High School Programs

Summer School (9-12)

High School Summer Campers at Shady Side working for course creditsShady Side Academy offers a variety of Summer School courses for students entering grades 9-12, including for-credit courses in art, mathematics, computer science, health and science. All capable students are welcome to enroll in for-credit courses, but please be aware that classes are accelerated. A number of non-credit courses are also offered, including college prep and interest-driven enrichment courses.

Courses offering a full academic year of credit meet half a day for six weeks, with the exception of science courses. Courses offering one term of academic credit typically meet half a day for two to three weeks. All courses are held on the Senior School campus. Limited busing is available. For-credit courses include lunch.

Please note some courses have prerequisites in order to enroll. Read course descriptions carefully before registering. Most courses have enrollment limits so that we can provide a quality learning experience for every student. All courses are subject to cancellation if fewer than five students enroll prior to June 9.

Notes on For-Credit Courses

Transfer of Credits: Credit for the purpose of making up a failure has been accepted by public and independent schools. Arrangements for credit transfer should be discussed when registering for Summer School. Shady Side Academy does not assume responsibility for credits not transferring.

Absences: To earn credit in for-credit summer courses, students must attend all class sessions. We recognize that from time to time, circumstances arise beyond the control of students or their families, including illness or emergency, that make attendance impossible. The Summer School director may deem an absence approved or unapproved based on available documentation. Unapproved absence from any course may result in no credit earned.

Shady Side Academy Families: Please note only one graduation requirement in any discipline can be earned through summer study. For example, science requires two years of study – only one of the required courses may be taken in the summer. To read the policies regarding summer study, please see the Senior School Course Catalog.

Progress Reports

Progress reports are issued in for-credit courses at the end of the third and sixth weeks of Summer School. The Summer School Director receives interim reports on students not performing satisfactorily, in which case parents are notified and action plans formulated.

Meet the Summer School Director

David BarndollarDr. David Barndollar is Shady Side Academy's Summer School Director. He is an experienced educator and school leader deeply committed to the development of students. He serves as the chair of the Senior School's English department and has served in a number of capacities over his 27-year career as an educator.

Please contact Dr. Barndollar with any questions.


2D Studio Art Foundation

June 19-23, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. – $625

Students will explore a variety of subject matter, materials and techniques specific to 2D design and composition. The elements and principles of design will be emphasized to establish a common language and to develop the students’ understanding of visual organization, art historical references and studio maintenance which will apply across the visual art curriculum. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to enroll in advanced-level 2D courses, including Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Photography, Digital Imaging and Architecture.

3D Studio Art Foundation

June 19-23, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. – $625

3D Studio Art Foundation introduces students to the process of creating three-dimensional art projects in a variety of media including, but not limited to, cardboard, foam board, ceramics and metals. Students will be required to sketch their ideas on paper prior to beginning each assignment. While emphasis will be placed on creativity, design, technique and form, each student’s visualization and conceptualization skills will be challenged.


June 12-16, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. – $650

Architecture is a course that provides the student with the fundamentals of architecture through a range of procedures in drafting and 3D model making. These technical skills are combined with computer applications (Chief Architect on iMac computers) so that the student can build an architectural plan using both technologies.

Emphasis is on the following: history of architecture and styles, contemporary building and design techniques and proper use of tools and materials. The summer course includes a field trip to Fallingwater. The cost of the field trip (travel, admission and lunch) is included in the course fee.

PREREQUISITE: Studio Art 2D Foundation or Studio Art 3D Foundation

Glass & Advanced Glass Fusing

June 12-16, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. – $625

Students in this class will have the unique opportunity to explore color, texture, design, patterns and form while working with opaque and transparent sheet glass. Glass is a one-credit class that focuses on the process of fusing, slumping and casting glass in an electric kiln. Its aim is to provide opportunities for students to expand their visualization and conceptualization skills while challenging their creative problem-solving abilities.

PREREQUISITE: 3D Studio Art Foundation

Additionally, students who have successfully completed the first-level Glass class are able to enroll in the Advanced Glass class. Both classes (first-level and Advanced Glass) are offered simultaneously and they have different project assignments, which are based on individual skill level at the beginning of the course.

Computer Science

SOLD OUT - Problem Solving: Karel and Elementary Graphics

SOLD OUT - July 17-28, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (class will meet one day TBA from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.) – $725

The emphasis of this course is on the foundations of programming methodologies for the discipline of computer science. Topics covered include modular programming, conditionals, loops, variables and parameters. These concepts will be applicable to all programming languages studied in the future. The Java language is used in conjunction with the “Karel J. Robot” package and a graphics package.

