Quick Facts


Shady Side welcomes students from 56 different ZIP codes in Allegheny County, plus 11 other PA counties, 10 states and five countries. We embrace each other's differences and backgrounds, and know that this diversity adds to the richness and depth of our students' overall learning experience.


The heart and soul of any great school is the faculty, and Shady Side teachers are dedicated to the craft of teaching, passionate about working with children and young adults, and committed to the idea that learning is truly a collaborative endeavor.

  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 8:1
  • Average class size: 15
  • 118 faculty members; 64% with advanced degrees
  • $250,000 in professional development funds are available annually
  • 86% of faculty participated in professional development opportunities in 2015-2016
  • Visit our faculty blog to learn more about our faculty!

Junior School

Shady Side Academy Junior School serves 240 students in grades PK-5 and is located on seven acres in Point Breeze, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh's East End.

  • School Day: 8:15 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.
  • Before Care: Free supervised care beginning at 7:30 a.m.
  • After School Explorers: Runs until 6 p.m. and includes enrichment classes, music lessons, study and play time
  • Facilities: Athletic field, educational gardens, three age-specific playgrounds, gymnasium with performance stage and library
  • Classroom Technology: Idea lab, computer lab, SMART Boards and iPads in every classroom, 1:1 iPad program in fifth grade
  • Pre-Kindergarten: Separate PK facility built in 2007 and expanded in 2014; program offers full-day, half-day or mixed-day scheduling.
  • Science: Suite of labs renovated in 2015 to include early and upper elementary labs, robotics & maker space, science idea lab, and ecosystem lab
  • Math: Singapore Math curriculum in grades K-5
  • Writing: Writing Workshop curriculum in grades PK-5
  • Language: Spanish instruction beginning in PK
  • Instrumental Music: Beginning in second grade
  • Wellness: Program incorporates character education, study skills and mindfulness

Middle School

Shady Side Academy Middle School serves 210 students in grades 6-8 and is located on 35 acres in Fox Chapel, a suburb in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.

  • School Day: Runs from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., including an athletics & activities period
  • Facilities: Gardens, a gymnasium and two athletic fields (students also use athletic facilities at the Senior School)
  • Classroom Technology: 1:1 iPad program, SMART Boards in every classroom, two computer labs
  • Science: Three newly renovated science labs, one for each grade
  • Math: Two levels offered in each grade; Singapore Math curriculum incorporated into sixth and seventh grade coursework
  • Writing: Writing laboratory provides space for students to practice writing and receive assistance from teachers
  • Languages: Chinese, Latin and Spanish offered
  • Arts: Visual arts and music classes; six music ensembles, two annual theatre productions including a fall play and winter musical
  • Athletics: Offerings include boys and girls teams in 13 different sports

Senior School

Shady Side Academy Senior School serves 480 students in grades 9-12 (including 65 boarders) and is located on 130 acres in the Fox Chapel, a suburb in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.

  • School Day: Academic day runs from 8:15 a.m. to 3:05 p.m., followed by a 45-minute club/activity period, and an athletics period from 3:50 to 5:35 p.m
  • Boarding: Seven- and five-day boarding options offer a 2:1 ratio of students to adults living on campus plus two single-gender dorms (girls' dorm renovated in 2015)
  • Academic Facilities: Six academic buildings, including the Benedum Visual Arts Center, Hillman Center for Performing Arts and library, plus a dining hall and the SSA Farm. Construction of a new science building is planned for 2017.
  • Athletic Facilities:
    • Two gymnasiums
    • McKnight Hockey Center
    • Six athletic fields, including Michael J. Farrell Stadium with artificial turf and lights
    • Two fitness facilities
    • Three international-sized squash courts
    • 10 tennis courts
    • Eight-lane all-weather track
  • Classroom Technology: SMART Boards in every classroom, iPads and laptops available to every class, computer lab, robotics lab with 3-D printer, boat and helicopter
  • Athletics: 27 competitive teams in 17 different sports for boys and girls, with a rich championship history.
  • Arts: Numerous music ensembles perform concerts throughout the year; annual theatre productions include fall play, winter musical and spring one-acts; eight advanced visual arts electives.

College Matriculation

The SSA College Counseling Office and its four college counselors are dedicated to assisting students in finding "best fit" colleges and universities that will nurture their abilities and undiscovered talents, while allowing them to realize their career aspirations.

Class of 2016 By the Numbers

  • 128 graduates attending 79 colleges and universities
  • Accepted by 159 colleges and universities in 23 states plus D.C. and the U.K.
  • Offered more than $4.7 million in merit scholarship money
  • 70% are attending college out of state
  • 2 are attending a U.S. service academy
  • 9 are attending an Ivy League school
  • 13% are attending a US News & World Report Top 10 National University or Liberal Arts College; 55% are attending a Top 50 school
  • 16% are attending a Times Higher Education Top 25 World University
  • 22 are "lifers" who attended SSA from grades K-12
  • 10% participated in the Senior School's five-day boarding program
  • 15% were recognized by the National Merit Scholarship program
  • 37% completed an independent study or senior project
  • 16% participated in an international exchange or off-campus semester program
  • 94% lettered in at least one varsity sport; 63% lettered in two or more
  • 34% participated in a theatre production or musical performance group

Colleges Attended

Accreditations & Associations


  • Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS)
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools


  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
  • The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)
  • Pittsburgh Consortium of Independent Schools (PCIS)
  • National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • College Board
  • Educational Records Bureau (ERB)
  • Cum Laude Society
  • Pennyslvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA)
  • Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL)
  • Pittsburgh Area Independent School Teachers Association (PAISTA)
  • The Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE)
  • Independent Curriculum Group (ICG)
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