Parent Education Progams

Shady Side Academy is committed to providing annual parent education programs to provide support, resources and guidance to parents. All programs are free; most are open to the public.

Upcoming Programs

SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age
Documentary Screening

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, 7-8:30 p.m.
Hillman Center for Performing Arts, Senior School Campus
(get directions)

ScreenagersAre you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span? Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw that with her own kids and learned that the average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. She wondered about the impact of all this time and about the friction occurring in homes and schools around negotiating screen time – friction she knew all too well.

In SCREENAGERS, as with her award-winning documentaries on mental health, Delaney takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERS reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.

SSA students in grades 6-10 will view the film in school on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

Watch the film trailer


The Future of Civil Discourse
presented by Alexander Heffner

Tuesday evening, March 7, 2017 (time TBA)
Hillman Center for Performing Arts, Senior School Campus
(get directions)

Alexander HeffnerAs we reside increasingly in a post-factual and contextual democracy, the body politic can be desensitized to fact and fiction. The ubiquitous divisiveness saturating politics today is a pervasive plague on discourse and governance. Social media can proliferate clickbait, fake news and filter bubbles. Algorithms polarize information intake. So what are possible prescriptions to correct this vicious cycle of incivility? What is the future of civil dialogue and free speech on campus? How does our digital footprint translate into prosocial or antisocial behavior? These questions and the contemporary state of U.S. media and politics will be explored.

Alexander Heffner is the host of The Open Mind on PBS. He has covered American politics, civic life and millennials since the 2008 presidential campaign. His work has been profiled in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Variety, Medium, NBC News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, CNN, BBC and NY1. His essays, reviews and op-eds have appeared in TIME, Reuters, RealClearPolitics, NYT's Room for Debate, The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe.

Heffner will speak on the same topic to all SSA Senior School students at an all-school assembly on Wednesday, March 8.

Past Programs

The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age

Nov. 9, 2016: Clinical psychologist Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair hosted a presentation and Q&A for parents on how technology and media use by kids and parents impacts childhood development and family relationships. She offered practical strategies for managing technology use and for nourishing attention, creativity, empathy and meaningful relationships. The presentation was made possible through SSA's partnership with WQED's iQ: SmartParent.

Parenting With Identity in Mind

April 5, 2016: Diversity speaker/trainer Rosetta Lee hosted an evening presentation and Q&A for parents after working with SSA's PK-12 faculty during an in-service day. Lee shared research on identity development and discussed how parents can instill positive self-identity in their children and coach them to be positive influences on others' identities. Watch a video of Lee's presentation.

Digital Health & Safety

Jan. 13, 2016: Digital safety expert and Duquesne University professor Dr. David Delmonico spoke to Junior and Middle School parents about keeping their kids safe online. Delmonico also spoke to students in grades 3-8 during the school day. Watch Dr. Delmonico's Presentation Parent Handout

Most Likely to Succeed Documentary

January 4, 2016: Most Likely to Succeed explores the history of education, revealing the growing shortcomings of our school model in todayʼs innovative world. Free community screening followed by panel discussion.

Communicating With Your Growing Daughter

October 12, 2015: Author and New Moon Girls Media founder Nancy Gruver hosted a presentation and Q&A for parents about how to talk to your daughter at various life stages about tough subjects such as peer pressure, cliques and self-esteem. Gruver's presentation was made possible through SSA's partnership with WQED's iQ: SmartParent.

The Effects of Binge Drinking

March 6, 2015: SSA parent Susan Harchelroad, RN, led a presentation and educational discussion with parents about the effects of binge drinking by underage youth. The discussion used a non-judgmental, non-punitive approach to address the medical, social and legal ramifications of binge drinking.

Distracted Driving: What Every Parent Should Know

November 18, 2014: Joel Feldman, founder of End Distracted Driving, spoke to parents about how many adults drive distracted, and how we can be better safe driving role models for our kids. Free community presentation. Feldman also spoke to Senior School students at an assembly. Download the Family Safe Driving Agreement.

What the Experts Say About Raising Good Kids

October 13, 2014: David Streight, executive director of the Center for Spiritual And Ethical Education, discussed five parenting practices that the last 30 years of research has shown to maximize the chances of raising kids with good moral reasoning skills who are empathic and altruistic. Free community lecture followed by Q&A. Streight also spoke to SSA faculty and staff earlier that day at an in-service program.

Finding Huck Finn: Reclaiming Childhood From a River of Electronic Screens

September 17, 2014: Michael Rich, M.D., M.P.H., a.k.a. "The Mediatrician," spoke about children's media usage and cyber-bullying at an SSA Parents' Association Lunch & Learn. Dr. Rich is the founder and director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston.The presentation was made possible by SSA's partnership with WQED iQ: SmartParent. Watch Dr. Rich's SSA presentation.

Instagram Is Eating My Daughter and My Son Won't Stop Playing Grand Theft Auto

December 2, 2013: Child development expert and author Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., discussed parenting strategies for social media, online behavior and video games. Free community lecture followed by Q&A.

Everything Is Fine

October 4, 2012: Everything Is Fine Play
The play Everything Is Fine was presented by Prime Stage Theatre to raise awareness of teen dating violence. Free community performance followed by panel discussion.

Miss Representation Documentary Screening

March 8, 2012: Miss Representation explores how the media's misrepresentation of women has led to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence. Free community screening followed by panel discussion.

Race to Nowhere Documentary Screening

November 4, 2010: Race to Nowhere explores the high-pressure, high-stakes culture of achievement that pervades the lives of American students and teachers. Free community screening followed by panel discussion.

Dr. JoAnn Deak

August 25, 2009: Educator, psychologist and author JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., spoke to SSA parents about child development, learning, identity formation and brain research.

Dr. Robert Brooks

August 24, 2008: Psychologist and author Robert Brooks, Ph.D., spoke to SSA parents about raising resilient children.

iQ:smartparent

Shady Side Academy is a proud partner of WQED's iQ Smartparent, an Emmy Award-winning program about parenting in the digital age.

CSEE Parent Webinars

As a benefit of Shady Side's membership in the Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education, SSA parents can access CSEE's Parent Webinars for free by using the SSA-specific link below and setting up an account on the CSEE website.

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