Quick Facts


Shady Side welcomes students from 57 ZIP codes in Allegheny County, plus 10 other PA counties, 13 states and nine countries. We embrace each other's differences and backgrounds, and know that this diversity adds to the richness and depth of our students' overall learning experience.


The heart and soul of any great school is the faculty, and Shady Side teachers are dedicated to the craft of teaching, passionate about working with children and young adults, and committed to the idea that learning is truly a collaborative endeavor.

  • Student-to-teacher ratio: 8:1
  • Average class size: 15
  • 132 faculty members; 73% hold advanced degrees
  • $275,000 in professional development funds are available annually
  • 89% of faculty participated in professional development opportunities in 2017-2018
  • Visit our faculty blog to learn more about our faculty!

Country Day School

Shady Side Academy Country Day School serves 117 students in grades PK-5 and is located on 17 acres in Fox Chapel, a suburb in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.

  • School Day: 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Before-Care: Free supervised care beginning at 7:30 a.m.
  • After-School Adventurers: Runs until 6 p.m. and includes enrichment classes, study and play time
  • Facilities: Treehouse classroom, outdoor classroom, athletic field, playground, garden, gymnasium, library
  • Classroom Technology: State-of-the-art technology center; iPads, iMacs and SMART Boards throughout the school
  • Pre-Kindergarten: Junior (age 3.5-4) and senior (age 4-5) pre-kindergarten programs with a variety of schedule options
  • Science: Spacious science lab with ever-changing exhibits; treehouse classroom, outdoor classroom and wooded trails promote inquiry, discovery and learning through nature
  • Math: Math in Focus Singapore Math curriculum in grades K-5
  • Language: Spanish instruction beginning in kindergarten
  • Arts: Music, performing and visual arts programs develop confidence, creativity and self-expression; all-school and grade-level performances
  • Wellness: Program incorporates character education, study skills and mindfulness
  • Responsive Classroom: Approach incorporates character education while teaching students to care for themselves, each other, and their environment.
  • Community: Community-building through assemblies, morning meeting, buddy program and community service.

Junior School

Shady Side Academy Junior School serves 270 students in grades PK-5 and is located on seven acres in Point Breeze, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh's East End.

  • School Day: 8:15 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.
  • Before Care: Free supervised care beginning at 7:30 a.m.
  • After School Explorers: Runs until 6 p.m. and includes enrichment classes, music lessons, study and play time
  • Facilities: Athletic field, educational gardens, three age-specific playgrounds, gymnasium with performance stage, library
  • Classroom Technology: Idea lab, computer lab, SMART Boards and iPads in every classroom, 1:1 iPad program in fifth grade
  • Pre-Kindergarten: Separate PK facility built in 2007 and expanded in 2014; junior (age 3.5-4) and senior (age 4-5) pre-kindergarten programs offer full-day, half-day or mixed-day scheduling.
  • Science: Suite of five labs renovated in 2015 included early (K-2) and upper (3-5) elementary labs, robotics & maker space, science idea lab, and ecosystem lab
  • Math: Math in Focus Singapore Math curriculum in grades K-5
  • Writing: Writing Workshop curriculum in grades PK-5
  • Language: Spanish instruction begins in PK
  • Instrumental Music: Instruction begins in grade 2
  • Wellness: Program incorporates character education, study skills and mindfulness

Middle School

Shady Side Academy Middle School serves 193 students in grades 6-8 and is located on 35 acres in Fox Chapel, a suburb in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.

  • School Day: Runs from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., including an athletics & activities period
  • Facilities: Gardens, a gymnasium and two athletic fields (students also use athletic facilities at the Senior School)
  • Classroom Technology: 1:1 iPad program, SMART Boards in every classroom, two computer labs
  • Science: Three newly renovated science labs, one for each grade
  • Math: Two levels offered in each grade; Math in Focus Singapore Math curriculum incorporated into sixth and seventh grade coursework; advanced independent study when appropriate
  • Writing: Writing laboratory provides space for students to practice writing and receive assistance from teachers
  • Languages: Chinese, Latin and Spanish offered
  • Arts: Visual arts and music classes; six music ensembles, two annual theatre productions including a fall play and winter musical
  • Athletics: Offerings include boys and girls teams in 13 different sports

Senior School

Shady Side Academy Senior School serves 427 students in grades 9-12 (including 74 boarders) and is located on 130 acres in Fox Chapel, a suburb in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.

  • School Day: Academic day runs from 8:15 a.m. to 3:05 p.m., followed by a 45-minute club/activity period, and an athletics period from 3:50 to 5:35 p.m
  • Boarding: Seven- and five-day boarding options with a 2:1 resident student-to-faculty ratio; two single-gender dorms
  • Academic Facilities: Six academic buildings, including the new Gold LEED-certified McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation, the Benedum Visual Arts Center, the Hillman Center for Performing Arts and a library, plus the SSA Farm.
  • Athletic Facilities:
    • Two gymnasiums
    • McKnight Hockey Center
    • Six athletic fields, including Michael J. Farrell Stadium with artificial turf and lights
    • Two fitness facilities
    • Three international-sized squash courts
    • 10 tennis courts
    • Eight-lane all-weather track
  • Classroom Technology: SMART Boards in every classroom, tablets and laptops available to every class, computer lab, robotics lab with 3-D printer, boat and helicopter
  • Athletics: 27 competitive teams in 17 different sports for boys and girls, with a rich championship history.
  • Arts: Numerous music ensembles perform concerts throughout the year; annual theatre productions include fall play, winter musical and spring one-act plays; eight advanced visual arts electives.

College Matriculation

The SSA College Counseling Office and its three full-time college counselors are dedicated to assisting students in finding "best fit" colleges and universities that will nurture their abilities and undiscovered talents, while allowing them to realize their career aspirations.

Class of 2019 By the Numbers

  • Admitted to 184 colleges
  • Will attend 73 colleges in 24 states plus D.C. and the U.K.
  • 62% will attend college out of state
  • 100% of those seeking merit scholarships earned awards
  • 19% will play college athletics in 9 different sports
  • 57% overall admit rate compared to global average of 39%
  • Were admitted to Ivy League schools at more than 3x the global rate (24% vs. 7%)
  • 52% will attend a US News & World Report Top 50 National University or Liberal Arts College; 32% will attend a Top 25 school
  • 91% will attend a "very competitive" or "most competitive" college as ranked by Barron's Profile of American Colleges
  • 19% are "lifers" who attended SSA from grades K-12
  • 21% participated in the Senior School boarding program
  • 22% participated in a global or off-campus program
  • 40% completed an independent study or senior project
  • 45% participated in the performing arts (theatre production or musical ensemble)
  • 58% attended SSA Middle School
  • 80% lettered in at least one varsity sport; 52% lettered in two or more

Colleges Attended

Accreditations & Associations


  • Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS)
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools


  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
  • The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)
  • Pittsburgh Consortium of Independent Schools (PCIS)
  • National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
  • Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • College Board
  • Educational Records Bureau (ERB)
  • Cum Laude Society
  • Pennyslvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA)
  • Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL)
  • Pittsburgh Area Independent School Teachers Association (PAISTA)
  • The Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE)
  • Independent Curriculum Group (ICG)