Founded in a one-room schoolhouse in the neighborhood of Shadyside in 1883, Shady Side Academy has set the standard for academic excellence in Pittsburgh for more than 130 years. The school has expanded to include four campuses for grades PK through 12 and has gained a national reputation for its academics, athletics and arts.
Junior School (Point Breeze, PK-5): The seven-acre Junior School campus includes a K-5 building with newly renovated science labs, art facilities, a gym, stage, library, computer lab, Idea Lab and SMART Boards in every grade; a recently renovated PK building; three playgrounds; an athletic field; and educational gardens.
Country Day School (Fox Chapel, PK-5): The 17-acre, wooded Country Day School campus includes a library, technology center, gym, science lab, auditorium, arts facilities and SMART Boards. Outdoor spaces include an educational garden, athletic field, playground and outdoor classroom.
Middle School (Fox Chapel, 6-8): The 35-acre Middle School campus includes an academic building with a dedicated sixth grade wing, a gym, a library, three newly renovated science labs, two computer labs, arts facilities, a garden, SMART Boards in every classroom and two athletic fields. (Students also use athletic facilities at the nearby Senior School.)
Senior School (Fox Chapel, 9-12): The 130-acre, college-like Senior School campus features six academic buildings – including Gold LEED-certified Rowe Hall, the Benedum Visual Arts Center, the Hillman Center for Performing Arts and a library – plus a dining hall, two single-gender residence halls and a farm. The McIlroy Center for Science and Innovation is under construction and scheduled to open in 2018. Athletic facilities include a multi-purpose stadium with lights, artificial turf field and eight-lane all-weather track; five additional athletic fields; a full-size ice hockey rink; two gyms; an indoor pool; two fitness facilities; and 10 tennis courts.
Our Junior School campus is located in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Point Breeze. Our Country Day, Middle and Senior School campuses are less than a mile from one another in the Fox Chapel suburb of Pittsburgh. Classes take advantage of the city with trips to the Carnegie museums, Fort Pitt, Heinz Hall, The Andy Warhol Museum and more.
More than 1,035 boys and girls, with 28 percent students of color. Approximately 15 percent of Senior School students are boarders. Students come from 53 ZIP codes in Allegheny County, plus 10 other PA counties, nine states and nine countries. When students enroll, they stay and thrive; SSA has the lowest attrition rate of any local independent school.
Need-based financial aid and merit-based grants and scholarships are available to students in grades PK-12, and approximately 30 percent of Shady Side students receive some sort of financial assistance.
Our student-teacher ratio is 8:1. Of 130 faculty members, 75 percent hold advanced degrees. The faculty receives $250,000 annually in professional development funds.
Our average class size is 15. The Junior School curriculum at Point Breeze features the Math in Focus (Singapore Math) program, Writing Workshop, Spanish beginning in PK and interdisciplinary projects in every grade. The Country Day School curriculum features the Reading Wonders program, early introduction of Spanish, an extensive visual and performing arts program, and year-round outdoor science exploration. The Middle School curriculum builds critical thinking and writing skills and includes hands-on science courses, three languages including Chinese, and the option to take high school-level math classes. The Senior School’s rigorous college-preparatory curriculum includes advanced courses in all subjects, AP courses, a variety of electives and independent studies, as well as a number of global and off-campus programs.
Students PK-12 gain an intuitive grasp of technology using computers, tablets and SMART Boards. All four campuses have computer labs and tablet carts that can be used by any teacher. A 1:1 tablet program is offered in grades 5-8.
Junior School students have art and music classes several days a week, with instrumental music beginning in second grade. Country Day School students have daily art and music classes, and participate in multiple all-school performances as well as grade-level productions. Both the Middle and Senior Schools offer an array of visual art and music classes (including several musical ensembles), and perform a fall play and winter musical each year. All four schools offer additional arts options after school.
All elementary school students take physical education classes, while Middle and Senior School students have a variety of PE and athletics options. The Senior School offers 27 competitive sports teams. Varsity teams are highly competitive in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League, as well as the Midwest Prep Hockey League, Women's Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest Scholastic Lacrosse Association.
The boarding program, which offers five- and seven-day options, provides a safe environment to learn independence; after-hours access to facilities, teachers and learning resources; nightly supervised study halls; the opportunity to participate in special residence hall events and to live with teachers and classmates; the convenience of extra sleep and study time. The culture created by boarding also enhances the day student experience.
One hundred percent of SSA graduates attend four-year colleges or universities, and 62 percent of 2017 graduates are attending schools ranked in the U.S. News ∓ World Report Top 50. Our College Counseling Office has three full-time counselors dedicated to assisting students in finding their “best fit” colleges and universities. See our four-year college matriculation list.