Parent Education Programs

Shady Side Academy is committed to offering annual parent education programs to provide support, resources and guidance to parents. Most programs are free and open to the public. SSA parents can access archived videos of select presentations here (portal login required).

Upcoming Programs

How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs & Alcohol

Glenn Hallby Glenn Hall, FCD Prevention Works

Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 • 7 p.m.
Peter J. Kountz Black Box Theater
Hillman Center for Performing Arts
Senior School Campus

Free Admission • Open to All SSA Parents

Research shows that parent involvement is a key component of effective substance abuse prevention. Children whose parents talk to them about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are less likely to use them. Parents need to understand the unique and positive role they can play in keeping kids drug-free during adolescence, and in supporting the school’s prevention efforts. The parent program will cover:

  • The importance of modeling healthy, appropriate behaviors and attitudes
  • Facts and myths about addiction and the effects of alcohol and drugs
  • What to say about your own experiences if your child asks
  • How to spot the warning signs of substance abuse
  • Some ways to teach your child to resist pressure to drink or use drugs

Glen Hall is a senior prevention specialist with FCD Prevention Works, the leading nonprofit provider of school-based substance abuse prevention services. FCD works to provide students and the adults who care for them with the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to make intelligent, healthy choices about alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Prior to joining FCD in 1996, Hall worked at South Middlesex Opportunity Counseling in Framingham, Mass., as a treatment facilitator at the Framingham Detox Center and as a substance abuse counselor and manager of a halfway house.

Hall will speak to Senior School students at assembly Monday morning and to Senior School faculty on Tuesday morning.

Check back for details on additional 2019-2020 programs as they are announced!

Past Programs

Julie Lythcott-Haims - How to Raise an Adult - Oct. 17, 2019

Shady Side Academy joined the Pittsburgh Consortium of Independent Schools and Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures in presenting former Stanford University dean Julie Lythcott-Haims, the New York Times best-selling author of the anti-helicopter parenting manifesto, How to Raise an Adult, at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Oakland.

Dr. Deborah Gilboa - The Expectation Gap - Jan. 9, 2019

Parenting and youth development expert Deborah Gilboa, M.D, popularly known as "Doctor G," spoke to parents about "the expectation gap" between parents and kids, and how parents can safely step back so youth can step up to grow in character, confidence and ability. The founder of, Dr. Gilboa is an industry-leading speaker, author, social influencer and media personality, as well as a board-certified attending family physician at Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill Health Center. The presentation was free and open to the public. Dr. G also spoke to SSA students in grades 4-8.

Dr. Suniya Luthar - Youth in High Achieving Schools: Preliminary Findings on Shady Side Academy Students - Nov. 27, 2018

Nationally recognized expert Dr. Suniya Luthar returned to SSA in fall 2018 to conduct an assessment of SSA students as part of her research on anxiety in youth at high-achieving schools. In October, Senior School students took an anonymous online survey covering topics such as personal values, empathy and kindness, depression and anxiety, substance abuse, and relationships with friends. Then in November, Dr. Luthar presented her preliminary findings and recommendations specific to the SSA community to PK-12 faculty and parents as well as to Senior School students.

SSA Parents: Watch a video of Dr. Luthar's presentation and view the presentation slides (login required)

Dr. Suniya Luthar - Privileged & Pressured: The Risks of Growing Up in an Affluent Community - Apr. 3, 2018

Dr. Suniya Luthar, professor of psychology at Arizona State University and nationally recognized expert in vulnerability and resilience, worked with SSA PK-12 faculty at an in-service day and spoke to parents in the local community. She shared her research showing that teens in high-achieving schools and affluent communities experience significantly higher rates of anxiety, depression and substance use than national averages and offered parenting strategies for cultivating resilience in our children.

SSA Parents: Watch a video of Dr. Luthar's presentation and view the presentation slides (login required)

Dr. Sameer Hinduja - Cyberbullying & Unwise Social Media Use - Jan. 9, 2018

Dr. Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, spoke to parents about how teens today are using and misusing their phones and various Internet-based technologies, with a focus on cyberbullying and unsafe social media practices. Some of the latest apps and sites were discussed, as well as what adults can do to mitigate problems within those environments. Dr. Hinduja also spoke to SSA Middle and Senior School students and faculty during his two-day visit to campus.

SSA Parents: Watch a video of Dr. Hinduja's presentation (login required)

John Tummon - Talking to Your Children About Alcohol & Drugs - Dec. 11, 2017

John Tummon, a prevention specialist with FCD Prevention Works, presented a workshop for SSA parents to offer support and guidance in helping children enjoy an alcohol- and drug-free adolescence. He provided up-to-date facts and statistics about current drug and alcohol use and trends, and offered effective ways to communicate with children about alcohol and drugs from a health-based perspective. Tummon also spoke to students in grades 7-12 and to Middle and Senior School faculty during his two-day visit to campus.

PDF parent resources provided by FCD :

SSA Parents: Watch a video of Tummon's presentation (login required)

Alexander Heffner - The Future of Civil Discourse - March 7, 2017

Alexander Heffner, host of the PBS series The Open Mind, spoke to parents about the divisiveness saturating contemporary politics, the proliferation of fake news and social media clickbait, and how we can try to correct the vicious cycle of incivility. Heffner also spoke to Senior School students at an all-school assembly the following morning.

