High School Programs

Summer School (9-12)

High School Summer Campers at Shady Side working for course creditsShady Side Academy offers a variety of Summer School courses for students entering grades 9-12, including for-credit courses in art, mathematics, computer science and science. All capable students are welcome to enroll in for-credit courses, but please be aware that classes are accelerated and involve significant homework assignments. A number of non-credit courses are also offered, including college-prep and interest-driven enrichment courses.

Courses offering a full academic year of credit meet half a day for six weeks, with the exception of science courses. Courses offering one term of academic credit typically meet half a day for two to three weeks. All courses are held on the Senior School campus. Limited busing is available. For-credit courses include lunch.

Please note some courses have prerequisites in order to enroll. For-credit summer courses are condensed and therefore accelerated due to the shortened duration. Students can expect additional work at home each evening. Read course descriptions carefully before registering. Most courses have enrollment limits so that we can provide a quality learning experience for every student. All courses are subject to cancellation if fewer than five students enroll prior to Friday, May 31, 2019.

Notes on For-Credit Courses

Transfer of Credits: Credit for the purpose of making up a failure has been accepted by public and independent schools. Arrangements for credit transfer should be discussed when registering for Summer School. Shady Side Academy does not assume responsibility for credits not transferring.

Absences: To earn credit in for-credit summer courses, students must attend all class sessions. We recognize that from time to time, circumstances arise beyond the control of students or their families, including illness or emergency, that make attendance impossible. The Summer School director may deem an absence approved or unapproved based on available documentation. Unapproved absence from any course may result in no credit earned.

Shady Side Academy Families: Please note only one graduation requirement in any discipline can be earned through summer study. For example, science requires two years of study – only one of the required courses may be taken in the summer. To read the policies regarding summer study, please see the Senior School Course Catalog.

Progress Reports

Progress reports are issued in for-credit courses at the end of the third and sixth weeks of Summer School. The Summer School director receives interim reports on students not performing satisfactorily, in which case parents are notified and action plans formulated.

Meet the Summer School Director

David BarndollarDr. David Barndollar is Shady Side Academy's Summer School Director. He is an experienced educator and school leader deeply committed to the development of students. He serves as the chair of the Senior School's English department and has served in a number of capacities over his career as an educator.

Please contact Dr. Barndollar with any questions.

For-Credit Departmental Courses


SOLD OUT! Glass & Advanced Glass Fusion

SOLD OUT! To be added to our waitlist please email Summerprograms@shadysideacademy.org

June 10-14, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Students in this class will have the unique opportunity to explore color, texture, design, patterns and form while working with opaque and transparent sheet glass. Glass is a one-credit class that focuses on the process of fusing, slumping and casting glass in an electric kiln. Its aim is to provide opportunities for students to expand their visualization and conceptualization skills while challenging their creative problem-solving abilities.

PREREQUISITE: 3D Studio Art Foundation

Additionally, students who have successfully completed the first-level Glass class are able to enroll in the Advanced Glass class. Both classes (first-level and Advanced Glass) are offered simultaneously and they have different project assignments, which are based on individual skill level at the beginning of the course.


Math I

June 10 - July 19, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Math I is a study of core topics in algebra and geometry. Students will complete a packet of problems through which the following key concepts are learned: the distributive property, order of operations, percent, slope, linear and quadratic relationships, perimeter, area, volume, direct variation, uniform motion, exponents, radicals, the Pythagorean Theorem, angle relationships and the distance formula. Shady Side students enrolled in the course will be prepared for Math II, while non-Shady Side students will receive Algebra I credit.


Biology 1

June 17 - July 19, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Tuesdays from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.)

This is a junior-level course covering ecology, cell structure and function, genetics, development, plant and animal structure and function, respiration, photosynthesis and microbiology.

PREREQUISITE: Physics 1 and Chemistry 1

Chemistry 1

June 17 - July 19, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Tuesdays from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.)

