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Laying the foundation for lifelong success and achievement

O'Shaughnessy Program

The O’Shaughnessy Program serves freshman and sophomore students who would benefit from improving literacy and learning skills in order to succeed in a college preparatory environment. Admission to the program is based on entrance exam scores, junior high standardized test scores, junior high academic performance and/or psycho-educational testing. Incoming freshmen who are admitted into the O'Shaughnessy Program are required to successfully complete a summer school course in literacy and learning prior to freshman year. Depending on test scores, some incoming freshmen may also be required to complete Algebra 1 during the summer.

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How it began
Loyola Academy's tradition of providing academic support to ensure a successful college preparatory journey for every Rambler began more than four decades ago with the establishment of the O'Shaughnessy Program (OSH). Launched in 1973 with a generous gift from Loyola benefactor Eileen O'Shaughnessy, the O'Shaughnessy Program has expanded and evolved to meet the diverse learning needs of Ramblers in the 21st century.

If you have any questions, please contact

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  • Photo of Sara Cagle

    Mrs. Sara Cagle 

    Director of the O'Shaughnessy Program
    (847) 920-2743

The OSH Difference

  • Small class size
  • Individualized instruction
  • Literacy instruction to enhance reading and writing skills across the curriculum
  • A team approach to teaching and learning
  • A close-knit community of students and teachers

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  • Who can benefit?

    Strong reading, writing, study, executive-function, critical-thinking and self-advocacy skills are critical to the success of every Rambler. The O'Shaughnessy Program serves Loyola Academy freshmen and sophomores who would benefit from additional support and instruction in these areas to succeed in a rigorous, Jesuit, college preparatory environment.
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  • How does it work?

    The O'Shaughnessy Program provides a structured, nurturing academic support system designed to promote lifelong independent learning, literacy and self-advocacy skills. Our goal is to equip O'Shaughnessy Scholars with the skills and confidence they need to thrive in a college preparatory environment. Our holistic approach includes individualized academic instruction tailored to the specific learning needs of each student, as well as instruction in literacy, study, test-preparation and self-advocacy skills.
  • A team approach

    As any program alumnus will tell you, O'Shaughnessy Scholars always get the help they need, thanks to our community-based approach to teaching and learning. Students are organized into teams that provide valuable peer support and encouragement as a team of specially trained teachers coordinates skill-building across the curriculum.
  • Laying the foundation

    Incoming O'Shaughnessy Scholars are enrolled in level 1 English, theology and world studies courses (and occasionally math and physics) with a high teacher-to-student ratio. Students also attend an academic support class that focuses on the development of fundamental literacy and executive-functioning skills. If they continue in the program, sophomores will be enrolled in an O'Shaughnessy English class, as well as an academic support class. O'Shaughnessy teachers maintain regular contact with content-area teachers and parents to monitor student progress and discuss ongoing needs.

Prepped for Success

The O'Shaughnessy Skill Set

During their freshman year, O'Shaughnessy Scholars will develop a valuable set of academic and organizational skills that will help them succeed in school and in life, including:
  • Literacy skills such as the use of questioning, annotation and summarization to enhance reading comprehension.
  • Writing skills such as research and information-organization strategies, synthesizing thoughts into essays and editing and revision skills.
  • Executive-function skills such as time management, test preparation and the use of technological tools to stay organized.
  • Critical-thinking skills such as the application of Bloom's Taxonoy (remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating) to process information and engage in higher-order thought processes.

Success Stories

Thousands of successful alumni are living proof that the O'Shaughnessy program lays the foundation for success at Loyola, in higher education and in the larger arena of life. The Ramblers listed below are just a representative sampling of the many O'Shaughnessy Program graduates who have achieved career success in a wide variety of fields ranging from advertising and finance to software engineering and health care.

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  • John Miller '15

    Campus Minister
    Loyola Academy
  • David Stover '13

    Account Executive
    Merkley + Partners
  • Charles Schatz '13

    BMO Financial Group
  • John O'Sullivan '13

    Software Engineer
    Loyola University Chicago
  • Samantha Willens '12

    Clinical Research Associate
    Advanced Clinical
  • Demi Demakos '12

    Senior Staff RN, Emergency Department
    NYU Langone Health
  • Doug Kadison '05

    Wealth Advisor
    Strategies Wealth Advisors
  • Michael B. Brennan '03, PsyD, ABPP

    Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, and Clinical Director, Road Home Program, National Center of Excellence for Veterans and Their Families 
    Rush University Medical Center
  • Katie McKeown '01

    School Psychologist
  • A. J. Sison '96

    Physical Therapist and Personal Trainer
  • Paul Sullivan '92

    Senior Vice President
    TBWA/World Health

Loyola Academy

1100 Laramie Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois 60091-1089  |  847-256-1100
Loyola Academy admits students of any race, color and national origin or ethnic origin.
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