PREREQUISITE: Geometry or one term of Mathematics I


Math I

June 19-July 28, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. – $2,090

Math I is a study of core topics in algebra and geometry. Students will complete a packet of problems through which the following key concepts are learned: the distributive property, order of operations, percent, slope, linear and quadratic relationships, perimeter, area, volume, direct variation, uniform motion, exponents, radicals, the Pythagorean Theorem, angle relationships, and the distance formula. Shady Side students enrolled in the course will be prepared for Math II, while non-Shady Side students will receive Algebra I credit.


SOLD OUT - Contemporary Issues in Teen Health

SOLD OUT June 12-30, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Wednesdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. – $1,375

Contemporary Issues in Teen Health is designed to help students recognize and prepare for the challenges of becoming healthy autonomous young adults. The course, grounded in SSA's Guiding Principles of Honesty, Respect, Kindness, Responsibility and Safety, provides students with the information and skills necessary to make thoughtful and responsible decisions that promote their well-being and the well-being of those around them. Students will explore a wide range of relevant issues which include mental and physical wellness, human relationships/sexuality, drug/alcohol use and abuse, social media /communications and social awareness. All students are encouraged to engage in a highly interactive classroom environment. This three-week-long course is open to rising sophomores and is graded on a pass-fail basis. The class meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays. Please note that successful completion of this course fulfills the Academy’s health requirement (2 credits), but it does not exempt students from participation in the TALK program and the swim test during their sophomore academic year.


Biology 1

June 19-July 21, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Thursdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. – $2,090

This is a junior-level course covering ecology, cell structure and function, genetics, development, plant and animal structure and function, respiration, photosynthesis, and microbiology. Biology 1 will meet on Thursdays until 4 p.m.

PREREQUISITE: Physics 1 and Chemistry 1

Chemistry 1

June 19-July 21, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Tuesdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. – $2,090

This is a sophomore-level course covering the fundamental concepts of modern chemical theory, utilizing the laboratory investigation techniques taught in the Concepts of Physics course. The topics covered include: atomic theory; chemical structure and bonding; molecular geometry; stoichiometry and quantitative analysis; gas laws; acid/base chemistry; kinetics; equilibrium; thermodynamics; oxidation/reduction reactions; and basic organic chemistry. Chemistry 1 will meet on Tuesdays until 4 p.m.

PREREQUISITE: must be rising tenth graders who have completed Physics 1

Physics 1

June 19-July 21, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Wednesdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. – $2,090

This fast-paced laboratory-based course focuses on helping students to achieve an understanding of the nature of science and experimental design in the context of physics topics. Topics covered include energy, experimental design, 1-D kinematics, forces and momentum. Physics 1 will meet on Wednesdays until 4 p.m.


College Preparation

College Essay Writing Workshop

Session 1: June 19-23, 9 a.m.-noon. – $500
Session 2: June 26-30, 9 a.m.-noon. – $500
Session 3: August 7-11, 9 a.m.-noon. – $500

Each student should expect to produce original, student-generated work of the highest quality – specifically, an activities resumé and both a short and a long Common Application essay. This workshop offers a unique combination of one-on-one conferences and guided revision.

SAT/ACT Test Prep

Shady Side Academy partners with the alumni-owned Goldstein Test Prep to bring SAT/ACT prep courses to our Senior School campus.

Learn more about the Goldstein Test Prep program highlights and upcoming programs.

Visit the Goldstein Test Prep website for a full list of courses.


Conversational Spanish

June 19-30, 9 a.m.-noon. – $360

Do you want to put your Spanish skills to practice? Do you still feel uncomfortable when speaking Spanish? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, then our Conversational Spanish course is for you! This course is built to give you the necessary training and guidance in order for you to feel secure and confident when communicating in Spanish. Our main goal is to enhance your fluency, pronunciation, and the progress of your oral proficiency, while having fun! During this two-week course, we will take field trips to Hispanic restaurants and visit museums and parks that will facilitate the oral practice of the language. This course will also give you the opportunity to increase your vocabulary and learn Spanish idioms through authentic materials, like films and readings. It’s time to put your Spanish skills to work and kick those nerves to the curb!

