Weekly e-Newsletter

The weekly e-newsletter is emailed to all SSFS families each Thursday afternoon during the school year with news, photos, upcoming events, and "must-know" info. Click the Lower School, Middle School, or Upper School sections below for division-specific information and articles. You can also filter articles within each section by clicking on specific categories such as arts, parents association, special events, and more. Archived newsletters are also available here.

All-School News

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Margaret Rosser

Photo of the Week

A Lower School student ties a message for his senior buddy to the Wishing Arch for the Class of 2018. Each year, SSFS students and faculty sign ribbons with well-wishes for the members of the graduating class, who will then walk through this colorful Wishing Arch on graduation day (Saturday, June 9th). We wish the Class of 2018 all the best in college and in the years to come, and we look forward to seeing them when they return to campus, and hearing about the ways they are "letting their lives speak"! 

Margaret Rosser

The calendar information below is for all-school, cross-divisional, and PA events and activities in the coming weeks. Please see the Lower School, Middle School, or Upper School sections for division-specific "must-know" info, or visit the Calendar web page to see full calendar.

David Hickson

All parents should have received an email on May 31 with a link to (and password information for) the 2017-2018 Parent Satisfaction Survey. Please contact David Hickson if you did not receive the email or have trouble accessing the survey.  

Changes have been made to the survey this year both to streamline the overall survey while also expanding (based on parent suggestions) areas of inquiry. We use your anonymous feedback to track opinions and trends over time, so we ask that you participate each year, based on your experiences for the most recent school year. Your feedback truly does help shape both short-term and long-term planning by the School, and this survey is a great opportunity to have your voice heard. Results of the feedback are shared and trends and responses are addressed at the Head of School Forum with Tom Gibian in the fall.

Thank you for your help!

Kathleen Landers
  • Need babysitting?
  • Looking for a good plumber?
  • Have used sports equipment to sell or donate or buy?
  • Have an announcement you'd like to share?

Do you ever wish you had a way to "connect" to the SSFS community of families about topics not part of the traditional school day or school related events? Maybe you've wondered if any of those nice high school students babysit, or if any parents know of a good violin teacher. Maybe you are looking for a plumber, a travel agent, or someone to work out with? Want to start a hiking group, a meditation group, or need help moving furniture??This is an opt-in service open to current and alumni families for all divisions, home stay and boarding parents. The site is moderated by parent volunteers to ensure we don't misuse the tool for problems an online community can't address, and don't duplicate or replace what is official school business that belongs on other communication sites. Please sign up here to get connected.

Margaret Rosser

Once summer kicks in, and you have a moment to take a breath and reflect on the past year, you may also wish to review your child(ren)'s year in photos! A reminder that all SSFS families have access to hundreds of high-resolution photos from SSFS events via Vidigami, a secure, password-protected photo sharing service. See a sample of this year's photos by viewing the end of year slideshow images here

To access Vidigami: 

  • Log in to the School's website using your School network username and password (the same one you use to access MyBackPack, Finalsite Learn, etc.).
  • On the parent portal page, click the "Photo Galleries - Vidigami" link.
  • You should be directed to the Vidigami home page (note that first-time users may be asked to re-enter their username/password, but subsequently logging in to the website will give you single sign-in access).

Once you are on the Vidigami page, click the SSFS logo at the left and under "Academics" you will see folders for each class, PK3-Grade 12, plus general Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School folders. You'll also see different sections for Arts, Athletics, Special Events, Clubs, and Off-Campus activities. Feel free to upload photos you have of school events, as well. You can also

Please note that Vidigami will be unavailable from Monday, July 2nd at 12:01am EST through Wednesday, July 4th 11:59pm EST for their Annual Service Update.

Tiffany Jones

Friends Day is a perfect opportunity for the whole SSFS community come together after the summer break to reconnect with old friends and get to know newcomers to SSFS! Bring a picnic blanket and water bottle, and enjoy dinner and dessert from local area food trucks or vendors; visit Farmer Joe's Farm Stand; get your game on in fun community games - and more. Find out more here.Next fall, Friends Day 2018 will be on Saturday, September 15, from 4:00-7:00 pm. Interested in getting involved with the planning? Please contact Tiffany Jones. Interested in volunteering to help out during the day? Click here. 

Lauren Mossman

FriendsFest - Nov. 10, 2018

Although summer is just beginning, we are already thinking about next year's FriendsFest (formerly known as Winterfest)! Save the date for FriendsFest 2018: November 10, 2018 ~ 10:00am - 4:00 pm. Click here for more information about volunteer and vendor opportunities, and the schedule for the day. 

