Weekly e-Newsletter

The weekly e-newsletter is emailed to all SSFS families each Sunday 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

Lower School News

Lower School

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Categories: Lower School (LS) Section


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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.

And coming up soon/to keep on your radar...

  • Mon, Dec. 17: LS Winter Program Rehearsal, 8:30 – 10:00 am
  • Wed, Dec. 19: LS Winter Program Rehearsal, 8:30 – 10:00 am
  • Thurs, Dec. 20: LS Winter Program Performance, 8:30 am, PAC
  • Fri, Dec. 21: Lower School Professional Day, NO CLASSES - Winter Break Begins
  • Mon, Jan. 7: Classes Resume
Pam Gilmer

Our first LS Child/Parent Workshare of the year will take place on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 3:30-5:00 pm in the Lower School classrooms. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to come in and have your student be your tour guide as they showcase their work in progress as well as their completed projects.  Classrooms will be open from 3:30 until 5:00 pm for you to drop in and sneak a peek at their accomplishments this semester.  

Pam Gilmer

LS Young Movers ClubOur Young Movers Dance Club ended their fall session this week with a performance for family and friends! This first-time club was sponsored by Kindergarten teacher, Mary Anne Peacock, and led by Upper School dance student, Maeve F. Log in to the School website to see more photos and video of the dances on Vidigami here.    

Our winter session of clubs will be announced before Winter Break. This next session of clubs will begin after we return to school. Look for the brochure in a future newsletter.

Pam Gilmer

Please mark your calendars: LS Winter Program rehearsals will be on Monday, Dec. 17 and on Wed, Dec. 19th at 8:30 am. Students should arrive at school on time in order to go together with their class for rehearsals. 

Our annual LS Winter Program will be on Thursday morning, December 20th, at 8:30 am in the PAC. Please remember that students are requested to wear dark pants or skirts and white tops for this assembly. This is a special event with most of our LS families in attendance, so please make sure that you give yourself time to find a parking space and arrive in the PAC on time. There is parking in the lot behind the Performing Arts Center.

Amanda Hill

Amanda Hill and the Upper School Women’s Varsity Basketball team are offering a Basketball Clinic for lower school and middle school girls in PK4 through 8th grade. The clinic will be on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, beginning with the women’s varsity game at 3:30 pm vs. Washington Waldorf and followed by a clinic run by the varsity girls until 7:30 pm. The girls will be gathered from the Lower School and Middle School and taken over to the Athletic Center for the start of the game. Students are asked to bring a snack to eat during the game so they are ready to play after. A t-shirt will be given and the cost of this clinic is $35.00 per person. Download PDF of flyer for more information and to register for this event.

Hannah Kerr and Pinki Shah

Winter Dance Concert: Dec. 13-15

Special guest Pinki Shah, SSFS 5th grade teacher, has spent the fall working with the Upper School dancers sharing her expertise in the Raas and Garba dance styles, as well as broadening the student’s cultural competency. Pinki grew up dancing Raas and Garba, and was thrilled when Hannah said "yes!" to a collaboration. Pinki credits her motivation to Hannah's openness and willingness to team up. Both Pinki and Hannah are excited to debut this dance piece at the Upper School Winter Dance concert Dec. 13-15, and will also share the dance piece as well as the "Our People, Our Planet" day in the spring. Read more about the dance concert here...

Kerry-Ann Farmer

Lower School students have completed their first few Smart Sacks packing days. We have many more opportunities throughout 2018-2019 for students to help with this valuable service opportunity (see more info about the Smart Sack program below). Packing takes place in the Westview Dining Hall immediately after drop off at 8:15 am. This is a fun and easy way to do something meaningful with the Lower School kids and provide a very worthwhile service to the community. If you are interested in helping out with this ongoing service project please contact Kerry-Ann Farmer

Additional packing dates are as follows:  

  • November 9: 3A and ½ K 
  • December 7: 4 and 1B 
  • January 18: 3B and ½ K 
  • February 1: 5A and 2A 
  • February 8: 5B and 2B 
  • February 15: 1A and 1B 
  • March 8: 3A and ½ K 
  • April 5: 4 and 2B 
  • April 19: 3B and ½ K 
  • April 26: 5A and PK4 
  • May 24: 3B and ½ K 
  • May 31: 5B and PK4

Smart Sacks is a county-wide program started by MANNA food center to help combat children's weekend hunger in Montgomery County. Twice monthly during the MCPS school year, volunteers pack donated food and deliver it to county elementary schools. Children who usually receive free meals at school take a bag of food home every Friday to ensure that they have adequate nutrition throughout the weekend. SSFS lower school students and volunteers support two local elementary schools in this initiative.