Screenagers - Documentary Screening - Feb. 23, 2017

SSA held a free community screening of the documentary Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age, which is about the impact of the digital age on children and how to help them minimize harmful effects and find balance. SSA students in grades 6-10 also viewed the film in school.

Download the Parent Guide.

Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair - The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age - Nov. 9, 2016

Clinical psychologist Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair hosted a presentation and Q&A for parents on how technology and media use by kids and parents impacts childhood development and family relationships. She offered practical strategies for managing technology use and for nourishing attention, creativity, empathy and meaningful relationships. The presentation was made possible through SSA's partnership with WQED's iQ: SmartParent.

Rosetta Lee - Parenting With Identity in Mind - April 5, 2016

Diversity speaker/trainer Rosetta Lee hosted an evening presentation and Q&A for parents after working with SSA's PK-12 faculty during an in-service day. Lee shared research on identity development and discussed how parents can instill positive self-identity in their children and coach them to be positive influences on others' identities.

SSA Parents: Watch a video of Lee's presentation (login required)

Dr. David Delmonico - Digital Health & Safety - Jan. 23, 2016

Digital safety expert and Duquesne University professor Dr. David Delmonico spoke to Junior and Middle School parents about keeping their kids safe online. Delmonico also spoke to students in grades 3-8 during the school day.

Download the Parent Handout

SSA Parents: Watch the video of Dr. Delmonico's presentation (login required)

Most Likely to Succeed - Documentary Screening - Jan. 4, 2016

SSA hosted a free community screening of the documentary Most Likely to Succeed, which explores the history of education, revealing the growing shortcomings of our school model in todayʼs innovative world. The screening was followed by panel discussion.

Nancy Gruver - Communicating With Your Growing Daughter - Oct. 12, 2015

Author and New Moon Girls Media founder Nancy Gruver hosted a presentation and Q&A for parents about how to talk to your daughter at various life stages about tough subjects such as peer pressure, cliques and self-esteem. Gruver's presentation was made possible through SSA's partnership with WQED's iQ: SmartParent.

Susan Harchelroad - The Effects of Binge Drinking - March 6, 2015

SSA parent Susan Harchelroad, RN, led a presentation and educational discussion with parents about the effects of binge drinking by underage youth. The discussion used a non-judgmental, non-punitive approach to address the medical, social and legal ramifications of binge drinking.

Joel Feldman - Distracted Driving: What Every Parent Should Know - Nov. 18, 2014

Joel Feldman, founder of End Distracted Driving, spoke to parents about how many adults drive distracted, and how we can be better safe driving role models for our kids. Free community presentation. Feldman also spoke to Senior School students at an assembly.

Download the Family Safe Driving Agreement.

David Streight - What the Experts Say About Raising Good Kids - Oct. 13, 2014

David Streight, executive director of the Center for Spiritual And Ethical Education, discussed five parenting practices that the last 30 years of research has shown to maximize the chances of raising kids with good moral reasoning skills who are empathic and altruistic. Free community lecture followed by Q&A. Streight also spoke to SSA faculty and staff earlier that day at an in-service program.

Dr. Michael Rich - Finding Huck Finn: Reclaiming Childhood From a River of Electronic Screens - Sept. 17, 2014

Michael Rich, M.D., M.P.H., a.k.a. "The Mediatrician," spoke about children's media usage and cyber-bullying at an SSA Parents' Association Lunch & Learn. Dr. Rich is the founder and director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children's Hospital Boston.The presentation was made possible by SSA's partnership with WQED iQ: SmartParent.

SSA Parents: Watch a video of Dr. Rich's SSA presentation (login required)

Dr. Leonard Sax - Instagram Is Eating My Daughter and My Son Won't Stop Playing Grand Theft Auto - Dec. 2, 2013

Child development expert and author Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., discussed parenting strategies for social media, online behavior and video games. Free community lecture followed by Q&A.

Everything Is Fine - Teen Dating Violence Awareness Play - Oct. 4, 2012

The play Everything Is Fine was presented by Prime Stage Theatre to raise awareness of teen dating violence. Free community performance followed by panel discussion.

Miss Representation - Documentary Screening - March 8, 2012

SSA hosted a free community screening of the documentary film Miss Representation, which explores how the media's misrepresentation of women has led to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence. The screening was followed by panel discussion.

Race to Nowhere - Documentary Screening - Nov. 4, 2010

SSA hosted a free community screening of the education-focused documentary Race to Nowhere, which explores the high-pressure, high-stakes culture of achievement that pervades the lives of American students and teachers. The screening was followed by panel discussion.

Dr. JoAnn Deak - Aug. 25, 2009

Educator, psychologist and author JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., spoke to SSA parents about child development, learning, identity formation and brain research.

Dr. Robert Brooks - Raising Resilient Children & Adolescents- Aug. 24, 2008

Psychologist and author Robert Brooks, Ph.D., a leading speaker on the themes of resilience, self-esteem, motivation and family relationships, spoke to SSA parents about raising resilient children.

CSEE Parent Webinars

As a benefit of Shady Side's membership in the Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education, SSA parents can access CSEE's Parent Webinars for free by using the SSA-specific link below and setting up an account on the CSEE website.