Student Support

The Middle School provides a variety of support services to students to promote their development as individuals and learners.

Our student support team offers opportunities for academic support and enrichment, for the development of ongoing social and emotional growth, and for overall heath and well-being. As a team, we are committed to helping students successfully negotiate the rich and challenging learning environment at Shady Side Academy.

Meet the Middle School student support staff.


Each Middle School student has an advisor, who is also his/her homeroom teacher. The advisor is the primary adult who oversees that student's program and progress. Students see their advisors at least three times a day: homeroom, morning break and conference period. Advisors work regularly with their advisee groups of approximately 10 students on issues of concern, such as Internet safety and relationships. These groups form a close bond throughout the year and are an important part of the Middle School experience.

Academic Support

The Middle School schedule includes a conference period each afternoon, when students return to their homerooms with their advisors. Most of these periods are used as either a study hall or a time to conference with another teacher. This daily time allows students to check in with teachers as well as to learn skills to be proactive learners.

During the athletics/activity period, there is also a tutorial program available for students who need extra one-on-one time with teachers. This time provides an opportunity for a teacher to request that a student miss athletics in order to catch up or work through a challenging concept.

Learning Specialist

Learning specialists are located on each of our campuses reflecting Shady Side Academy's commitment to supporting our students, especially those with learning differences. This ensures that a developmentally appropriate continuum of support services is provided to students as they advance through the Academy. The Middle School has one full-time learning specialist.

During the Middle School years, the focus for all students is to become actively engaged in their education and to better understand themselves as learners. The learning specialist, in partnership with classroom teachers, supports student development of study skills, organizational skills, test preparation strategies and self-­advocacy strategies. All sixth grade students attend a year-­long study skills class that lays the foundation for skills that are reinforced throughout their Middle School experience. Students are guided toward the acquisition of self-­advocacy skills by learning to formulate questions and create meaningful dialogue in order to meet with teachers effectively. The learning specialist also mentors students with accommodation plans in terms of understanding their learning differences, developing particular strategies that can enhance their academic performance, and providing guidance on how to best to utilize their accommodations.

At the Middle School, the students’ academic and learning skills continue to develop to ensure a smooth transition to the Senior School.

Learn more about Learning Support at SSA.

School Counselor

A licensed clinical psychologist is on staff to provide support for student and student-related family needs. The role of the school psychologist/counselor is to offer 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.

School Nurse

The school nurse is responsible for managing both acute and chronic illness as well as injury. The nurse acts as a liaison between families, physicians, athletic trainers and the Academy. The nurse also works with the support team to provide management of the child as a whole person – not just the injury or illness. As per state guidelines, the nurse is responsible for health screening, record keeping and medication administration with physician and parent permission.