Elizabeth Thornton

Here we are at that crazy, happy/sad time of year where we are trying to get the books and other library materials back instead of trying to get them out into the hands of our students and faculty.  For me, on the cusp of retirement after 26 years here, it is particularly melancholy. At the same time, I feel ready for a change and am very excited about the new organization of the department; combining Library services with those of the Educational Technology.  There has been overlap in those areas for some time and it makes good sense to put them together and up the communication and collaboration between people engaged in much the same work.  We have hired amazing people to put it all together and I am leaving behind smart, dedicated colleagues in Johanna and Aldona and Fred who have the institutional memory and passion to make the transition a smooth one.  Be sure to introduce yourselves to Sara Oestreich and KT Schroeder in the fall and stay tuned for wonderful and cool things happening in Yarnall and beyond.  To round out our staff we are currently advertising for a library assistant to work afternoons with us – check out the listing on our employee opportunities page, and spread the word about that opportunity – SSFS is a great place to work. 

We recently spent an interesting afternoon with librarians, parents, administrators and other volunteers to review our picture book collection with an eye to how we are doing around issues of diversity.  We handled every one of the 2400 books and categorized them according to the people they represent.  We are still working on what our sorting tells us about ourselves, but will report on it in the fall, and think we would like to do it again looking at other parts of the collection. Always so many ideas!  So much to learn!

Don’t forget what a good companion a book is wherever the summer takes you – at the beach, while travelling, or in the hammock, reading informs, teaches, takes you places, introduces you to people you might not otherwise meet.  It can make you laugh, cry, think and dream. What more can anyone ask?

Yours very sincerely,

Elizabeth Thornton

Margaret Rosser

With thanks to the SSFS Technology staff, the Class of 2018 Graduation ceremony will be streamed live and available online here. If you are unable to make it to campus (or if rain compels us to have graduation in the PAC, with limited seating), you may tune in here on Saturday, June 9 from 10:00 - 11:45 am to see the ceremony online. Please feel free to share the link with friends and family.  

Kathleen Landers

This year SSFS hosted 4 parent educational programs presented by the local organization "PEP," or The Parent Encouragement Program. Research-based and presented by trained parent facilitators, these were on subjects related to the social, emotional and developmental lives of children and their parents. Each program incorporated the latest research on child and adolescent brain development (cognitive and emotional) and current cultural pressures and expectations. Common issues faced by families were addressed clearly by offering specific tips, tools and strategies. Designed with a positive psychology focus, each program emphasizes the crucial relationships between parent and child, promoting the best in children and in parents.

Each of these programs was about 1 hour in length, and as getting on campus for a speaker is very challenging, each was videotaped for the SSFS community to watch over the next several months. The links to these programs are on the SSFS parent portal, and can be also accessed below, using the password "SSFS". So this summer, put up your feet and learn parenting tips from the pros!

Lower School News

Lower School

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Pam Gilmer

For questions or more information about an event, please contact Pam Gilmer, LS Administrative Assistant, at ext. 112 or pam.gilmer@ssfs.org, or visit the Calendar web page to see full calendar.

Brenda Crawley

Dear Lower School Friends, 

Amazingly, our 2017-2018 school year has ended! The PK3- Grade 5 students had a full and exciting year filled with adventure. Curious to learn and grow, the students faced challenges, experimented, made mistakes, and persevered! Throughout the year, we had opportunities to try new things, ask questions, and wonder.  We enjoyed this year’s long learning journey, including unexpected detours, and the beloved annual traditions that make SSFS the wonderful community that we know it to be. 

I am honored to work with the talented and tireless group of professionals who make up our Lower School team. The faculty, staff and administration truly love and value our students; and they are devoted to their academic, social and emotional growth. They take their jobs seriously, and always remember that life in the Lower School demands their flexibility, resilience and humor. They work daily to maintain a nurturing and supportive learning environment that upholds our Quaker values. Most importantly, they make learning fun and engaging, which keeps our students running into school each morning! 

The Lower School relies on the help and support from community members. Our “village” has many adjoining nations, which help us make it through our busy school year. Many thanks are due to our wonderful Lower School families, especially our PA Division Representatives (Desiree Polyak, Kerry-Ann Farmer, and Tiffany Reed), all Grade Representatives, and parent and grandparent volunteers. I would also like to acknowledge the “behind the scenes teams” that staff the “Before Care” and our SSFS Kids After Hours program. These team members are here before the school day begins and long after it ends; they are indispensable and greatly appreciated by all!  

