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Diversity & Global awareness

Shady Side Academy is a diverse community of students and adults who share different cultural values and perspectives. Faculty members work to ensure a safe and open environment where understanding is central to all, and students’ differences are celebrated as integral to the educational experience.

Dignity & Respect Campaign and Video

In 2011-2012, Shady Side Academy joined the Dignity & Respect Campaign, a community initiative spearhaded by UPMC's Center for Inclusion. The campaign is grounded in the idea that "inclusion begins with the core belief that everyone deserves dignity and respect." The initiative was launched to students at all-school assemblies with this video, which features faculty, staff and students talking (and singing and dancing!) about the importance of inclusion, dignity and respect.

Declaration for a Diverse and Inclusive Community

In 2007, the Shady Side Academy Board of Trustees approved the following statement on the Academy's commitment to diversity: As an Academy, we must cultivate, understand and embrace the differences among us as part of our educational endeavor. Academy leadership, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and students provide an example by fostering an environment of understanding and respect of all people. Further, we must instruct and empower children to challenge assumptions and ask questions in order to become responsible citizens in a diverse world. We believe that the recognition and appreciation of differences in race, socio-cultural status, religious tradition, age, gender, ability and sexual orientation enhance the individual's sense of identity, broaden respect for others and inspire strong character. As we strive for academic excellence, so shall we strive for richness and depth in the community life at Shady Side Academy. Through curriculum and informal school experiences, students at Shady Side Academy must appreciate and respect the inherent value of all people.

Shady Side Academy is committed to the following:

  • Developing multicultural curricula and programs which bring out or elevate less commonly heard voices and enhance the experience of all students
  • Promoting professional growth and development for the enhancement of Academy leadership, faculty and staff as regards knowledge, understanding and sensitivity in a diverse and inclusive world and school community
  • Designing and leveraging admissions and hiring commitments to further our efforts in diversity
  • Developing and enhancing a school culture that fosters respect and inclusivity of all individuals and enabling community members to question biases and express opinions
  • Reviewing on a continuous basis issues of diversity among all members of the school community through ongoing meetings, discussions, and professional development


Shady Side Academy is one of the founding members of the Fund for Advancement of Minorities through Education (FAME), which provides need-based financial assistance to African-American students to attend participating independent schools in Pittsburgh. Learn more.

Global Awareness

Shady Side Academy prepares students to become thoughtful citizens of the world. Students at all grade levels have the opportunity to learn about, appreciate and celebrate different cultures through the curriculum as well as annual events such as the Junior School's Winter Festival of the Arts and Immigration Food Festival, the Middle School's International Week, and the Senior School's GlobalFest Week. Below are a few other ways that Shady Side offers students the chance to develop a global perspective.

Student Clubs

SSA students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular student clubs to pursue individual interests. Many clubs have a global or cultural focus. View a list of Senior School student clubs.

International Program

The Senior School has an extensive International Program, the goal of which is to offer students and teachers experience in other cultures, either on our campus or abroad.. Learn more.

Parkin Fellowships

Senior School students can apply for summer fellowships to participate in service or environmental projects around the globe. Learn more.

The Hillman Center for Performing Arts  

The Hillman Center for Performing Arts, located on the Senior School campus and serving the entire Academy community, facilitates a variety of professional and community performances by various cultural, educational and artistic organizations that showcase a myriad of traditions and talents. Learn more.

Diversity & Global Awareness News

Recent Activities

GlobalFest 2014 Video

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