Mission & Values


Shady Side Academy’s mission is to challenge students to think expansively, act ethically and lead responsibly.


Shady Side Academy is a vibrant learning community that values intellectual curiosity, personal integrity and diverse perspectives. Through a rigorous and balanced curriculum of academics, arts and athletics, our students are challenged to explore their passions and excel beyond expectations. Supported by active alumni and parents, our unique culture of faculty-student mentorship inspires students to become lifelong learners and engaged, thoughtful citizens of their communities.

Guiding Principles

Members of the Shady Side Academy community acknowledge and accept five principles that serve as fundamental points of guidance for all adults and students living and working together in the school community: Honesty, Kindness, Responsibility, Respect and Safety. These principles guide our activities and interactions, helping us to measure not only what we attempt but also the spirit in which we do so. While these principles guide our daily interactions, they point to the larger, more encompassing ideals and behaviors of integrity, thoughtfulness and compassion.


The act of representing and articulating thoughts, feelings, and actions to self and others in an accurate and timely manner.

An open, honest environment is essential to our personal well being as well as the community's well-being. Personal integrity is based on our honesty and is demonstrated by truthful words and by ethical behavior. Because honesty is the essential principle, plagiarism, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. are alien to this principle and unacceptable.


Thinking, speaking and acting with consideration for others and oneself.

We hold ourselves to kindness in thought when we first imagine what a situation seems like from another's point of view. In seeing through their eyes empathy and helpfulness become our primary concerns. We guide ourselves to speak kindly when we consider the sensitivity of others to the power of the language we choose before we put our thoughts into words. We act with a kind heart when we seek to help others and are careful to avoid harming others while pursuing our own goals. There is, however, a distinction between kindness and "being nice." Just "being nice" has a hollow, empty, mindless quality. Kindness requires that we continually strive to shape our thoughts, words and actions with sincerity, gentleness and benevolence.


The ongoing understanding and acceptance that our beliefs, attitudes, decisions and actions have implications and outcomes both positive and negative and that we are accountable for our decisions and actions.

Membership in the Shady Side Academy community offers each of us the opportunity to make decisions individually and in groups of varying sizes. When individuals and groups make decisions and act on them, events both positive and negative result. Responsibility demands that we be mindful of the choices we make, the reasons behind those choices, and the willingness to be truthful about our individual and collective roles in the events which grow out of our choices. As members of the Shady Side community we each affirm that our actions should uphold the values of the school accepted upon joining the community. By joining, we also agree to uphold the Philosophy, Principles, established procedures and community decisions. We therefore strive to be kind and truthful, to respect rights and property, and to provide each member of the community with the physical, emotional and intellectual safety necessary for growth in a supportive environment. We accept that our decisions both on and off the campus can enhance or discredit the reputation of both the individual and the Shady Side community.


The attitude and behavior of valuing people, their roles and the property of the community by acknowledging their inherent value and treating them accordingly.

The Academy recognizes and safeguards the importance of each of us in the life of the school. We each have the right to be respected by others, a right that carries with it the responsibility for each of us to respect the students, faculty, staff, the property of others, the school facilities, and the Academy itself. When a teacher makes a request of a student in the tone of voice with which they would like to be addressed, this is respect. When students assume responsibility of maintaining their lounge areas instead of looking at that maintenance as "someone else's job," they respect the roles of various members of the community as well as community property. In keeping with the Academy Philosophy and our commitment to each other as members of the Shady Side community, learning begins with respect for others and respect for others begins with respect for oneself.


To speak and act in such a manner that allows self, others and property to be free from the risk of harm.

Security of people and property is essential to living and working together in a community. The responsibility of maintaining a safe environment lies with students and adults alike, no matter what their role in the Shady Side community. We must: 1) come to the aid of those in need, 2) quickly react in a responsible manner to any situation that may threaten our safety or the safety of others, 3) confront those who are in the process of making decisions that will put their safety or that of others at risk, and 4) inform the appropriate person when an unsafe situation exists or is developing. Our school should be a place where each of us feels both physically and emotionally safe. We, therefore, have a responsibility to help promote and maintain an environment which is free from all forms of violence.


Fide Semper Vincere (Latin: "They conquer always who have faith")