The PK3-5 Wildebeests are ready to trot away for summer break. Before taking off on vacation, please know that all required summer reading assignments for each grade level are now posted on the SSFS website. Please refer to the grade level that your child will be entering in the 2018-2019 school year. In addition, lists of recommended apps and online resources for optional practice and fun (at every grade level) have also been posted. I encourage you to explore some of these fun and educational activities during travel, vacation, or stay-cation time with your child. There’s no need for daily practice—just occasional “dabbling” into the academics during the summer, to practice learned skills and keep them fresh. A list of recommended titles for parent reading is posted on the website as well. 

Over the upcoming weeks, please keep an eye out for several communications from the Lower School. Our final Lower School progress reports for the 2017-2018 school year will be available for access via My BackPack by Wednesday, June 20. Finally, all PK3-5 families will receive 2018-2019 class placement information by Friday, July 20. As we look forward to the upcoming school year, as well as subsequent years, the final decision for class placement rests with the School. The Lower School Class Placement policy is noted in the Lower School portion of the Community Handbook. 

Our 2017-2018 school year is over! Now we’re ready for one last, highly-anticipated transition: moving on from the end of school to the start of summer!

Have an enjoyable summer!
Brenda

Margaret Rosser

Lower School Moving On Day

Lower School students from PK3 through 5th grade took us on a fantastic safari journey this morning, with song, dance, and wonderful costumes--and an opportunity to send off the 5th grade class in style! (Speaking of, see photos from the 5th Grade Recognition Night on Vidigami here.) Many thanks to our amazing music teachers for coordinating this special end-of-year celebration; to LS art teacher Kate Santorineos for the colorful artwork on the stage; and to Fred Sisk for putting together the fun Lower School slideshow that was shown at the end of the assembly. See photos from the Moving On Day assembly online here; many more photos are also available for download on Vidigami here (remember to log in to the website before clicking the Vidigami link). 

Middle School News

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Erin Ryan

Below is information about upcoming MS and all-school activities and events in the coming weeks. For questions or more information about an event, please contact Erin Ryan, MS Administrative Assistant, at ext. 160 or erin.ryan@ssfs.org, or visit the Calendar web page to see full calendar.

  • Thurs, Jun. 7: 8th Grade Recognition Night, Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting House (17715 Meeting House Rd, Sandy Spring, MD 20860). Class photo at 4:45 pm. See more here.
  • Sat, Jun. 9: Class of 2018 Graduation, SSFS campus, 10:00 am (Note: SSFS community members are welcome to attend this outdoor event, but in the event of rain, graduation will be held in the PAC, where seating is limited, and seniors are limited to 6 tickets each.) Graduation will be streamed live and available online here
  • Tues, Jun. 12: PA Faculty-Staff Appreciation Lunch - Click here to volunteer at the event, or click here to sign up for food donations for the lunch
  • Fri, Jun. 29: LAST DAY to submit your Parent Satisfaction Survey responses! Find out more here.
  • Sun, July 15: DEADLINE to submit your health forms for 2018-2019 online in MagnusHealth. Click here for instructions on to access your Magnus Health account--and please read the "Important Note About Emergency Contact Information"!
  • Tues, July 17: Online book ordering opens
  • June-August: HAVE A FANTASTIC SUMMER! Be sure to bookmark the Middle School Summer and Back to School pages to see info about summer reading, assignments, resources, and more. 
Margaret Rosser

Eighth-grade students, their parents, guardians, and families are invited to the Sandy Spring Friends Monthly Meeting House in Sandy Spring  (17715 Meeting House Rd, Sandy Spring, MD 20860) for a Meeting for Worship in celebration of students’ Middle School years. The event begins with a class picture at 4:45 pm outside the Meeting House, and a reception with light refreshments in the Community House follows Meeting for Worship. We ask students to wear appropriate dress for the celebration of the evening, which generally means long pants, collared shirts, closed toe shoes, dresses, skirts or slacks.  

Erin Ryan

Middle School students and faculty had a wonderful time during their annual trip to Sandy Point State Park. The group was treated to perfectly sunny weather, and although the water was still quite cold, most students braved the chilly temperatures and dove on in. It was a wonderful way to relax and wind down our school year after exams and final projects. 

