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

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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.

  • Tues, Jan. 15: LS Coffee & Conversation with Brenda Crawley, 8:15 am, Scott House
  • Tues-Wed, Jan. 15-16: 2nd Grade Family Journey Days, 8:30-10:00 am
  • Wed, Jan. 16: Mix-it-Up Lunch
  • Fri, Jan. 18: Packing Smart Sacks (3B and K classes), 8:30 am, Westview
  • Fri, Jan. 18: LS & MS Girls' Basketball Clinic, 3:30-7:30 pm
  • Mon, Jan. 21: MLK, Jr. Day - NO CLASSES
  • Mon, Jan. 21: Optional PA MLK, Jr. Day of Service - Find out more here

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

  • Fri, Jan. 25: Last Day of 1st Semester/2nd Quarter
  • Fri, Jan. 25: 4th Grade Play, 8:30 am, Clifton
  • Mon, Jan. 28: LS Professional Day, NO CLASSES
  • Tues, Jan. 29: 4th, 5th, and 6th Grade Community Outing (more info to come!)
  • Thurs, Jan. 31: PA Meeting, 6:00-7:00 pm, Yarnall 
  • Thurs, Jan. 31: "State of the School" Forum with David Hickson, Interim Head of School, and the SSFS Board, 7:00-8:30 pm, PAC Theater (more info here)
Amy Curtis and Katharine Carneal

The second grade will begin their annual Family Journey Days next week. This wonderful second grade class tradition of sharing family histories is always a special event.  Journeys will take place on Tuesday, 1/15 and Wednesday 1/16 from 8:30 – 10:00 am.

Tim Croft

Mix It Up at Lunch Day was launched over 15 years ago by Teaching Tolerance in an effort to “encourage students to identify, question and cross social boundaries.” On Wednesday, January 16th, Lower School students in grades 1 through 5 will be connecting with someone new over lunch.

Under the themes of “make new friends” and “discover each other,” 1st through 5th grade students will each be assigned a new table. Each table will consist of participants representing 4 different grades and a familiar faculty/staff member. Students at each table will ask and answer questions designed to get the conversation started and develop an appreciation and understanding of one another. Don’t forget to ask your children how they made a positive connection with someone new when they mixed it up at lunch.

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.

Amanda Hill

It’s a perfect time for us to remind you and your child about making sure they are prepared for PE with appropriate footwear, especially since this bitter cold and winter weather is likely here to stay for a bit. “UGG” style boots (the warm and fuzzy ones!), snow boots, or slip-ons are not appropriate footwear and your child will not be allowed to participate in PE, especially climbing the wall, without sneakers. Please make sure that your child has sneakers for PE class!

Lower School PE Schedule:

  • PK3: Green and Gold Weeks: Tuesday and Wednesday
  • PK4/K: Green and Gold Weeks: Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • 1st Grade:
    Green Week: Wednesday and Friday
    Gold Week: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday
  • 2nd Grade:
    Green Week: Tuesday and Thursday
    Gold Week: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
  • 3rd Grade:    
    Green Week: Monday, Thursday and Friday
    Gold Week: Tuesday and Thursday
  • 4th Grade:
    Green Week: Tuesday and Thursday
    Gold Week: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
  • 5th Grade: 
    Gold Week: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
    Green Week: Wednesday and Friday
Pam Gilmer

Winter weather can be a trickster. Be sure to dress your child in layers to ensure both indoor and outdoor comfort. We strive to get the students outdoors for breaks and recess. Unless the thermometer reads below 20 degrees, we go outside to play. If the thermometer reads above 20, but the wind chill is below 20 degrees, we will remain indoors. On snowy days, all Lower School students know that they must wear their “MAGIC 5” to play in the snow. The “MAGIC 5” includes a coat, hat, gloves, snow-boots, and snow-pants. These items should be sent to school in a sturdy reusable shopping bag. As always, please label your child’s clothing with their first and last name. 

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.

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

David Hickson

SSFS is excited to announce a new merit scholarship program for the upcoming 2019-2020 academic year, open to current SSFS 8th grade students and all new 9th grade applicants to SSFS who are eligible for enrollment in our Upper School. The merit scholarship program includes six “D. Robert Yarnall Awards” ($5000/each), and six “Jane Addams awards” ($1500/each), renewable annually. More information about these scholarship opportunities, including application criteria and application forms, will be sent to all SSFS 8th grade families on Friday, Jan. 18. Families who wish to apply should submit all requested application materials by January 28th. A committee will make final decisions and inform award recipients in mid-to-late February. Questions? Please contact Tony McCudden, Director of Enrollment Management. 

