Our Distinctions


Let Your Lives Speak at Sandy Spring Friends School.


Our school’s culture—rooted in the idea that collaboration engenders achievement — can be traced to our Quaker heritage and abiding belief in Quaker values. Our teachers strive to identify and cultivate each child’s intellectual, extracurricular, and social passions. We call it recognizing “the Light within.” In doing so, we help shape students whose actions speak volumes and whose lives become exemplars—not only among their peers and families today but also in their personal, educational, and professional communities in college and beyond.




Five Key Distinctions

We asked students, alumni, and families, about distinguishing characteristics they thought made SSFS stand out. Here are five of the characteristics that rose to the top, each one shining a light on our culture, our people, and our educational philosophy.




Inquiry-based Approach

Inquiry-based Approach


We take an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning, challenging students to strive for academic excellence and to realize their highest potential.



Experience-based Learning

Experience-based Learning


We believe that learning is significantly enriched by experience-based projects and programs. They help develop capable, responsible, and globally aware students who can apply their learning in useful, practical, and meaningful ways.



Teachers as Life Mentors

Teachers as Life Mentors


Because our teachers see each student as a unique individual, they strive to cultivate each student’s inner Light and talents. The resulting dynamic of frequent communication and trust facilitates confidence and growth, as well as an optimistic outlook, a lifelong love of learning, and the desire to accomplish positive change in the world.



Campus as an Outdoor Laboratory

Campus as an Outdoor Laboratory


We prepare students to create a sustainable future on one of the largest and most beautiful campuses in the region.

Our 140-acre campus near urban centers features an old-growth forest and stream, making it a natural environment for study and contemplation and enabling access to a wealth of resources, including six miles of cross-country trails, a pond/swimming hole used seasonally by students and our summer camp, and an aerial adventure park.



Our Community - A Catalyst for Growth

Our Community

A Catalyst for Growth.

We hold the idea of community in the highest regard. It’s an intentional commitment.

We believe in a diverse, collaborative, nonhierarchical community, strengthened by all-school and all-division meetings, an active Parents Association, an engaged alumni body, and an emphasis on affirming and empowering the individual and examining all points of view.



Continue the Journey

We invite you learn about our educational philosophy, meet our community, and see us in action by scheduling a visit!