Sandy Spring Friends School



US Summer & Back to School Info

We look forward to having your child join us! Below please find some general information about health forms, academic resources, upcoming dates, technology information, and more as you prepare for the upcoming school year. Please bookmark this page, as posted information will be updated throughout the spring and into the summer.

Jump Down To: US Summer Reading & Resources
Download a Summer Checklist

Bus Registration

Information about bus routes can be found online here (or see PDF of 2019-2020 Bus Routes here). Families can enroll in Bus Transportation via MyBackPack > Program Registration. SSFS continues to accept bus registrations until August 1, or until routes are at capacity. Please note that some routes will fill to capacity before August 1, so be sure to register to ride the bus as soon as possible. Directions for bus registration may be found online here.

Required Health and Permission Forms

Family health and permission forms that you will need to fill out for your child are submitted using Magnus Health. Families are asked to submit all required health forms for the 2019-2020 academic year by July 15. View online instructions and FAQs.

Class Placements & Course Scheduling

Placement testing is needed for any student entering SSFS from another school. We conduct placement tests in math and foreign language to ensure students are placed in the current courses based on their skill level. For questions and placement scheduling information, please contact Meredith Shankle, Upper School Program Coordinator and Registrar. 

2019-2020 US Course Curriculum 

Technology and Website Information

Our Upper School has a Bring Your Own Device ("BYOD") program. All students in the Upper School must have a device available on a daily basis for schoolwork. This device can be an iPad, Windows laptop, Mac laptop, Chromebook, Android tablet, or other similar device. Because of its keyboard and screen size, a mobile phone is not considered an adequate device for school. Click here to see minimum requirements for student devices.

Website login information for new families will be emailed approximately two weeks after you sign your enrollment contract. The website login gives families single-sign-on access to MyBackPack and online classrooms from the website, but you do not need a website login to access your MyBackPack account; you can simply login directly to MyBackPack.

A description of Technology Services at SSFS is available in this letter from the IT Staff. You can also find the New Family Technology Setup Checklist here

You can find more information for new and returning families on the Technology website. Technology questions may be directed to the Technology Office at

My BackPack

After enrolling, each family gets a dedicated MyBackPack account with a unique username and password. If you have submitted your enrollment contract and not yet received login information for (or need assistance accessing) your MyBackPack account, please contact the Technology department at or 301-774-7455 x111. Your MyBackPack account will give you access to a number of services including:

  • Billing and student accounts
  • Student class schedules and grades/comments
  • School directory
  • Family contact information
  • Enrollment contracts

Please ensure that your contact information in your MyBackPack account is accurate. See instructions for how to update your contact info here. As a part of our continuing efforts to act in environmentally sustainable ways, SSFS rarely sends information by paper mail. All communications about events, grades, billing account status, re-enrollment, and other information are sent electronically through My BackPack using the email addresses you have provided. An emergency notification service is also available via text message, so please also provide a cell phone number where you may reached.

Book Ordering Information

The online bookstore via Follett opens Tuesday, July 16. Logging in to Follett after this date allows you to view the book list and access the online bookstore for your student via your My BackPack account. Click here to view an instruction page that will walk you through the process of viewing and ordering your child’s books. Please pay attention to the “Section Note” section of each course page, as there may be important details regarding a particular course’s books.

Book Ordering Instructions


Photo Forms

Forms for school photos for grades 6-11 will be available online in August, and hard copies will be available at the first day of school Orientation Day on Tuesday, September 3.

Seniors: Stone Photography will be on campus to take Class of 2020 senior portraits on Thursday, Sept. 5, and Friday, Sept. 6. More information and a SignUp Genius link was emailed to all seniors and their parents;  seniors should sign up for their portrait time by Tuesday, Sept. 3.

9th Grade Trip

To help build community, and prepare students for the school year, our ninth graders participate in a camping trip. This required four-day trip occurs in late August and includes hiking, canoeing, and whole group activities at Catoctin Quaker Camp. There is no additional fee for this trip.

Updated 7/30/2019

Contact Us:

Meredith Shankle
US Program Coordinator and Registrar
send email
301-774-7455 ext. 109

Ben McClellan
Dean of Upper School
send email
301-774-7455 ext. 121

Chris Miller
Director of College Counseling
send email

301-774-7455 ext. 178

Summer Reading and Resources


Please click the header for each department's summer reading and resource information.

