Sandy Spring Friends School


Middle School FAQs

What’s the procedure if my child needs to arrive late, leave early, or will be absent?

Regular attendance and promptness are essential for a consistent school program. Students benefit academically, socially, and athletically from being in school on a consistent basis and are asked to be in school for the full day, every day, unless illness intervenes. If your child will be absent for any reason, please email the Middle School Office by 8:00 am.

If an appointment must be scheduled that will cause the student to arrive late or leave school early, parents/guardians should do the following:

  • Notify the Middle School Office in advance of the planned absence, preferably by sending an email to the Middle School Administrative Assistant at
  • Students arriving late to school must sign-in on the log that is located on the Middle School Office counter. Any doctor’s notes should be turned in at the time of sign-in.
  • If a student is leaving school early for an appointment, a parent or guardian must come to the Middle School Office to sign the student out. Once the parent/guardian has arrived, the Middle School Administrative Assistant or another faculty member will get the student from class. 
  • The student should check Finalsite (online classroom site) and speak with the teachers of all missed classes to find out about any missed work.

How much homework should I expect each night for my child?

Homework is designed to reinforce material taught in class; prepare students for upcoming lessons; and help students develop study habits, responsibility, time management, and organizational skills. Quantifying the amount of time spent on homework is difficult as it is largely dependent on the time of year. On average, SSFS students in sixth grade should have no more than 60-70 minutes of homework per day, while seventh and eighth graders should have no more than 80 – 90 minutes of homework per day. There are designated times during the school day for students to work on assignments and speak with specific teachers for additional help or clarification.until two business days before a payment is due.

My child said they had to Take a Break! What is that?

We use a program called Developmental Designs in the Middle School. Empowering students to be involved in their learning is one tenet of this program. Everyone has days and times when they cannot focus, struggle to pay attention, daydream, chat with a friend when they should be listening, or otherwise get off track. At times like these, a teacher may ask a student to Take a Break (T.A.B.). When asked to T.A.B., the student goes into the designated chair in that teacher’s classroom for a moment of reflection and regrouping. T.A.B. is NOT a punishment. In fact, we encourage students to put themselves into the T.A.B. chair when they feel the need. When asked to T.A.B., students go to a designated seat in each classroom. Nearby, there is a procedure posted to help them re-focus. After returning to their seat, the student resumes in learning. Sometimes a follow-up conversation is needed after class, but most times, the student is able to self-correct with no additional support.

My child just got a phone and now wants to be on social media apps. What can I do to help them navigate this online world?

Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Twitter, Houseparty. This growing and ever-changing list of social media platforms can be overwhelming. For middle schoolers, social media offers many opportunities to connect with friends and the larger community. We often hear that they want to be on social media so that they don’t feel left out. However, social media can also make navigating friendships just that more challenging. If you are wondering how to help your children manage these online interactions, both Common Sense Media and the Family Online Safety Institute offer numerous family resources on digital citizenship.

P.S. Middle School students are not permitted to use cell phones during the school day. Student cell phones must be turned off when our 7:45 am bell rings and should be securely stored in lockers during the school day (including sports and electives). With faculty permission, students may use the phone in the Middle School Office if they need to contact a parent or guardian during the school day. If a parent or guardian should need to relay a message to their child during the school day, contact the Middle School Office at 301-774-7455 x160 or and we will make sure your child receives your message. 

My child wants to stay after school to watch a sports match. How does that work?

All Middle School students must be supervised by an adult while on campus after school hours. Parents and guardians may come and enjoy the sporting event with their child, or they may elect to have their child sign into Aftercare where they will receive a snack and the appropriate adult supervision while they cheer on their peers.