As one of Shady Side Academy's Guiding Principles, safety is at the forefront of everything we do. As a school we are committed to maintaining a safe and secure learning, living and working environment for our students, faculty and staff.
Campus Safety Department
The SSA Campus Safety Department protects and serves our four campuses by providing security coverage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Its staff includes a director of campus safety, three campus officers with backgrounds in municipal and college law enforcement, and several security guards with school resource officer training. Each campus has an assigned officer, while security guards rotate across all four campuses as needed. The staff is trained in incident management, ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) active shooter response protocols, first aid, CPR, Stop the Bleed, hazardous material recognition and implicit bias. The department serves as the liaison between SSA and local municipal police, fire and emergency response departments.
Campus/Building Security & Visitors
All school buildings are locked, and security cameras are installed on each campus. Faculty, staff and Senior School students are issued fob or smartphone building access credentials. Visitors must check in at a designated school office and present photo ID to be screened by our Raptor Visitor Management System and receive a visitors' badge. Large events such as athletic contests, concerts, lectures and parents' nights are staffed by campus safety personnel.
The Academy has a designated Emergency Response Team consisting of administrators and campus safety, medical and mental health services personnel. Emergency drills are conducted regularly at each campus, including monthly fire drills and annual evacuation and lockdown drills. Shady Side Academy is an ALICE-certified school; all faculty and staff are trained in the ALICE active shooter response protocol, while students learn ALICE strategies in age-appropriate ways.
Emergency Reporting & Communications
Faculty and staff use the AUXS Safety App to report campus and medical emergencies to SSA's Emergency Response Team. SSA uses the School Messenger rapid notification system to quickly communicate emergency information to parents, students, faculty and staff via phone, text, email and social media. Students in grades 6-12 and faculty/staff are also trained to use the PA state attorney general's Safe2Say Something anonymous reporting system to submit tips to local authorities about potential threats to the school.
Mental Health Services
Mental health services play a critical role in identifying and supporting students who may be struggling with emotional or behavioral issues. Shady Side is a leader among schools in the Pittsburgh region with a full-time licensed counselor on staff at each campus who offers consultative services to students, faculty and parents. The counselor maintains an open-door policy, whereby students can drop in to discuss academic and/or personal issues within the boundaries of confidentiality. The school counselor is part of a comprehensive student support team that also includes faculty advisors, learning specialists and nurses, all of whom are committed to the social and emotional growth and overall health and well-being of every student.