Professional Development

Shady Side Academy offers a wide range of professional development opportunities to its faculty and staff members. As part of SSA's mission to be a community of lifelong learners, faculty, staff and administrators are committed to enhancing their skills and staying current in their subject area knowledge in order to provide an exceptional education to students and help them prepare for lives beyond Shady Side Academy. Shady Side Academy faculty receive $225,000 annually in professional development funds.

Faculty Study Grants

These grants are designed to encourage the Academy's faculty and administrators to continue their professional growth and improve their effectiveness as educators by providing tuition reimbursement. The grants provide tuition reimbursement to teachers and administrators taking graduate courses for certification and/or advanced degrees.

Paul G. Benedum Teaching Fellowships

These fellowships provide funding in the range of $500-$4,500 for the purpose of strengthening professional development through an experience that leads to personal growth and enrichment, and to permit faculty members to maintain a sense of intellectual vitality and excitement about their work.

Sabbatical Leave Program

As an essential part of a long-range plan to guarantee the continued existence of a strong educational program, the Academy has established sabbatical leaves for its faculty. Faculty members on sabbatical leave receive full pay and benefits plus a stipend (currently $3,500) to defray the cost of travel, study or other expenses incurred while on leave.

Benedum Conference Fund

The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires all teachers holding PA certification to earn six graduate credits or 180 hours of in-service training every five years. Attendance at conferences and workshops can be used to satisfy the latter requirement. Through the Benedum Conference Fund, faculty and staff may receive up to $250 per year to attend such sessions.

Presidential Grants

These grants allow faculty to take advantage of unique professional development opportunities for which funding could not be provided from other staff support programs. These funds are provided at the discretion of the president. Funding is limited and is considered on a case-by-case basis.

Wimmer Family Foundation Grants

These grants provide funding for teachers to attend conferences, workshops and seminars, or to bring in professionals for in-school training. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $750 per academic year. Such costs as travel expenses, meals, etc. can be covered through Wimmer Grants.

Teacher Induction Program

The Academy offers a PA Department of Education-approved Teacher Induction Program in order for teachers to convert a Pennsylvania Instructional I (temporary) teaching certificate to an Instructional II (permanent) certificate. Over the course of one academic year, an inductee participates in a mentoring program with three teaching colleagues who assess and assist in the inductee's progress as an educator.

Other Programs

In addition to the above, other programs, though smaller in scope, are also available to the faculty. The school heads have at their disposal some funds to support faculty travel to conferences or to bring in quest presenters.

Act 48 Certification Requirements

Shady Side Academy is a Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved provider of professional development training programs and services. Any faculty or staff member holding Pennsylvania teaching certification or related certifications can have the Academy certify the completion of relevant training programs and enter the appropriate hours into the PDE database.

Current faculty and staff members wishing to learn more about these programs, their application processes and deadlines should visit the Professional Development Program page in the faculty/staff portal (login required).