Sandy Spring Friends School



Inquiry-Based and Hands-On Education
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Academics at Sandy Spring Friends School

Sandy Spring Friends School creates a place of belonging for each student, where they are equipped and empowered to Let Their Lives Speak, becoming positive changemakers in the world.

At Sandy Spring Friends School, knowing why we learn—and how we learn—are just as important as what we learn. Our educational program is grounded in a deep respect for each student and intellectual rigor. Our teachers help students internalize a process we call "QRA"—Question, Reflection, Action—which ensures that they think critically, integrate new knowledge, and apply what they learn. We help students develop their individual sense of purpose as they become caring citizens of the world.

Question Reflection Action Graphic



QRA—our student-centered approach—encourages students to  question  concepts and ideas,  reflect  upon inquiry and experience, and put learning into  action. 

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Inquiry-Based Education in Action

Design Thinking and Disabilities: Empowering SSFS Students to Solve Real-World Problems

Come along as we take a look back at one of our Middle School’s spring semester classes. Guided by the principles of an innovative problem-solving approach called design thinking, this group of engaged seventh and eighth graders tackled a real-world challenge presented by an SSFS staff member who uses a wheelchair. In the process, they learned about engineering, disabilities, privilege, and much more. This inspiring story showcases the transformative power of an SSFS education to equip students to become empathetic and innovative problem solvers. 

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SSFS Team Places 5th in DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix

Each year the nonprofit organization Global EEE (Global Education Energy Environment) sponsors a race of student-built electric vehicles. SSFS's Upper School Engineering Club entered a vehicle in the Washington, DC, event, which included 25 teams from MD, VA, and DC schools, including some of the region's best public technical schools and STEM magnet programs. SSFS was the only independent school to enter this year, and they placed fifth out of 25 teams and earned the "Best New Team" award!

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Fall Experiential Learning Activites

Our 140-acre campus, paired with beautiful fall weather and excellent teachers who understand the value of experiential learning, have provided many opportunities for our students to use our campus as an extension of their classroom. Read more about nature observation walks in the Lower School, hands-on lessons about sustainable agriculture in the Middle School, and an AP Statistics class's revisit of their Middle School "Barbie Bungee" experiment from the outdoor porch of the new Upper School building.

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Barbie Bungee: Will She Survive?

Each year, our Algebra I students put their math and engineering skills to the test to create an exclusive bungee jumping company that has one VIP clienta Barbie. 

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Seven Characteristics of a SSFS Progressive Education

SSFS Curriculum Guides