Erin Ryan

Kick off the New Year and join David Blake for Coffee and Conversation on Friday, January 18th at 8:15 am in Scott House. In addition to catching up on how things are going as we hit the mid-point of the school year, the College Counseling office will pop in to answer questions families may have about preparing for the college process as their child enters Upper School.

Additionally, parents are invited to join David in the Beest Café in Yarnall at 6:30 pm on Thursday, January 24th (just after you drop off performers for Winter Arts Night!) for light refreshments and a continued Q&A with the College Counseling team.

Kristin McCarthy

The annual Middle School International Lunch is THIS Friday, January 18! Sign-up forms were sent home with students with information regarding meal assignment and other details.

  • If your last name starts with A-F, please bring a main dish;
  • If your last name starts with G-N, please bring a dessert; and
  • If your last name starts with O-Z, please bring an appetizer.

Please be sure to attach an index card with student's name, grade, and all ingredients to the dish when you bring it in next Friday morning. Thank you in advance to all of our parents that have signed up to volunteer that day, and to everyone for their food contributions. We are all looking forward to sharing a delicious and diverse meal together! Please contact Kristin McCarthy with any questions. 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.

Michelle Puhl-Price

Be sure your calendar is marked for the Middle School Winter Arts Evening on Thursday, January 24, at 7:15 pm. This event is the culmination of a semester’s worth of work and study, and the majority of Middle School students will be performing. The Visual Art, Digital Media Arts, and Weaving classes will have their work on display in the Performing Arts Center Lobby. For Music, Movement, and Drama students, attendance and participation is essential and required. Students in those classes must arrive by 6:30 pm. Full details were sent in an e-mail communication to all Middle School parents, and parents may e-mail Michelle Puhl-Price with any questions.

Carlo Grossman

Sandy Spring Friends Middle School is proud to announce its production of "Saving Persephone" by Meghan van Lelyveld. An evening performance is planned for February 9th in the Performing Arts Center at 7:15 pm.

When you’re the God of the Underworld, you certainly have to live up to expectations, and Hades is not one to let reputations slide. The plan: reinvigorate his status; the pawn: his wife, Persephone. Knowing that the earth cannot thrive with Persephone, otherwise ‘engaged’ Hades’ plan is the seemingly perfect way to garner the respect he seems to have misplaced or rather lost along the way. In this comedy we see how easy it is for a god to be forgotten, and, well, Hades cannot tolerate that, now can he? And if it takes a village of nymphs like the Alseids, Dryads, Hesperides, Nereids, Oreads, Pleiades, even Zeus himself, to save the day then so be it. Hades will be waiting, in the Underworld, of course. This hilarious updated version of ancient Greek mythology will have the audience in stitches. 

Upper School News

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Categories: Upper School (US) Section


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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, Jan 16: US College Information session - 11th Grade College Night, 6:30 pm, PAC (note location change!) SSFS welcomes a guest speaker from Johns Hopkins University to share insights about the college admission process with SSFS juniors and their parents/guardians.  
  • Thurs, Jan. 17: Upper School Musical Evening, 7:15 pm, PAC
  • Mon, Jan. 21: MLK, Jr. Day - NO SCHOOL
  • Mon, Jan. 21: Optional PA MLK, Jr. Day of Service - Find out more here
  • Tues, Jan. 22-Fri, Jan. 25: US Exams

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

  • Fri, Jan. 25: Last Day of 1st Semester/2nd Quarter
  • Wed, Jan. 30: US Coffee and Conversation, 8:15, Scott House
  • Thurs, Jan. 31: PA Meeting, 6:00-7:00 pm, Yarnall 
  • Thurs, Jan. 31: "State of the School" Forum with David Hickson, Interim Head of School, and the SSFS Board, 7:00-8:30 pm, PAC Theater (more info here)
Carlo Grossman

The spring musical by the Upper School Musical Production class will be "The Boy Friend." Written by Sandy Wilson, "The Boy Friend" is a sweet, fun, and innocent 1920’s-style musical. The original 1954 London production ran for 2,078 performances, making it briefly the third-longest running musical in West End or Broadway history. This show marked Julie Andrews' American stage debut.
 