Digital Storytelling

June 19-30, 1:30-4 p.m. – $360

This is a short but comprehensive course on all things related to video production and the world of visual storytelling. The course will explore three main areas - writing, production and editing. In phase one, each student will conceptualize a short film, such as a fictional story or a documentary. In phase two, students will learn the fundamentals of video production, including the techniques and aesthetics of framing, lighting and shooting. Hands-on production experience using digital video cameras will be emphasized. Students may also use film footage they bring to the course. The third phase will focus on editing to finalize a 5- to 7-minute HD production. Students will edit on Macs using Adobe Premiere editing software. The class is taught by SSA videographer Jason Deal '09 and Jeff Miller, who regularly teaches film studies in the Senior School English Department. Mr. Miller will focus primarily on phase one to help create great stories and improve writing skills as a digital storyteller. Students with potential scheduling conflicts should contact the instructor to see if accommodations can be made. Please note that lunch is not included with this course.

Robotics and Inventions

June 19-23, 9 a.m.-noon – $360 (includes robotics kit)

In this week-long seminar, students will explore some of the essentials of robotics and computer science with microcontrollers. Some of the projects involve how to build LED displays, turn servos and motors, measure reactions to light and temperature, and interface with remote controls, joysticks and even smartphones. The course begins with an introduction to microcontrollers using the Arduino board. Students will get an overview of electronics and how software transforms ideas into reality, as well as have the opportunity to work on projects involving GPS-controlled boats and Quadcopter photography.

This course is taught by John Wizzard, chair of the Senior School Computer Science Department.

Camp Internships (9-12)

Counselors in training Shady Side Academy offers several opportunities for high school students interested in working in one of our SSA Summer programs. Becoming a member of our close-knit staff is a wonderful opportunity for responsible, vibrant and outgoing teenagers looking to work with children. We provide ample opportunities for leadership and advancement, while also giving lots of training, feedback and positive reinforcement. Working at camp can be one of the most memorable and instructive jobs you'll ever have; join us to see what the fun is all about!

Grade 9: Leaders-in-Training

Leaders in training Leaders-in-training, or LITs, are rising ninth graders who attend our middle school day camp, Camp Ren, while spending several hours each week volunteering with our elementary-aged Day Camp Discovery children. LITs also receive leadership instruction. All hours are recorded and documented so they can be put towards school requirements, scholarships, awards, etc.

The LIT program is reserved only for campers signed up for Camp Ren. Since LITs volunteer several hours each week, they receive a 15 percent discount on their Camp Ren tuition after registration. Learn more about Camp Ren.

Grade 10: Fellows

Fellowships are opportunities for rising tenth graders to volunteer with SSA Summer programs. Fellows have two options: they can join two counselors in overseeing a group of elementary-aged campers at Day Camp Discovery; or they can join an activity area to act as a teaching assistant. All hours are documented so that they can be used towards National Honor Society, scholarships, etc.

The application process to become a fellow is easy. Simply complete our online employment application, and you will be contacted for a brief interview or phone call. Once accepted, all fellows must complete a Pennsylvania Criminal Background Check, a Pennsylvania Childline Background Check and an FBI Background Check.

Grades 11-12: Junior Counselors

Junior counselors Rising juniors and seniors can apply to become junior counselors for our elementary-aged Day Camp Discovery. Junior counselors are responsible for helping counselors lead co-ed groups of 10-16 campers in lessons/activities, and providing a safe, fun and quality day camp experience for all children. Junior counselors actively lead campers in scheduled programs, oversee activities, and assist counselors and specialists.

The application process to become a fellow is easy. Simply complete our online employment application, and you will be contacted for a brief interview or phone call. Once accepted, all junior counselors must complete a Pennsylvania Criminal Background Check, a Pennsylvania Childline Background Check and an FBI Background Check.

Sports Camps (9-11)

Boys Elite Lacrosse Camp: Grades 9-11

June 20-22, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., $300

The Shady Side Academy Elite Lacrosse Camp provides experienced players with top-level instruction from SSA varsity coaches and current D-1 collegiate lacrosse players. Campers will improve their game, hone their skills and learn about the college recruitment process. The camp is open to experienced players only. There will be two age groups: Middle School players (grades 6-8) and high school players (grades 9-11). Participants must bring their own helmet, gloves, elbow pads, shoulder pads, mouthpiece and stick. Pinnie and lunch provided.

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Contact Us

Nate Verbanets

Nathan Verbanets
Director of Programs


"My daughter was ecstatic to learn she was able to attend the East End Explorers camp again. Each day she came home, she poured out the day's events like a faucet. She was extremely happy. It was truly a blessing to know that it was made possible because of your thoughtfulness. Thank you so much for all your assistance. Somehow I don't feel thank you is quite enough."

"Our son has been attending [camp] for the past six years. He has enjoyed every summer attending Discovery Camp and Camp Ren and looks forward to coming back year after year!"

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