Middle School News

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Categories: Middle School (MS) Section


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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.

And coming up soon/to keep on your radar...

  • Fri, Dec. 21: 1:00 pm Dismissal (NO Middle School Aftercare)
  • Mon, Jan. 7: Classes Resume
Francis Zell

With construction of the new Upper School beginning, the MS traffic circle is getting used more than ever as a campus drop off/pick up location. We thought it would be helpful to review the circle procedures in order to ensure everyone’s well-being and to keep the line moving along quickly. Please remember that there is more traffic at the beginning and end of the day than any other time, and safety is our main priority.  

Morning:

  • Please wait your turn to drop off, even if the line is moving slowly.  The line begins along the outside of the circle.  Passing traffic moves though the interior.
  • The circle is designed as a quick drop off location. The more prepared your child is to leave with all of their belongings, the quicker the line will move.  If your child needs extra time to assemble their items or needs to make multiple trips, please park in an appropriate parking lot.
  • Please do not create a “doublewide” drop off line.  The drop off lane is only designed to be single file.

Afternoon: 

  • Please wait your turn to pick up, even if the line is moving slowly.  The line begins along the outside of the circle.  Passing traffic moves through the interior.
  • If you see your child, please do not 
    • Pass other families waiting in line and double park in the drop off line, unless instructed to do so.
    • Pass other families waiting in line to occupy the first or second space unless instructed to do so.  
    • Direct your child to walk across traffic to come to your vehicle.
  • When buses come through, all traffic is frozen. Buses operate on tight schedule and are given priority for the few seconds that they come through the circle.  

A member of the MS team tries to be a presence at the MS circle as much as possible. Please pay attention to any directions you may be given and follow the above guidelines even when an adult is not present. If everyone cooperates, we can ensure that we maintain an efficient and safe process for all.

Liz Donelson

6th Grade SOME Shoebox ProjectThe sixth graders have been busy wrapping and assembling the MANY donations students and their families brought in for the S.O.M.E. Shoebox service project for the homeless, which we took on to support the Junior class. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY! It was quite a scene watching 33 kids wrap shoeboxes (which is actually not too easy). They seemed excited to be working for such a meaningful cause, and really got into the spirit of the season. Please click here to view more photos on Vidigami. 

Kristen Amouri

The Middle School Heart in Hand committee is holding a Bake Sale on Thursday, December 13 at 10:15 am during break time. Several girls from the SEGA School for Girls in Tanzania visited us last month; our students were very inspired by their stories, and decided to raise money to donate to the school. Here is a link to the school's website and an accompanying video that was played for the MS community during their visit. 

Kristin McCarthy

Please mark your calendars for the annual Middle School International Lunch, which will be held on Friday, January 18. This annual potluck lunch is a chance for our students to taste some delicious cuisines from around the world and to celebrate the diversity of our school community. Each middle school student will be asked to bring in a dish (details coming soon), and we will also need lots of volunteers to make this year's event a success. Please be on the lookout for a Sign-Up Genius coming your way soon, and thanks in advance for your help. Gracias and merci!

Amanda Hill

Amanda Hill and the Upper School Women’s Varsity Basketball team are offering a Basketball Clinic for lower school and middle school girls in PK4 through 8th grade. The clinic will be on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, beginning with the women’s varsity game at 3:30 pm vs. Washington Waldorf and followed by a clinic run by the varsity girls until 7:30 pm. The girls will be gathered from the Lower School and Middle School and taken over to the Athletic Center for the start of the game. Students are asked to bring a snack to eat during the game so they are ready to play after. A t-shirt will be given and the cost of this clinic is $35.00 per person. Download PDF of flyer for more information and to register for this event.

Upper School News

Kerry Foley

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 Kerry Foley, US Administrative Assistant, at ext. 109 or kerry.foley@ssfs.org, or visit the Calendar web page to see full calendar. 

  • Wed, Dec. 12: College Info Session - Standardized Testing Info, 6:30-8:30 pm, Yarnall Library. The College Counseling Office Standardized Testing Information Program for Juniors will provide an overview of standardized testing, how to understand the PSAT/NMSQT, and the differences between the SAT and ACT.  
  • Thurs-Sat, Dec. 13-15: Upper School Dance Concert, 7:15 pm, PAC-Theater
  • Sat, Dec. 15: Optional Practice ACT for Juniors, 8:30 a.m, Yarnall Library. Registration is required, and open to 11th grade students ONLY. (11th grade families - see email from Chris Miller with link.) Registration closes on at 12 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 13. This practice test will help students compare the style of the ACT with the SAT, as mirrored through the structure of the PSAT. Seating the administration of the practice test will begin at 8:30 am in Yarnall Library, and the test will conclude at approximately 12:00 pm.  

