Sandy Spring Friends School

 

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SSFS Orientation Materials

We are very excited about the start of another school year full of inquiry-based learning, reflection, action, collaboration, community-building, and fun! Below are links to resources and materials that we hope will be helpful to you this fall and in the coming academic year. Please don't hesitate to contact the School if you have any questions or need additional information. (There are also some FAQs and How-To's below.) 

See Summer & Back-to-School information for each division. 

Welcome Video

2019-2020 SSFS Back-to-School Packet

 

Back-To-School PacketDownload

You can download the entire packet (above), or just the individual items that you need (itemized separately below). There will be limited hard copies of some of these items available on Orientation Day. 

Important Information: School Photo Form

  • For students in Grades 6-11: The online form is available here, or hard copies will be available at Orientation Day, and in the MS and US offices. New this year: families can pay online via credit card.
    • REMINDER: Yearbook photos for grades 9-11 will be taken on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Please have your student bring their completed photo form with them!
    • REMINDER: Yearbook photos for grades 6-8 will be taken on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Please have your student bring their completed photo form with them!
  •  For Lower School students: LS Students don't need to fill out a photo form.  Lower School yearbook photos will be taken on Wednesday, Sept. 18 (PK3-2nd Grade) and Thursday, Sept. 19 (Grades 3-5). Sibling photo appointments can also be arranged via Stone Photography on Wed, Sept. 18 from 2:30-5:00 pm. New this year: families can pay online via credit card.

How-To's and FAQs

Top FAQs for Each Department/Division

The family-school partnership is extremely important, and we want to ensure that all SSFS parents and guardians understand how the School shares information with families. Click the link above to get access to the FAQs from each department/division represented in our 2019 Orientation Fair.

Below you will also find information about the various modes of communication used by the School, as well as some frequently-asked questions, troubleshooting ideas, and instructions for how to access information.  Have a suggestion for an FAQ? Send to Margaret Rosser at margaret.rosser@ssfs.org. Thanks!

What are the differences between the School website, Finalsite, My BackPack, and Vidigami?

  • SSFS School Website and Parent Portal:

    General information about the School is posted on the School website, www.ssfs.org. Urgent messages (i.e., school closures or delays) are posted on the homepage when needed. You can also find calendar info, athletic team schedules, and news about the School on the public website; however, for internal information that is more useful for our current families,  SSFS families should log in to the website and bookmark the Parent Portal page. 

    To access your portal page, click the Springers Login (available from every web page), and select the "Parent" option. Log in with your SSFS username/password to get to the Parent Portal page, a one-stop location for internal school-related information such the online School directory, menus, schedules and calendars, news and reminders, photo galleries, as well as single-sign-on access your My BackPack account and your students’ online classroom pages.
     

  • Finalsite Learn LMS:

    Finalsite Learn is the online learning management software (LMS) used for online interactive teaching inside and outside the classroom in all three divisions. Teachers in the Middle and Upper School maintain online class pages on which they may post syllabi, homework, and grades; conduct virtual discussions; and make available supplemental educational materials. In the Lower School, teachers use Finalsite to post class blogs about classroom activities.

    Parents should log in to the Parent Portal page and click the "My Student's Classes" icon to access links to their child(ren)’s class or course list. Clicking on the course link open the Finalsite web page, with access to student homework assignments and grades and other information about the class. Note that these web pages (managed by individual teachers and staff) are different from the main school website, with a different page design and navigation. You can return to the main website's Parent Portal page by clicking the "Portals" icon at the top of the Finalsite pages. 
     

  • My BackPack:

    Logging into My BackPack allows families to complete school business: update contact information, get student academic reports, access and print student directory information, view financial information for student accounts, sign up for bus transportation, and apply to the School. Academic reports sent out at the end of each quarter are made available via My BackPack. 

    To access your My BackPack account, log in to the Parent Portal page, and click the My BackPack icon. Click here for the Tech How-To document on changing your contact information in My BackPack. 
     

  • Vidigami:

    Photo galleries of School events and activities are available to our families through Vidigami, a password-protected photo management service. Vidigami is available from the Parent Portal. After logging in, parents, students, and faculty/staff are able to download high-resolution photos of SSFS events and activities, and upload their own photos. A selection of these photos may also be posted on our public website on the online photo gallery page.

    To access your Vidigami account, log in to the Parent Portal page, and click the Photos icon. The first time you log in to Vidigami, you will be required to re-enter your SSFS username and password; after logging in once, you can access your Vidigami account directly from the Parent Portal page. Click here for the Tech How-To Document for Vidigami. 

How do I access Finalsite Learn (my child’s online classroom with grades, assignments, etc.)?

