with 57 seniors graduating.  Congratulations to them and their parents.  They are now on to the next stage of their lives, whatever that may be.  I wish every one of you nothing but the best in your future!

    The end of the school year also means that we are starting to prepare for the next year.  With that in mind, there are a few things that I would like to address to give all students and parents a heads-up going into the 2024-2025 school year.  1) Discipline Issues that involve insubordination/disrespect...in reviewing discipline data from the last couple of years, I have noticed an increase in volume in this category.  Therefore, this will be a focal point for me in the upcoming year to bring back that 'old school' respect that everyone (students and staff) deserves.  Consequences will be given appropriately, along with a call home to discuss the issue.  2) Cell Phones...with all the drama and social media issues that are created by the constant use of cell phones, students will be required to keep their cell phones in their lockers at all times, except lunchtime.  I have a 100% commitment from my high school staff to uphold this rule.  That is absolutely key to making this work.  Everything teachers ask students to do can be completed on the chromebooks that are provided for them.  There will be no excuses for a student to be carrying a cell phone.  Consequences will be the same as in the preceding years.  Please check the high school handbook for those consequences. 3)  Attendance...will be stressed, again.  It is imperative that the school and parents are on the same page in this vital area.  Data shows that those students that have chronic absenteeism struggle in school.  Parents, I am asking that you make sure to read the high school handbook regarding our attendance policy.  Be very familiar with it.  I understand if a kid gets sick during the night, and they may need to miss the next day.  I get it.  That's what those 10 days are for...the occasional missed day.  If doctors' appointments are required, parents please try to schedule them first thing in the morning or after school.  I know your student may want it in the middle of the day in order to miss the better part of the day, but that is an 'attendance killer'.  Also, if a student has a doctor's appointment, please have the student return with a doctor's note so that we can qualify it as a medical absence.  Vacations are also 'attendance killers'.  If at all possible, please schedule those types of events during breaks in school. 

    You may notice that the three items above are, more or less, behavior issues.  Here's the deal...they all affect the learning that should be or will be occurring in each classroom.  Our first priority, except for safety, is the learning opportunity of each and every student.  The three items mentioned above (along with some others) adversely affect that opportunity.  It is our responsibility to provide that education.  We can only do that if we (staff, students, and parents) are all on the same page.  That also connects to what I have always said about behavior/discipline issues...own it, accept the consequence, learn from it, and move on.  I have droned on for a little bit here, but I do think it's imperative that students and parents understand where I am coming from when it comes to some of these issues and the need for us to all work together.  If you have a question regarding any of this, please do not hesitate to contact me at the high school (373-5300) or via email (kj-poepping@shepherd.k12.mt.us). 

    We will be welcoming some new high school staff members this coming year:  Mrs. Amber Desmarais (English), Mr. Marc Dorfman (Science), Miss Rachel Stratman (Science), Miss Stephanie Bushnell (Vo-Agri), and Miss Aspen Jonas (Art).  Please help us to welcome them into our community and school family.  Help us to make it a great year for them. 

    And to update parents...we are changing our bell schedule a little bit this year.  The high school and middle school will be running the exact same bell schedule.  On Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, we have placed our 30-minute Study Hall after fourth period and before lunch.  We will then run periods 5-7 after lunch.  Students will be dismissed at 3:35PM.  All freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are required to stay through this 3:35 time.  On Monday and Wednesday, we will have periods 1-5 before lunch and then run periods 6-7 after lunch.  Students will be dismissed at 2:45PM.  Note: Seniors do have the option of an early-out if earned.  Any questions regarding this, please contact me.  

    As we head into the next school year, again I would stress that we all need to work together to provide the best opportunities for our students by working together.  These students, this staff, the parents, and this community have done some amazing things over the past five years or so.  We need that to continue.  We want to be the BEST!  Let's do this!


    K.J. Poepping, Principal