Shady Side Academy offers a distinctive student experience that develops not only outstanding scholars, but also outstanding citizens. Through a well-coordinated character education program that is taught by both word and example, we foster the development of a strong moral compass in our students.

Our five Guiding Principles of honesty, kindness, responsibility, respect and safety form the foundation of our PK-12 character education program, which begins in the youngest grades. Junior School students learn to live “The Shady Side Way” in wellness class and at assembly, while Country Day School students learn these values during community-building times such as assembly and morning meeting. It continues at the Middle School, where the school motto "What You Do Matters" is reinforced through the advisory program, student-led committees and assemblies. At the Senior School, regular conversations occur in weekly advisory meetings about how the Guiding Principles play out in our school and our community.