This is a sophomore-level course covering the fundamental concepts of modern chemical theory, utilizing the laboratory investigation techniques taught in the Concepts of Physics course. The topics covered include: atomic theory, chemical structure and bonding, molecular geometry, stoichiometry and quantitative analysis, gas laws, acid/base chemistry, kinetics, equilibrium, thermodynamics, oxidation/reduction reactions and basic organic chemistry.

PREREQUISITE: must be rising tenth graders who have completed Physics 1


Digital Media Production

July 8-19, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.


This class will give you a better grasp on digital media production. We will focus on core concepts as well as some more advanced techniques in the studio and on location. The process from concept, shoot, edit, and presentation will be fully explored. The course will include hands-on demonstrations with professional techniques and equipment as well as elements of compelling storytelling. Experience with Premiere Pro and/or iMovie is a plus.

SSA students will receive 1 credit for this course, graded on a pass/fail basis.

Digital Electronics

June 10-21, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.


In this course students explore some of the digital devices using microcontrollers. Students will gain insights into computational reasoning at the hardware level and will get some hands-on experience with robotics components. The course covers the basics of logic gates and their applications, functions, and purpose as the building blocks of digital systems. Some of the projects involve how to build LED displays, turn servos and motors, react to light and temperature, and interface with remote controls, joysticks, and smartphones. Students will use breadboards, the Arduino board, robotics components, and modeling software such as Logisym. Students will get an overview of electronics and how software transforms ideas into reality.

This course is open to rising freshmen and above; SSA students will receive course credit (on a pass/fail grading basis), but this course does not meet the Academy's graduation requirements in Computer Science.

Intro to Artificial Intelligence

June 10-21, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.


The Artificial Intelligence class is geared toward those students who have an interest in learning theoretical and practical concepts of how machines “think.” Students will develop skills in using programming languages that are geared toward machine reasoning, then apply those skills to building simple artificial intelligence applications. Topics include knowledge representation, reasoning algorithms with puzzles and games, machine learning, and natural language understanding. If time permits, students may also work with applying AI to robotics. The bulk of class time will be spent on lab work. It is recommended that students should have a strong background in algebra and some prior programming experience.

This course is open to rising freshmen and above; SSA students will receive course credit (on a pass/fail grading basis), but this course does not meet the Academy's graduation requirements in Computer Science.

Intro to Materials Science

July 8-19, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.


This course is a fast-paced, hands-on survey of the scope and purpose of materials science and engineering. Students will learn about the major classes of materials --metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites -- and be able to identify why specific materials are chosen for given applications. This will help students understand the role that solid-state chemistry plays in their everyday lives. Students will also look beyond chemistry to learn about how processing materials differently will alter their microstructure and how that ultimately affects the properties and performance of a material. Students will also gain an insight into the profession of materials engineering and how broadly important it is for all disciplines of engineering. As a hands-on course, students will perform frequent experiments and watch demonstrations, including the use of both a tensile/compression testing in a universal testing machine (for determining mechanical properties), and an SEM (scanning electron microscope, to investigate the structure and chemical composition of materials).

SSA students will receive 1 credit for this course, graded on a letter-grade basis.

PREREQUISITE: Physics 1 and Chemistry 1


Algebra Prep

June 24-28, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Algebra + Summer = FUN!  This non-credit course is designed for the student who wants to hone skills learned previously or get a leg up on an upcoming Algebra I or SSA Mathematics I course.  Topics will include: operations with signed numbers, order of operations, linear equations, inequalities and functions, systems of linear equations and inequalities, quadratic equations and functions, exponents, radical expressions and equations, and rational expressions and equations.  This intense immersion in Algebra will ensure that the student does not lose mathematical ground over the summer.

Analytic Research Writing @ SSA

June 24 - July 5, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

This is a class for rising sophomores and juniors who are new to SSA, or for any current Senior School students looking to improve their analytical research writing skills to prepare for Patterns in Western Identity and U.S. History. For students who have struggled with NARs or research papers or those who have not yet encountered the rigorous demands of the History Department’s writing curriculum, this is the place to be! Great prep for the U.S. History Paper!