Performances are scheduled for May 2-3-4 in the theater of the Performing Arts Center. All shows begin at 7:15 pm. For more information about the musical production class or this year’s musical, contact stage director, Carlo Grossman.

Sunshine Klein

This week the Rock Climbing team participated in our first top rope comp of the season. And, following suit, we won! Overall Varsity won 236 to 216 and JV won 144 to 106. Girls Varsity won 100 to 81; Girls JV lost 20 to 28; Boys Varsity won 136 to 135; Boys JV won 124 to 78. 

For this comp we held 13 of the top 20 spots! Reuven S. (1), Sam S. (5), Minwoo R. (6), Magnus C. (7), Kathleen M. (8), Ian S. (9), Sam S. (10), Seth G. (11), Miguel K. (12), George M. (13), Isaac M. (14), Ariana D. (18), Evelyn S. (19). Congratulations to the team for their continued successes this season!

Friends Mart

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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

Athletics Calendar




January

Margaret Rosser

Photo of the Week

During the Jan. 10 Upper School assembly, SSFS musicians provided a preview of the Upper School Music Evening, scheduled for Thursday, January 17th at 7:15 pm in the PAC. All SSFS families are invited to enjoy performances by the US Handbells, Instrumental Music, and Choral groups. Other upcoming performance opportunities include the Middle School Winter Arts Evening (Jan. 24), the Middle School Play (Feb. 9), the 2019 Community Play (Feb. 28-Mar. 2) and the US Musical (May 2-4). 

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.

  • Wed, Jan. 16: PA Auction Meeting, 8:15-9:30 am, Scott House Conference Room or via Conference Call-In
  • Fri, Jan. 18: LS & MS Girls' Basketball Clinic, 3:30-7:30 pm
  • Fri, Jan. 18: "Feed the Beests" event, 3:30-5:00 pm, Athletic Center. Come support our athletic teams--and our School! Refreshments are available for purchase during games; this is a Sophomore class fundraiser, supported by the SSFS PA.
  • Mon, Jan. 21: MLK, Jr. Day - NO CLASSES
  • Mon, Jan. 21: Optional PA MLK, Jr. Day of Service - Find out more here

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

  • Fri, Jan. 25: Last Day of 1st Semester/2nd Quarter
  • Thurs, Jan. 31: PA Meeting, 6:00-7:00 pm, Yarnall 
  • Thurs, Jan. 31: "State of the School" Forum with David Hickson, Interim Head of School, and the SSFS Board, 7:00-8:30 pm, PAC Theater (more info here)
Margaret Rosser

With winter weather in the forecast, just a reminder that SSFS follows Montgomery County Schools with regard to weather-related delays and school closures (but not early dismissal). SSFS posts alerts on our website, and we send out text and email notifications for emergency school closures and delays from OneCallNow using the information in your My BackPack account, so be sure that your contact information is up to date. If you'd like, you can also sign up for MCPS Alerts here.

For Lower School families: If Montgomery Co. schools are closed, but MCPS admin offices are open, Kids After Hours (KAH) is available for child care, but NOT at the SSFS location; KAH facilities will be available at the Flower Valley Elementary School location instead. We encourage families who are not regular KAH participants but who may want to use this service to register for drop-in services on the KAH website ahead of time. Thanks!

Carylton Ganong

As the partial government shutdown continues into its third week, we recognize that many in our community who are employed by (or contract with) the federal government have felt the financial impact of the recent furloughs. We want to assure you that you are our priority, and we want to support those who may find themselves in a financial pinch due to the shutdown. If you anticipate that you will be impacted, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Rothfeld in the Business Office (jessica.rothfeld@ssfs.org or 301-774-7455 x181) to discuss payment options for final tuition payments, re-enrollment deposits, and bus/aftercare fees.  
Thank you for all you do,
Carylton Ganong, SSFS CFO

David Hickson

Liza LongSSFS is delighted to announce the appointment of Liza Long to be Head of the Lower School beginning July 1, 2019.  Liza brings a skill set to the job that includes successful teaching experience, empathy, the courage to be a change agent, a fierce desire to make a positive contribution, significant admissions/enrollment experience, a knack for marketing, a surfeit of professionalism, a strong educational background with a continuing interest in current scholarship and innovative practices relating to progressive education, and a sense of humor. Click here for the email sent to all Lower School families on Tuesday, January 8 with Tom Gibian's full announcement.

