SHADY SIDE ACADEMY MERGER
Fox Chapel Country Day School is proud to join Shady Side Academy in providing a unique Pre-K through fifth grade experience in the North Hills. Situated on a seventeen acre wooded campus adjacent to protected Fox Chapel parkland, the outdoor environment provides multiple opportunities for play, discovery, and exploration. Students enjoy an enormous amount of time learning in the outdoor environment, as well as in spacious, bright classrooms with dedicated, talented teachers.
Fox Chapel Country Day School provides a foundation centered in academics and the arts with attention to individualized and small group instruction. Close partnerships between families and teachers assist in developing nurturing atmosphere and lifelong friendships. The commitment to ensuring that childhood is a journey, not a race, is evident from the moment one enters the campus.
Join us for an upcoming open house to learn more about Fox Chapel Country Day School and tour the campus! RSVP Online or call Brenda Hafner at 412-963-8644 to join us for an Open House!
Interested in inquiring about admission to the Fox Chapel Country Day School campus of SSA for 2017-2018? Please inquire online or call 412-963-8644.
Announcement of Intended Merger - March 3, 2016
Shady Side Academy and Fox Chapel Country Day School
Sign Letter of Intent in Preparation for Merger
March 3, 2016 – The boards of trustees of Shady Side Academy (SSA) and Fox Chapel Country Day School (FCCDS) have executed a Letter of Intent in preparation for a merger of the two schools, with the goal of FCCDS joining SSA as a second elementary school campus in 2017-2018.
“The planned merger will be a big moment in the history of these two schools and offer significant advantages to both institutions,” said SSA Board of Trustees Chair Mike Hannon. “For Shady Side, it will extend our geographic reach into the growing North Hills, while our existing Junior School continues to enjoy strong enrollment in the thriving East End.”
“Sixty percent of our Middle School enrollment is from the northern suburbs, but many of those families don't join us until sixth grade because the commute to our Junior School in Point Breeze is simply too long,” said SSA President Tom Cangiano. “This merger will give more North Hills families access to a Shady Side Academy education at an earlier age. By combining the strengths of each institution, we can ensure that students continue to receive the premier educational experience in the region.”
“We are very excited about formalizing a relationship that has been very close over the years,” said Fox Chapel Country Day School Head of School Sharon Smith. “Historically, Country Day has been a strong feeder for ShadySide’s Middle School, so many Fox Chapel Country Day School families are also Shady Side Academy families.”
While a final agreement is not yet in place, the transaction being planned is a merger and not a purchase. Merger discussions between the two schools have occurred on and off for nearly 30 years, but the timing now meets both schools’ strategic needs. Preliminary merger discussions began in earnest last summer between the two boards, with the objective of establishing an affiliation that preserves the unique attributes of each school’s program and culture.
“Our discussions have been very positive,” said FCCDS Board of Trustees President Tom Karet. “Shady Side has been very respectful of Country Day’s unique culture and place in the community. All discussions have involved structures which preserve that uniqueness, as well as our campus and faculty, while creating long-term, sustainable, high-quality educational opportunities for more students.”
In early February, both SSA and FCCDS notified their faculty, staff and parents of the intention to pursue a merger. Each school has scheduled town hall meetings in March to share the vision for the merger and to answer questions and hear feedback from its constituents. As prescribed by the Letter of Intent, two working committees comprised of trustees, administrators, faculty members and parents of both schools will be diligently working through the curricular and operational aspects of a merger and sharing best practices this spring. The goal is to draft a final merger agreement before the end of the 2015-2016 school year, which would be presented to the boards of both schools for approval.
If approved, the merger would take effect in the 2017-2018 school year. Both the SSA Junior School campus in Point Breeze and the FCCDS campus in Fox Chapel would continue operating in a similar manner as they are today, with both campuses feeding well-prepared students into SSA Middle School. Historically, a majority of FCCDS graduates have gone on to attend SSA Middle School, which is located less than a mile up the road.
“This process has been very collaborative,” said Cangiano. “We are excited about the opportunity of combining our resources to form a unified school community of more than 1,000 students across four campuses.”
Fox Chapel Country Day School is a small, independent, elementary school currently enrolling 107 students in junior pre-kindergarten (age 3) through fifth grade on its 17-acre campus in Fox Chapel. Founded in 1948, the school provides a foundation that is centered in academics and the arts, in which each child can achieve both academic success and personal self-confidence. The school’s motto is “Childhood is a journey, not a race.”
Shady Side Academy is a nationally respected private school in Pittsburgh for boys and girls in grades pre-kindergarten through 12, with an optional boarding experience in high school. Three age-specific campuses with extraordinary resources, teachers who actively mentor, a forward-thinking curriculum, a diverse and inclusive community, and a legacy of alumni accomplishments all inspire Shady Side students to high achievement in academics, the arts and athletics, and to meaningful ambitions in life. Founded in 1883, SSA currently enrolls 945 students across three campuses: 239 students at the seven-acre Junior School in Point Breeze (PK-5), 197 students at the 35-acre Middle School in Fox Chapel (6-8), and 509 students, including 62 boarders, at the 130-acre Senior School in Fox Chapel (9-12).