Upper School News

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Margaret Rosser

Class of 2018

Congratulations to the Class of 2018! We can't wait to see how you all will continue to "Let Your Lives Speak" in college and beyond! Photos from graduation are available here; video of the ceremony is online here

Meredith Shankle

Below is information about upcoming US and all-school activities and events in the coming weeks. For questions or more information about an event, please contact Meredith Shankle, US Administrative Assistant, at ext. 109 or meredith.shankle@ssfs.org, or visit the Calendar web page to see full calendar. 

  • Fri, Jun. 8: Graduation Rehearsal, Senior-Faculty Luncheon, Senior-Faculty MFW 10:30 am - 2:30 pm
  • Fri, Jun. 8: International Student Senior-Parent Reception, 3:00-4:00 pm, Scott House
  • Sat, Jun. 9: Class of 2018 Graduation, SSFS campus, 10:00 am (Note: SSFS community members are welcome to attend this outdoor event, but in the event of rain, graduation will be held in the PAC, where seating is limited, and seniors are limited to 6 tickets each.) Graduation will be streamed live and available online here
  • Tues, Jun. 12: PA Faculty-Staff Appreciation Lunch - Click here to volunteer at the event, or click here to sign up for food donations for the lunch
  • Fri, Jun. 29: LAST DAY to submit your Parent Satisfaction Survey responses! Find out more here.
  • Sun, July 15: DEADLINE to submit your health forms for 2018-2019 online in MagnusHealth. Click here for instructions on to access your Magnus Health account--and please read the "Important Note About Emergency Contact Information"!
  • Tues, July 17: Online book ordering opens
  • June-August: HAVE A FANTASTIC SUMMER! Be sure to bookmark the Upper School Summer and Back to School pages to see info about summer reading, assignments, resources, and more. 
Margaret Rosser

Eduardo Polon - 2018 Sophie Alterman Coach of the YearSSFS Quiz Bowl Coordinator Eduardo Polón has been named the tenth recipient of the Sophie Altman Coach of the Year by the producers of It’s Academic. “Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running quiz program in TV history,” It’s Academic just concluded its 57th season on air. Named after the program’s creator, the award was introduced in 2009 “as a tribute to all It’s Academic coaches for whom Sophie Altman had so much respect.” Eduardo was presented with the award on Saturday, May 19, and the announcement will air on NBC4 on June 30 at 10:30 am, during the broadcast of this season’s Final.

Upon being notified by Producer Susan Lechner of earning the distinction, Eduardo replied, “I am as deeply honored as I am grateful to be recognized by It’s Academic and Giant Foods as this year’s recipient of the Sophie Altman Coach of the Year! Neither the importance of honoring Sophie Altman’s legacy as It’s Academic creator and long-time producer nor the exceptional coaches recognized before me whom I aspire to emulate escape me, and I am genuinely humbled.” Between participation on It’s Academic, the Montgomery Academic Beltway League (MABL), and other area tournaments, Eduardo has helped SSFS distinguish itself among the more formidable yet friendly academic teams in the Greater Metropolitan DC area, amassing an overall record of 178-83-4 since 2013. As back-to-back semifinalists on It’s Academic, back-to-back MABL silver medalists, and finalists of Blake High School’s It’s Academic Tournament, this year’s SSFS Quiz Bowl Team set or tied ten program records on route to a remarkable 47-15-0 campaign. Added Eduardo, “I am keenly aware that this honor is truly a testament to the dedicated scholars whom I have had the privilege to coach, and it is with this awareness that I accept this award on their behalf.” Named the 1999 Boys All-Met Soccer Coach of the Year by the Washington Post, Eduardo’s recognition as the 2018 Sophie Altman Coach of the Year places him in rarified coaching company. 

Born in 1913, Sophie Altman graduated from Wellesley College in 1933 and Yale Law School in 1936. Relocating to Washington D.C., she went to work in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal administration. A pioneer in television, Mrs. Altman accepted a job as assistant to the producer of Meet the Press and helped with the show’s transition from radio to television. In the late 1950’s, she developed the concept and format for It's Academic. In 1995, Mrs. Altman was named a Washingtonian of the Year by the Washingtonian magazine.  Sophie Altman remained actively engaged in the show’s production until her death in 2008.

Providing camaraderie for kindred spirits while celebrating academic achievement, intrascholastic Quiz Bowl Club (Spring) and interscholastic Quiz Bowl Team (Fall) provide healthy venues to foster friendships inspired by a mutual love of learning.  Best of all, it’s fun!  For more information, contact Eduardo at eduardo.polon@ssfs.org and to learn more about It’s Academic visit http://www.itsacademicquizshow.com/.