And coming up soon/to keep on your radar...

  • Fri, Dec. 21: 1:00 pm Early Dismissal for Winter Break
  • Sat, Dec. 23: Dorm closes for Winter Break, 10:00 am
  • Sat, Jan. 5: Dorm re-opens at 12:00 noon
  • Mon, Jan. 7: Classes resume
Francis Zell

With construction of the new Upper School beginning, the MS traffic circle is getting used more than ever as a campus drop off/pick up location. We thought it would be helpful to review the circle procedures in order to ensure everyone’s well-being and to keep the line moving along quickly. Please remember that there is more traffic at the beginning and end of the day than any other time, and safety is our main priority.  

Morning:

  • Please wait your turn to drop off, even if the line is moving slowly.  The line begins along the outside of the circle.  Passing traffic moves though the interior.
  • The circle is designed as a quick drop off location. The more prepared your child is to leave with all of their belongings, the quicker the line will move.  If your child needs extra time to assemble their items or needs to make multiple trips, please park in an appropriate parking lot.
  • Please do not create a “doublewide” drop off line.  The drop off lane is only designed to be single file.

Afternoon: 

  • Please wait your turn to pick up, even if the line is moving slowly.  The line begins along the outside of the circle.  Passing traffic moves through the interior.
  • If you see your child, please do not 
    • Pass other families waiting in line and double park in the drop off line, unless instructed to do so.
    • Pass other families waiting in line to occupy the first or second space unless instructed to do so.  
    • Direct your child to walk across traffic to come to your vehicle.
  • When buses come through, all traffic is frozen. Buses operate on tight schedule and are given priority for the few seconds that they come through the circle.  

A member of the MS team tries to be a presence at the MS circle as much as possible. Please pay attention to any directions you may be given and follow the above guidelines even when an adult is not present. If everyone cooperates, we can ensure that we maintain an efficient and safe process for all.

Samaa Eldadah '19

The WildezineThe Upper School news site The Wildezine is back with another quarterly issue! Our latest round features student perspectives on gender norms in The Gambia, beauty standards in China, and mental health in communities of color. For featured articles, community news reporting, student art, and more, visit www.wildezine.com. Extra credit is available in any English class when commenting on a Wildezine article. We hope you enjoy your read.

Sunshine Klein

SSFS Rock Climbing Team

After the first competition of the WAICL held at Sport Rock in Alexandria, VA, the Wildebeest Climbing Team had an amazing performance. Girls Varsity won 68 to 43. Boys Varsity won 156 to 115. Girls JV won 17 to 16. Boys JV won 111 to 102.

Sandy Spring held 10 of the top 20 climbers versus Woodberry Forest/Foxcroft School:  1-Sam S., 2-Magnus C., 3-Sam S., 4-Seth G., 6-Ian S., 7-Minwoo R., 8-Reuven S., 15-Kathleen McC., 16-Isaac M., 17-Brandon R., and 18-George McA.

Jordan Taylor

US Ceramics Class Visit to Freer GalleryThe Upper School Ceramics Classes visited the Freer Gallery on December 6. We were hosted by Collection Manager Christina Popenfus and had the unusual opportunity to handle work stored in the archives. We were able to see examples of work we had been reading about from Thailand and Korea. We also saw work from Morocco, Iran, Syria, Burma, China and Japan. The oldest piece in the collection is 5000 years old.

Hannah Kerr and Pinki Shah

Winter Dance Concert: Dec. 13-15

Special guest Pinki Shah, SSFS 5th grade teacher, has spent the fall working with the Upper School dancers sharing her expertise in the Raas and Garba dance styles, as well as broadening the student’s cultural competency. Pinki grew up dancing Raas and Garba, and was thrilled when Hannah said "yes!" to a collaboration. Pinki credits her motivation to Hannah's openness and willingness to team up. Both Pinki and Hannah are excited to debut this dance piece at the Upper School Winter Dance concert Dec. 13-15, and will also share the dance piece as well as the "Our People, Our Planet" day in the spring. Read more about the dance concert here...

Friends Mart

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Categories: Friends Mart Section


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Sunshine Klein

Ski Whitetail, Liberty, and Roundtop any evening from 4:00-10:00 pm (3-10 pm on Sundays) starting on January 2nd with your very own Night Club Card! Click here to see your options. Early Bird rates continue through November 6th.
To purchase your Night Club Card:

More detailed directions for online purchasing are available here. For more information contact Sunshine Klein by email at Sunshine.Klein@ssfs.org

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

Margaret Rosser

Photo of the Week

Basketball season is here, and the Middle School girl's and boy's basketball teams have started off strong, both going 4-0 in the PVAC so far. See the Athletics Today page to find out when teams are playing, and come cheer on our 'Beests! See more photos of MS Boy'sMS Girl'sUS Girl's, and US Boy's JV team games (Varsity boy's team photos coming soon!) on Vidigami.

