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Good Shepherd Lutheran opens K-2 school

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By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

A Christian-centered environment; plans to expand to 6th grade

With opening of the 2019-2020 school year, a new Christian-based school has joined the ranks of Bastrop private schools. Good Shepherd Lutheran School, located on the grounds of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 202 Texas 71 West, has embarked on an ambitious program to offer families an educational alternative with the opening of its kindergarten through second grade school. The school recently opened and plans to add additional grades each year to the 6th-grade level. There is already an onsite pre-K/extended care program – Little Sheep Learning Center – which has proved highly popular with parents. We sat down for an interview with Alysa Johnson, Head of School for Good Shepherd Lutheran School.

Why did you decide to offer education for grades K-2 in Bastrop?

“We decided to offer a private Christian educational option for the families of Bastrop from an overwhelming amount of support shared with us as children exited our pre-K program,” Johnson said. “We understand that communities thrive where educational options exist.”

What are some of the key goals and attributes of the K-2 school, and as it expands in the future?

Students enjoy the first day of school. (Terry Hagerty Photos)

“Parents value the fact that we acknowledge God throughout the day in our lessons.” Johnson said. Students also pray before each meal and have a designated chapel time where prayer and religious lessons occur.

Curriculum and Extended Care – Johnson said the school’s curriculum is “100 percent aligned” with the Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills curriculum, which are the state standards for what students should know and be able to do, by subject and grade level. “Good Shepherd Lutheran School wants to ensure that if our children leave this program and move to any educational program, they can streamline into another setting,” Johnson said. “Our children are well prepared and are above grade level when exiting our program.” Innovative math and science technology are part of school instruction. Students are learning coding, e-publishing and using virtual keyboarding. Yoga, music, art, and physical education are also part of the program. Good Shepherd Lutheran School will also partner with other local private Christian schools to offer UIL activities, as well as field days and athletic competitions. The school offers an extended-care option in an educational setting before and after school. Johnson said it provides an “organized homework time” along with enrichment program. It is also available on closure and staff development days. Extended care includes fun and engaging lessons and field trips. 

How will Good Shepherd Lutheran school serve the whole child?

Johnson said the school’s attributes of “faith development, academia, and our nutritional plan... serves our children in mind, body and spirit. We are making a connection between home, school, and church to serve the whole child.”

Lead teacher Jill Messina reads to students. Describe the school’s physical layout, the initial number of teachers and their educational qualifications.

Johnson said a new 1,700 square-foot modular building includes three classrooms. Jill Messina is the lead teacher. Alyssa Price is assistant teacher and program enrichment coordinator. Messina is Texas-certified for K-6, ESL, early-childhood instruction, reading specialist, elementary education and principal. Messina also has a master’s in elementary education. Price joined Good Shepherd Lutheran in 2018 and has been heading up the Little Sheep Learning Center’s after-school and summer program. Price “has played an active role in the faith development of our preschool,” Johnson said. Price studied at Stephen F. Austin State University and has worked in two school districts prior to joining Good Shepherd Lutheran school.

The school is currently accepting enrollment applications – beyond the first day of school – with approved academic documentation from previous educational institution and a review by appropriate school officials. Call 512-410-6818 for more information and tuition rates.