  • Log in to the Parent Portal Page using your School username and password. (Problems accessing your username/password? See directions for retrieving your password.) 
  • Click the “My Child's Classes” icon to view all your child’s classes. 
  • Click an individual class to see information and assignments for a particular class, or click the “Groups Dashboard” to the general dashboard page that consolidates recent announcements, class calendars, and info from all courses. 
  • Note that clicking on an individual class or group dashboard page will direct you to the Finalsite Learn website, which is separate from the main website. You can always click the “Portals” icon/link to return to the main website's Parent Portal page. 
  • See instructions for how to view your child's grades and comments, or see other related resources and links related to Finalsite Learn.

How do I find a name, email, and/or phone number of another parent/my child's classmate?

Parents who are looking to set up a play date, arrange a carpool, or contact another child’s parents can find contact information in the online School Directory. To access:

  • Log in to the Parent Portal Page using your School username and password. (Problems accessing your username/password? Contact tech@ssfs.org
  • Click the “Directory” icon at the top of the page
  • Search using the student or parent first name or last name and grade
  • See a full class list by selecting the “Grade” field only
  • Families who do not wish their contact information to appear in the directory should update their contact information following the directions here, and check the "DNP" checkbox for the information you don't want to display. 

I don’t seem to be getting the all-school emails. What’s going on?

All parents who have input an email address into My BackPack should be receiving all-school emails (i.e., the Weekly Newsletter; emails from the Head of School’s office; emails from the Parents Association; emails from the Advancement office, etc.). By law, we must include an “unsubscribe” link, but if you unsubscribe, you will be missing important announcements from the School! If you notice that you are not receiving the weekly e-newsletter (sent out every Sunday afternoon), or other all-school communications, please review the following to troubleshoot the issue: 

  • Check to make sure you have the correct email address included in your My BackPack account. Instructions are available here.
     
  • Check your Clutter, Junk, and Spam folders, and mark as safe sender. Although the email “From” field is usually Sandy Spring Friends School or a name (Tom Gibian, David Hickson, Laura Miyoshi, etc.). the email address that all-school emails come from is communications@sandyspring.myenotice.com. Do a search for this address, and if you find an email in your Clutter/Junk/Spam folder, then right click/alt-click the email and Mark Sender as Safe.
     
  • Still no luck? Contact the Technology Department at tech@ssfs.org. In the meantime, you may also contact Margaret Rosser to have all-school emails forwarded directly to you while Tech helps find a solution to the issue. 

How do I update my contact information in My BackPack?

Full instructions with screenshots are available here.

Does SSFS have an emergency notification system?

Yes. SSFS uses One Call Now for all emergency text notification services. Text alerts are used only for emergency notifications and school delay/closure information. We use the cell phone numbers of parents/guardians provided in each family’s My BackPack account for phone text alerts; all parents and guardians are signed up to receive emergency notifications automatically when you provide your cell phone information via My BackPack, so you don't need to register separately for this service. As required by law, users may opt out of this service upon receipt of the text message. If you are not receiving text alerts and you have provided a cell phone number, please contact tech@ssfs.org

Does SSFS use any social media platforms?

Yes! Links to our social media sites are available from our website and include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Following us on Instagram is a great way for you to get a window into the daily life of the school and classroom activities.

  • Instagram - Join us on Instagram to get a look at the daily activities of our students. Our School’s Instagram handle is @ssfs_springers. 
  • Facebook - The School maintains a Facebook fan page where we post photos and updates about school activities and events. We encourage all families to “like” SSFS so that they can receive updates and share information about SSFS with other families!
  • YouTube - Look here for school videos, including our “What is Meeting for Worship?” and “What is a Quaker School?” videos.
  • Twitter - We also have a Twitter feed. Our school Twitter handle  is @ssfs_springers: follow us!

We are careful not to post student names with photos, but if you don't want your student's image  posted on social media platforms (alone or in a group photo), please contact Margaret Rosser

Orientation Day Feedback Form

Save The Date

Click on the event title to find out more about each event.

RSVP: Tom Talks Event

What: Head of School Tom Gibian invites all parents to join him for small group gatherings to kick off 2019-2020—a year that promises to be full of transitions and excitement!


Who: All SSFS parents and guardians are invited. There are various dates for gatherings of different grade levels.


When: 

  • Lower School (Grades PK3 - 2) - Monday, September 9 at 8:00 AM or Wednesday, October 2 at 3:00 PM
  • Lower School (Grades 3 -5) - Wednesday, September 11 at 3:00 PM or Wednesday, October 9 at 6:00 PM
  • Middle School (Grades 6-8) - Thursday, August 22 at 6:00 PM or Monday, October 7 at 8:00 AM
  • Upper School (Grades 9-11) - Thursday, August 29 at 6:00 PM or Wednesday, September 25 at 8:00 AM
  • Upper School (Grade 12) - Tuesday, August 27 at 6:00 PM or Wednesday, September 18 at 3:00 PM

RSVP: Click here to RSVP for your grade-level gathering
Questions? Contact Lauren Mossman, Director of Advancement