Margaret Rosser

The calendar information below is for all-school, multi-divisional, and/or Parent Association 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 the full calendar.

And coming up soon/to keep on your radar...

  • Fri, Dec. 21: Lower School - NO CLASSES, Professional Day; Middle and Upper School - 1:00 pm Early Dismissal for Winter Break; No Middle School Aftercare.
  • Mon, Dec. 24-Fri, Jan. 4: Winter Break - No School
  • Mon, Jan. 7: Classes Resume
SSFS Parents Association Clerks

On Wednesday, December 12, the PA will be hosting a Parents Association Coffee and Conversation in Scott House at 8:15AM.  Remember, we are all the PA, and all are welcome! 

Hannah Kerr and Pinki Shah

Winter Dance Concert: Dec. 13-15

Special guest Pinki Shah, SSFS 5th grade teacher, has spent the fall working with the Upper School dancers sharing her expertise in the Raas and Garba dance styles, as well as broadening the student’s cultural competency. Pinki grew up dancing Raas and Garba, and was thrilled when Hannah said "yes!" to a collaboration. Pinki credits her motivation to Hannah's openness and willingness to team up. Both Pinki and Hannah are excited to debut this dance piece at the Upper School Winter Dance concert Dec. 13-15, and will also share the dance piece as well as the "Our People, Our Planet" day in the spring. Read more about the dance concert here...

SSFS Parents Association

Please sign up to set up the food, bring a side dish, beverage, dessert, or to clean up afterwards for the annual Maintenance Appreciation Lunch to be held in the Scott House on Wednesday, December 12, 2018. Thank you in advance for supporting this event to show appreciation to the diligent, hardworking, behind the scenes staff who do so much for so many in the SSFS Community. Click here to view and sign up for volunteer opportunities for this event.

Kerry-Ann Farmer

Mark your calendars! On January 21, 2019, the Parent Association of Sandy Spring Friends School will, once again, host the annual MLK Day of Service at SSFS! Breakfast will be served, and there will be specific activities for students of all ages, as well as service that benefit organizations such as Comfort Cases, Linus Blanket Project, Empty Bowl, Smart Sacks, Shepherd’s Table and Operation Gratitude. Each week, we will be spotlighting a different organization and to give SSFS community more information on how to help those in need. This week, the spotlight is on Comfort Cases. To learn more about Comfort Cases, go to www.comfortcases.org.

What is Comfort Cases? On any given day, there are nearly 437,500 youth in the foster care system in the United States. Of the thousands of youth who enter the system each year, most arrive carrying little more than the clothes on their backs. If they are afforded the opportunity to collect any personal belongings, many are then given a trash bag in which to place and carry their personal items. It is a time of great upheaval and instability, and their first foster home placement is unlikely to be their last. Many youth in foster care will be moved from home to home multiple times, carrying their life’s treasures in a trash bag. At Comfort Cases, we believe that every child deserves to feel a sense of dignity. Every child deserves to pack their belongings in a special bag that they can call their own. It is our mission as a charity to provide a proper bag, filled with comfort and essential items, to these brave youth in foster care on their journey to find their forever home. 

From now until January 16th, we are asking the community to donate the following items: 

Youth Ages 2 to 9 Years Old

  • Backpack
  • Pajamas (2T-9)
  • Small Blanket
  • Youth Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Soap or Body Wash
  • Stuffed Animal
  • Coloring Book & Crayons
  • Book

New and unopened travel-size toiletries ONLY. Items can be dropped off at lower school. 

If you would like to volunteer in any capacity, or have any ideas for new service projects, please contact Kerry-Ann Farmer at kerryann.farmer@yahoo.com. We are looking forward to a great day of service!

SSFS Admissions Office

Thinking about applying to SSFS for another child? We encourage admission applications for siblings to be submitted as soon as possible, and certainly by December 15th. Once the application is received, we’ll reach out to schedule a shadow visit. If you have any questions or if we can be of assistance as you begin this process, please email admission@ssfs.org or call us at (301) 774-7455.  

P.S. This year, we’ve unveiled a new web-based application called Ravenna for the submission of online applications. Ravenna allows you to efficiently apply to schools and track the status of your application online.  Families are encouraged to create a Ravenna account, then select the "Washington, DC" area from the dashboard, and click on Sandy Spring Friends School to access more information and our application.