Community Connections

Career Connections Event at Pittsburgh's Shady Side AcademyShady Side Academy recognizes that we live in a connected world that grows increasingly smaller each day. By leveraging its deep and robust network of alumni, parents and friends, SSA helps students make connections with people and organizations outside of our campus gates and around the world - truly making the world our classroom, our stage, our textbook and our laboratory.

The following are just a few examples of the many ways Shady Side students make community connections locally, nationally and globally.

Local Connections

SSA students make connections with the people and organizations of Western Pennsylvania in a variety of ways. Local professionals regularly visit classrooms at all grade levels to share their expertise and work hands-on with students, in conjunction with an academic course or unit.

  • Country Day School visitors have included various musicians, a beekeeper, medical professionals, firefighters and scientists.
  • Junior School visitors have included beekeepers, firefighters, a geologists, colonial artists, historians, financial literacy experts, symphony musicians and video production experts.
  • Middle School students have learned from experts in sustainable energy, geology, herpetology, genealogy and writing. The local modern dance group Attack Theatre also has worked in residence with students, exploring movement and dance.
  • Senior School visitors have included mathematicians, computer scientists, architects, symphony musicians, authors and poets. The Richard F. Gregory Visiting Writers Series brings an author to campus for a full day each year. In addition, alumni and professionals in a variety of fields visit classrooms and speak at assembly to help students learn about careers.

Field trips allow students in PK-12 to explore Pittsburgh's rich educational and cultural resources.

  • Country Day School field trips include visits to Beechwood Farms Nature Preserve, Camp Lutherlyn, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
  • Junior School field trips include visits to the Carnegie Science Center, Triple B Farms, Fort Ligonier, Fort Pitt Museum, Heinz History Center and the University of Pittsburgh Nationality Rooms.
  • Middle School field trips include visits to Hindu temples, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and the Carnegie Museums, as well as exploring Pittsburgh's rivers with RiverQuest.
  • Senior School students interested in medical careers have visited UPMC's Neuroapoptosis and Translational Therapeutics Lab. Economic students have given presentations at Pitt's School of Business. Science students have studied physics at Kennywood. Art students have explored the Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh Glass Center and Clay Place.
  • At all four schools, students attend local theatrical performances at Heinz Hall, the Benedum Center and other local venues.

National Connections

Several opportunities exist for SSA students to engage with peers across the country and to explore our nation through school-sponsored trips.

  • Country Day School students in fourth and fifth grades travel annually to The Valley School in Ligonier, PA for a day of friendship and a fun soccer game.
  • Junior School third graders collaborate with students at the Indian Hill School in New Jersey on an interdisciplinary creative writing and art project.
  • Middle School eighth graders travel to Washington, D.C. each spring to explore our nation's capital and engage with government officials.
  • Senior School history students travel to historical sites such as Harper's Ferry and the Antietam Battlefield.
  • Senior School students can elect to study off-campus for a semester through programs such as CITYterm in New York City, Chewonki Institute's Maine Coast Semester and High Mountain Institute's Rocky Mountain Semester.
  • Senior School music students have traveled to New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Chicago to participate in workshops with professional musicians, attend professional performances and to perform themselves.

Global Connections

Through travel programs and modern technology, SSA students build global awareness and competency by connecting with students, teachers and professionals around the world.

  • Country Day School students in second grade participate in a Flat Stanley project where they send their flat friends all over America as part of their study of maps and globes.
  • Junior School first graders communicate with elementary students in Australia using Web 2.0 resources such as blogs and videos as a part of their Australia unit each year.
  • Middle School students went on a two-week expedition to the Amazon rainforest while the rest of the school followed their adventures virtually via the Internet.
  • Senior School students can study abroad in France, Germany, China or Spain for a few weeks or a whole year through SSA's International Program. Families also have the opportunity to host international exchange students from these countries who visit SSA.
  • Senior School students have the opportunity to win grants to perform service projects around the globe through the Parkin Fellowship Program.
  • Senior School students and faculty have participated in summer seminars about the Holocaust in Poland, Berlin and Prague through Classrooms Without Borders.

Service Connections

Instilling the lifelong value of service has been a hallmark of a Shady Side Academy education. Students in grades PK-12 engage in service projects throughout the year that reach beyond our campuses to the greater Pittsburgh region and around the world. Learn more.

Hillman Center for Performing Arts Connections

Through partnerships and collaborations with organizations, institutions and individuals throughout the Pittsburgh community and beyond, the Hillman Center for Performing Arts extends its arts programming through a robust community outreach program.

  • Each year, one or more of the Hillman Performing Arts Series performers does community outreach at schools, libraries or Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
  • Free community events at the Hillman include concerts, documentary screenings, art exhibits, parent education programs and more.