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THE Value of an SSA Education

We recognize that choosing a school is one of the most important decisions a family will make. As such, we understand our responsibility to help you learn what is unique about Shady Side Academy. There is much to explore, and encapsulating all that is special about our school is not an easy task. The thoughts below are to help you learn about what we feel is most important about the Shady Side Academy experience.

Honesty, Kindness, Responsibility, Respect and Safety

We embrace these Guiding Principles in our teaching and as a lens through which we support students' decision-making each and every day.

One Community, Three Beautiful Campuses

From the playgrounds and the athletic fields, to the arts facilities, a 650-seat theater, a green classroom building, an ice rink, and 170 acres of sheer beauty, Shady Side Academy students are afforded many resources to embrace new challenges all within a coordinated academic program. View our campus slideshows for a closer look.

Breadth of Programming

We are proud of the number of opportunities offered to students. It begins at the Junior School with a range of special classes (e.g. Singapore math, writing workshops, laboratory science, Spanish, instrumental music, computer), and continues at the Middle School where students build on their writing and study skills, and have the opportunity to compete in robotics, Science Olympiad and MATHCOUNTS. Three language options are also available at the Middle School, including Chinese. It culminates at the Senior School where we offer six advanced math courses beyond calculus, an unparalleled English electives program, five world languages options, distinct arts facilities and much more. The Senior School also offers a unique boarding program for both 5- and 7-day boarders. As a school, we are committed to providing opportunities for academic growth and the skills for college success.

A Balanced and Nurturing Experience

We often speak of the three A's – academics, arts and athletics – and our program is created to offer students a rich balance of experiences in each of these areas, all supported by caring teachers. All students in grades PK-12 participate in physical activities, whether in gym class, intramurals or as part of a team. Every student participates in performances and learns visual art techniques. Our curriculum supports students in an environment that encourages a love of learning and their multi-dimensional interests.

Inspiring Faculty

If you ask Shady Side Academy students what is the most important part of their school experience, they would answer "teachers" - and the support and encouragement they provide each and every day. Shady Side Academy has a low student-to-teacher ratio, small classes and the personal commitment of our faculty to teaching, advising, coaching and mentoring students with their own commitment to lifelong learning. Read our faculty blog to learn more about our teachers.

Global Perspective

Shady Side Academy prepares students to become thoughtful citizens of the world. Whether it's our fifth graders participating in a mock natural disaster drill via satellite or our Senior School students performing service projects in places like Fiji, Korea, China and Ghana, our students learn what it means to be a member of a global community. Students have the opportunity to participate in international exchange programs and School Year Abroad, and to learn about different cultures and service through clubs and events such as Globalfest – an annual celebration of the cultural landscape of our school through dance, song,film and food.

A Diverse, Inclusive and Welcoming Community

We celebrate both our similarities and uniquenesses, as individuals. We share with one another the history and significance of religious and cultural holidays and their relevance to our past and the present. The Academy is committed to its Declaration for a Diverse and Inclusive Community to guide our continued evolution as a community that fosters an environment of understand and respect for all people.

Parents Are Our Partners

Educating a child is a tremendous responsibility. Through the Parent-School Covenant parents and teachers commit to a partnership to educate and support our students in the development of their minds, talents and character.

Transcendent Tradition 

For more than 130 years, Shady Side has been graduating leaders in business, industry, medicine, science and the arts. We count among our alumni a White House cabinet member, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, an astronaut and a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. The network of friends that students make at Shady Side lasts a lifetime. While our 5,000+ alumni span the globe, they also remain connected, supportive and involved in the school in many important ways.


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