The staff and administration at Shepherd Elementary and the PTO work together to communicate to our families. There are two main types of communications: (1) general communications include day-to-day activities, events and news happening at the school on a weekly basis, and (2) emergency communications include urgent notifications, such as unexpected safety and security situations and school closings and delays due to weather.

General Communications


  • The Shepherd website contains information that relates to the entire school body. The website is always the first place to find information (non-emergency) on what is taking place at school. The website is primarily maintained, managed and updated by the PTO’s volunteers with information provided by the school staff and administration.
  • All general school-wide communications from Principal Russell, Shepherd administrative staff, and PTO leadership, including announcements, event notices and other news about the school, are posted on the website ( You will find the most recent posts and announcements prominently displayed on the Home page, and older posts can be viewed on the News and Notes page.
  • Upcoming events and important dates are also displayed on the Home page of the website. The full calendar can be viewed here. If you would like to incorporate Shepherd’s calendar of events within your own calendar (Google, Outlook, etc.), you can find the calendar online at this link.

Email and Text Messages

  • Principal Russell distributes The Mustang Newsletter via email to all enrolled families weekly on Fridays. She will also occasionally send important notifications as text reminders.
  • On Wednesdays, the PTO distributes a separate email bulletin to all families who are registered as PTO members. This weekly communication is a compilation of highlighted news and events for the coming weeks. All families are asked to please sign up to receive the weekly PTO Bulletin on AtoZ Connect. This is an opt-in e-mail list, which means that you must go to the website and register directly. Even if you have provided your e-mail to your teacher, the front office or on a DCPS form, you must still register in order to receive e-mail communications from PTO on what is happening at Shepherd.
  • If you are registered with AtoZ Connect and do not receive the weekly PTO bulletins or Digital Backpack mailings, please contact the PTO Communications Committee at [email protected].

Classroom Communications

  • Each teacher and designated room parents will communicate individually with their families with information specific to their classrooms. Please see your child’s teacher and room parent representatives for their preferred method of communication.
  • Each student will be asked to provide a folder at the beginning of the school year. Teachers utilize these folders differently and many times will use it to send home papers and homework. On occasion, the PTO and Shepherd Administrative Staff also use the folders to send home paper copies of information.
PTO-Sponsored Account
The PTO also sponsors an all-school family listserv hosted via This is a great forum to dialogue with other Shepherd families across classes and grades. You must opt-in to this account. To register, visit the Shepherd Elementary website and click on "Apply for Membership in this Group" or send an email to: [email protected]

Emergency Communications

  • DCPS and the school administration are responsible for communicating to families regarding emergencies and school closures and delays. The PTO and room parents should not be relied upon for emergency communications.
  • For school emergencies, the school will communicate with parents and families via their e-mail, ROBO call and text message system. They will use the information on file with the front office. Please make sure that the front office has your up-to-date information so that you can be contacted in an emergency.

Need to Notify the Shepherd Community About an Event or Have News to Share?

  • Email any information, flyers, and photos (if available) to [email protected]. The deadline for submissions for the weekly PTO Bulletin is Tuesday at 5:00 pm. Because the newsletter is reviewed by several individuals before distribution, we must adhere to this deadline. Please note: Inclusion in the PTO Bulletin or other school and PTO communication channels is at the discretion of the newsletter editors, the PTA Co-Presidents, and the Principal.
  • Material for the distribution must be: (1) for the benefit of Shepherd students; (2) related to activities or programs that take place on Shepherd school grounds, or for specific Shepherd-sponsored events or programs; (3) from and for not-for-profit organizations (unless #1 and #2 above are satisfied); and (4) submitted by an official representative of the organization or program referenced.
  • Submission reminders: Please include all text in the body of the email (rather than as an attachment). All links or email addresses will be made active (clickable). If you wish to run a notice for more than one week, please indicate the dates when the notice should run, or resubmit the notice by the Tuesday deadline for each week. Prepared flyers for AtoZ Digital Backpack should be in PDF or JPG format.

Legacy Mustang Newsletters

  • For many years, Shepherd Elementary School's newsletter,The Mustang, was published in print by the Shepherd PTO and delivered in students' backpacks.  In 2014, it was converted to an e-newsletter, but you can view older archived Mustang Newsletters below. Note: All newsletters are in PDF format - download latest version of Adobe Reader.