Newsweek ranks Shady Side Academy best STEM high school in Pittsburgh

Four Pittsburgh area high Schools ranked among top 500

Courtesy of Shady Side Academy


Newsweek recently announced its ranking of the top 5,000 STEM high schools in America for 2020, honoring excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. The national news magazine ranked Shady Side Academy as the best STEM high school in the Pittsburgh area and No. 6 in Pennsylvania. Nationally, Shady Side came in at No. 250 overall out of the 5,000 public and private schools that were recognized. Three other Pittsburgh-area high schools made the top 500: Winchester Thurston (283), Sewickley Academy (372) and Fox Chapel Area High School (461). Newsweek’s November 15 double issue includes the top 500 STEM high schools, while the full list of 5,000 schools is available online at

Newsweek partnered with to rank America’s Best STEM High Schools. The list includes schools in every region of the country that offer skilled teachers who keep up with developments in these fields and create dynamic learning environments to engage students. The top 5,000 schools were curated from Educational Research™ using a proprietary scoring logic that took into consideration a broad set of quantitative and qualitative data inputs collected from Q2 2015–Q3 2019. The purpose was to determine which schools best offer their students experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – as defined by the Congressional Research Service – while preparing them for post‐secondary outcomes. Additional factors, including affluence and median household income, were taken into consideration in compiling the rankings.

Niche also rates Shady Side Academy among the best STEM high schools locally and nationally in its 2020 rankings. SSA was ranked the No. 1 Best High School for STEM in the Pittsburgh area, No. 2 in Pennsylvania, and No. 160 in America. Niche ranks SSA the No. 1 Best Private High School and the No. 1 Best Private K-12 School in the Pittsburgh area, as well as the No. 1 Best Boarding High School in Pennsylvania. Niche, based in Pittsburgh, is the leading platform for finding information to choose the perfect school, college or neighborhood, providing facts, ratings and user reviews.  See SSA’s Niche profile and rankings here.

Shady Side Academy’s Senior School in Fox Chapel recently opened two brand new STEM facilities: the 22,000-square-foot, LEED Gold McIlroy Center for Science & Innovation, which opened in fall 2018 and houses spacious classroom-labs for biology, chemistry and physics, and the 12,000-square-foot Glimcher Tech & Design Hub, which opened in fall 2019 and houses a fabrication lab, robotics arena, workshop, wet lab, computer labs and more. The school’s challenging college preparatory curriculum emphasizes problem-solving and project-based learning and offers a wide range of advanced college-level electives, including organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, advanced physics, advanced biology, robotics, mobile app development, artificial intelligence, differential equations, multivariable calculus, fractal geometry and chaos theory, and more. An independent study program allows juniors and seniors to design their own projects for credit, allowing them explore in depth an area of interest beyond curricular offerings.

“Together, the Glimcher Tech & Design Hub and the McIlroy Center for Science & Innovation give Shady Side Academy some of the most distinctive high school STEM facilities in the region, which will prepare our students to lead and serve in an increasingly creative economy,” said SSA President Bart Griffith Jr. ’93.

Shady Side Academy is a nationally respected private school in Pittsburgh for boys and girls in grades PK-12, with an optional boarding experience in high school. Four 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. Learn more at