Meredith Shankle

Seniors and parents were sent an email outlining information about end-of-year special events and activities, leading up to and including graduation on June 9, 2018. Click here to see the email.  

Margaret Rosser

With thanks to the SSFS Technology staff, the Class of 2018 Graduation ceremony will be streamed live and available online here. If you are unable to make it to campus (or if rain compels us to have graduation in the PAC, with limited seating), you may tune in here on Saturday, June 9 from 10:00 - 11:45 am to see the ceremony online. Please feel free to share the link with friends and family.  

Candice Ashton

Senior Transition Workshops

On Wednesday, May 30th, the Counseling and College Counseling Departments at SSFS hosted our annual College Transition Workshops. The workshops delivered information to seniors about what to expect as they enter the next phase of their academic journey from SSFS alumni and university staff with first-hand knowledge.

These workshops consisted of SSFS alumni, college advisors, and college deans from local universities discussing various aspects of college life with our seniors. The topics covered included (but were not limited to) residential life, time management, co-curricular engagement, academic planning and advising, mental and physical health resources, and internships and career services.

Dianna Whittle

Young World LeadersYoung World Leaders (YWL) is a 4-week summer program operated by SSFS at Georgetown University, July 8-August 4, 2018. This enrichment program hosts 125 international students and provides an unforgettable interactive atmosphere for students who are looking to gain global leadership skills and/or improve their knowledge of the English language while traveling in North America.  

We are seeking high energy and talented Junior Counselors (ages 17+) and High School Ambassador Volunteers (ages 15+) who enjoy working with students and are comfortable in implementing educational activities, as well as explaining rules and expectations in simple English. These positions serve as the support system for our Head Counselors to ensure that activities and excursions are enriching, fun, and safe.  

Click here to apply to be part of our inspiring leadership team, or point your browser window to https://ssfs-staff.campbrainstaff.com/. Questions? Please email Dianna Whittle.

Friends Mart

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Alex Helberg

Summer at Sandy Spring
Summer at Sandy Spring is in demand! With the start of camp just around the corner on Monday, June 18, limited spots remain. 

We know there are a lot of options for summer activities in our area, and choosing a camp is not an easy decision. Each year, we strive to enhance the camp experience, make improvements, and reach new goals so that every summer spent at Summer at Sandy Spring becomes the #bestsummerever for our families.  

We pride ourselves on providing unique, customized experiences for everyone. Campers can choose from our large variety of workshops—think Outdoor Living Skills, Rock Climbing, Theatre, STEAMers, Adventure Challenge, Edible Creations, Glee Club, many sports electives, and much more—and families have options for extended day, bus transportation, and flexible lunches.  

This year, we’ve added nearly a dozen new workshops, all of which will be led by certified instructors; we’ve partnered with Einstein by Design to bring amazing new technology programs; Juniors (age 4-rising 1st grade) will now have the chance to sample our variety of workshops each day; we’re offering paddle boarding in the pond; we’ve expanded our sports mini camps; and, get ready for it…there will be photo opportunities with the Wildebeest!

With space limited and camp on the horizon, we encourage you to register today! SSFS families may receive a 10% discount by entering BESTATCAMP when registering. In the meantime, if we can be of any assistance, please email us at camp@ssfs.org or call 301-774.7455 x167. 

We hope to spend the #bestsummerever with your family.

PA Community Connections Committee

Do you ever wish you had a way to "connect" to the SSFS community of families about topics not part of the traditional school day or school related events? Maybe you've wondered if any of those nice high school students babysit, or if any parents know of a good violin teacher. Maybe you are looking for a plumber, a travel agent, or someone to work out with? Want to start a hiking group, a meditation group, or need help moving furniture??

Online communities abound these days, so the SSFS PA has created one (via Shutterfly) for our wonderful community of families. This is an opt-in choice open to current and alumni families for all divisions, home stay and boarding parents. The site is moderated by parent volunteers to ensure we don't misuse the tool for problems an online community can't address, and don't duplicate or replace what is official school business that belongs on other communication sites.

We hope this tool will be an additional way to support connections across this diverse community of families who share the choice of SSFS for their children. Please fill out this quick online form to opt-in. Questions? Please contact Nikol Jackson or Kathleen Landers.

Athletics Events This Week