Kerry Ann Farmer

MLK Jr. Day of ServiceOnly a few days away until the MLK Day of Service--January 21, 2019! Join us and bring a friend as we come together as a community to serve those who are in need. There will be service projects and activities for all ages. Please RSVP here so we know about how many people to expect for the Community Breakfast.

As a reminder, we are still collecting items for Comfort Cases such as backpacks, coloring books, crayons etc. Click here to see the full list of items needed.

MLK Day of Service Book Audit in SSFS Library
This service project continues the book audit in the library that was started by Elizabeth Thornton and a group of parents at the end of last school year. Volunteers will review, sort and tag books in a designated section of the library. This project will provide the library team with deeper data about the cultural content of the library collection. Kids accompanying parents will do a separate activity. Click here to volunteer for this project!

Schedule of the Day

  • 10:00-10:45 am - Community Breakfast in Westview (Please RSVP here so we know about how many people to expect)
  • 10:45-11:00 am - Introductions and Overview of the day
  • 11:00-1:00 pm - Break out into service projects
  • 1:30-2:00 pm - Reconvene and adjourn

Service Projects and Locations:

  • Smart Sacks Packing--Westview
  • Shepard’s Table--Westview
  • Comfort Cases-Studio B (PAC)
  • Pet Treats--MS Collection Space
  • Linus Blanket Project--Yarnall Library
  • Operation Gratitude-- Clifton
  • Library Book Audit--Yarnall Library: Click here to RSVP for this project
David Hickson

All parents were sent a link to a Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Survey from the Glasgow Group via Survey Monkey on Monday, Jan. 7. As noted in the introduction to the survey, "the goal of the diversity audit is to measure the school's progress in its efforts at diversity and inclusion, in support of the School's mission statement and diversity statement." More context for the survey request can be found in a recent email from Interim Head of School David Hickson. Please note that parents are asked to access the survey via the original link, sent in individual emails on Monday from Survey Monkey. This email may have been inadvertently captured by your email system in junk or spam folders. If, after checking, you are unable to locate your email, then parents can access the survey via a general link here. Thank you in advance for your participation! 

SSFS Parents Association

The Parents Council of Washington is pleased to invite you to a free screening of the documentary Beyond Measure for our member school communities. This documentary offers a positive picture of what is possible in American education, highlighting schools that foster critical thinking, communication, exploration, experimentation, collaboration, and creativity as keys to the successful education of children from all backgrounds. This event is open to member school parents, grandparents, staff, faculty and administrators. Please click the link to register. Space is limited so register early to secure a seat! Landmark Theatres/Bethesda 
Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814, Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 9:30 - 11:30 am.

SSFS Parent Association

It's that time of year again to start thinking about next year's PA Executive Committee. The Executive Committee includes two Co-Clerks, two Assistant Co-Clerks, Mentoring Clerk, three Division Representatives for each division (LS, MS, and US), Treasurer, and Recording Clerk.  This process takes a lot of consideration and an entire team of people to facilitate. Nominations are anonymous and will be shared only with the Nominating Committee. We will also be taking nominations for Grade Representatives (though they are not part of the Executive Committee - nominations for Grade Representatives will be passed to the current Division Representatives for consideration). All SSFS Community members should feel free to nominate anyone (even yourself!) you feel would be a good fit for SSFS's PA Executive Committee and/or a Grade Representative. Please make nominations through this nominating form.

Lauren Mossman

Save the date for the second annual "State of the School" forum on Thursday, January 31st at 7:15 pm in the PAC! In the spirit of taking stock at the start of a new year, please join Interim Head of School David Hickson and the Board of Trustees for a presentation on the state of Sandy Spring Friends School. Watch your inbox for more details to come! Questions? Contact Lauren Mossman, Director of Advancement. We look forward to seeing you there!

SSFS Parents Association

Mark your calendars for the next Parents Association All-School Meeting, scheduled for Thurs, Jan. 31 from 6:00-7:00 pm in Yarnall (before the "State of the School" Forum at 7:15 pm). The SSFS community would not be what it is without an involved parent and guardian population, so please come by for a great dialogue and ample friendship. Remember, we are all the PA! Look for a list of potential discussion topics in coming newsletters.