Student Support

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

Our student support team offers opportunities for academic support and enrichment, for the development of ongoing social and emotional growth, and for overall health 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 Senior School student support team.


Every Senior School faculty member serves as an advisor to five to seven students. The advisor serves the primary link between the Academy and the student and his/her parents. The advisor cultivates an open, communicative relationship with each advisee and serves as that student's advocate, supporter and mentor. Advisors monitor students' academic and social progress through weekly advisory group meetings and individual meetings with each advisee. New students are assigned an advisor based on common interests, and returning students may choose their advisor. Freshmen are typically assigned to advisee groups with other freshmen, while sophomores through seniors are in mixed-grade advisee groups.

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 Senior School has one full-time learning specialist.

During the Senior School years, students are provided mentorship for increasing their
independence which aids them in utilizing effective academic and planning strategies on this campus, college and beyond. The learning specialist guides each student to take responsibility for their role as a learner and empowers them to implement strategies to better navigate the demands of the curriculum. As the students mature into young adults, they are supported in their development of appropriate, efficient and effective self-­advocacy skills.

The learning specialist is a resource for the faculty, administration and students to share current research-­based information on learning differences and to assist in the implementation of accommodation plans. The coordination of accommodations with the College Board and the ACT standardized testing organizations is also provided by the learning specialist.

Learn more about Learning Support at SSA.

School Counselor

The Senior School counselor offers consultative, screening and referral 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 full-time 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 student support team to provide management of the child as a whole person – not just the injury or illness. Per state guidelines, the nurse is responsible for health screening, record keeping and medication administration with physician and parent permission. At the Senior School, the nurse also provides specific after-hours care and medication administration for boarding students.

Health Center

In 2017, SSA opened a spacious new Health Center on the Senior School campus. The 2,000-square-foot facility is adjacent to the after-hours nurse's house and includes a nurses' office, exam room, waiting area, six private beds, a kitchen, two ADA-accessible bathrooms and wireless internet.