Students will use databases and the library, evaluate sources, find evidence, work on analysis, develop outlines, and more as they complete a research paper on a topic of their choice. They will assess the paper using the History Department rubric and finish the course with a personal reflection to help apply the principles of this course to the upcoming year. By the end of the course, students will be more comfortable approaching research papers independently.

Calculus Prep

July 8-12, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

This non-credit course is designed for the student who wishes to review Pre-Calculus topics to prepare for an upcoming Calculus course.  Topics will include: linear, quadratic, polynomial, rational, radical, exponential and logarithmic equations and functions as well as limits. 

College Essay Writing Workshop

Session 1: June 17-21, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Session 2: June 24-28, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Session 3: July 29 - August 2, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Session 4: August 5-9, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.


Each student should expect to produce original, student-generated work of the highest quality – specifically, an activities resume and both a short and a long Common Application essay. This workshop offers a unique combination of one-on-one conferences and guided revision.

SAT/ACT Test Prep

Shady Side Academy partners with the alumni-owned Goldstein Test Prep to bring SAT/ACT prep courses to our Senior School campus.

Learn more about the Goldstein Test Prep program highlights and upcoming programs.

Visit the Goldstein Test Prep website for a full list of courses.

Camp Internships (9-12)

Counselors in training Shady Side Academy offers several opportunities for high school students interested in working in one of our SSA Summer programs. Becoming a member of our close-knit staff is a wonderful opportunity for responsible, vibrant and outgoing teenagers looking to work with children. We provide ample opportunities for leadership and advancement, while also giving lots of training, feedback and positive reinforcement. Working at camp can be one of the most memorable and instructive jobs you'll ever have; join us to see what the fun is all about! The positions below are highly competitive and we typically reach our cap by June 1.

Grade 9: Leaders-in-Training

Leaders in training Leaders-in-training, or LITs, are rising ninth graders who attend our middle school day camp, Camp Ren, while spending several hours each week volunteering with our elementary-aged Day Camp Discovery children. LITs also receive leadership instruction. All hours are recorded and documented so they can be put towards school requirements, scholarships, awards, etc.

The LIT program is reserved only for campers signed up for Camp Ren. Since LITs volunteer several hours each week, they receive a 5 percent discount on their Camp Ren tuition after registration. Learn more about Camp Ren.

Grade 10: Fellows

Fellowships are opportunities for rising tenth graders to volunteer with SSA Summer programs. Fellows have two options: they can join two counselors in overseeing a group of elementary-aged campers at Day Camp Discovery; or they can join an activity area to act as a teaching assistant. All hours are documented so that they can be used towards National Honor Society, scholarships, etc.

The application process to become a fellow is easy. Simply complete our online employment application, and you will be contacted for a brief interview or phone call. Once accepted, all fellows must complete a Pennsylvania Criminal Background Check, a Pennsylvania Childline Background Check and an FBI Background Check.

Grades 11-12: Junior Counselors

Junior counselors Rising juniors and seniors can apply to become junior counselors for our elementary-aged Day Camp Discovery. Junior counselors are responsible for helping counselors lead co-ed groups of 10-16 campers in lessons/activities, and providing a safe, fun and quality day camp experience for all children. Junior counselors actively lead campers in scheduled programs, oversee activities and assist counselors and specialists.

The application process to become a fellow is easy. Simply complete our online employment application, and you will be contacted for a brief interview or phone call. Once accepted, all junior counselors must complete a Pennsylvania Criminal Background Check, a Pennsylvania Childline Background Check and an FBI Background Check.

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Contact Us

Nate Verbanets

Nathan Verbanets
Director of Programs


"My daughter was ecstatic to learn she was able to attend the East End Explorers camp again. Each day she came home, she poured out the day's events like a faucet. She was extremely happy. It was truly a blessing to know that it was made possible because of your thoughtfulness. Thank you so much for all your assistance. Somehow I don't feel thank you is quite enough."

"Our son has been attending [camp] for the past six years. He has enjoyed every summer attending Discovery Camp and Camp Ren and looks forward to coming back year after year!"

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