SSFS All-School Read

The 2019 SSFS All-School Read books are chosen to highlight the growth and joy that all individuals in a neurodiverse community can experience when it includes and embraces a wide variety of neuro-expressions. This year’s selections highlight the strengths and challenges of three neural patterns that are often labeled as disabling. Upper School students are asked to read Turtles all the Way Down by John Green. Click here for more info. 


English Department Summer Reading Titles 2019-2020

Note: Teachers will send students an email letter in July -August with overall course and summer reading instructions. 

9th Grade English

The 9th Grade English classes (both Reading Intensive and Expository Focus) should read the following short stories, provided as PDFs below. The Reading Intensive class should also read "The Prospectors."

10th Grade English

There is no required summer reading for 10th grade English. (Please see History section!)

11th and 12th Grade English

Required reading for 11th and 12th grade English classes are listed below.

AP British Literature

Atonement by Ian McEwan - ISBN 978-0385721790

AP Dramatic Literature

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time: The Play by Mark Haddon - ISBN-10: 1408173352

AP Language and Composition

Language of Composition, by Renee H. Shea, Lawrence Scanlon, Robin Aufses, Megan Pankiewicz
To prepare for AP English Language & Composition in the fall of 2019, students should read the attached pages from the 2nd edition of Language of Composition. (Note: Students are required to purchase the 3rd edition of Language of Composition for the course, but for the purposes of this summer assignment, please use the attached pages of the 2nd edition).
Assignment DUE: Monday, September 9, 2019. Hardcopy Submission – at the beginning of class. Late submissions will not be accepted for this assignment.

Click here for full assignment and text from the 2nd edition of Language and Composition.

African-American Literature I

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - ISBN 978-0062498533

American Immigrants

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo - ISBN 978-0062662804

Creative Nonfiction: The Private Sphere

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah - ISBN 978-0399588198

Critical Writing I

Choose one of the following dystopian novels to read. Ghislaine will email you with more information in July.

  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Legend by Marie Lu 
  • Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Fictional Short Stories

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp - ISBN-10:9780385754309

The Power of Words I

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch - ISBN 978-0316335614

World Literature I (both sections)

The Ramayana, translated by P.K. Narayan - ISBN 978-0143039679


Class reading and assignments are listed below. If there are any questions, please direct them to Kathy Laughlin, the History Department Chair, at

AP US History and Government

All students entering AP United States History in the fall 2019 must complete the following assignment.  The assignment is due the first FULL day of class, September 5. LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
See AP US History and Government summer assignments here

Please contact me if you have any questions about the above assignments or the course in general. Looking forward to our journey beginning in the fall!  Elizabeth.Anderson@ssfs.or

AP World History

For the school year 2019-2020, the AP College Board has redesigned the AP World History curriculum, eliminating the first three units of study which encompass the time periods 10,000 BCE to 1199 CE. However, it is impossible to understand the full context of World History without the background, context, and perspective of these dismissed millennia. As such, the summer reading assignment for AP World History is to read and answer the guided reading packets for chapters 3-9 of the textbook students will be using. These questions are due the first FULL day of class, September 5, and are to be shared with me in a Google Doc. ANY LATE ASSIGMENT WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED, AND STUDENTS WHO FAIL TO HAND THIS IN ON TIME MAY BE ASKED TO PERMANENTLY LEAVE THE COURSE.

Do NOT wait until the last minute to begin this assignment; it will be impossible to complete if you do. I recommend you do a chapter a week. If you have any questions, send emails to

See AP World History assignment here

World History I

A Little History of the World by EH Gombrich
See World History I assignment here

World History II

When China Ruled the Seas by Louise Levathes
See World History II assignment here

US History and Government

“All of the Real Indians Died Off” and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans by Rozanne Dunbar-Oristz and Dina Gilio-Whitacker
See US History and Government assignment here

AP Comparative Government and Politics

Chapter 1: AP Comparative Government and Politics: An Essential Coursebook by Ethel Wood 
See AP Comparative Government and Politics assignment here and PDF here

Latin American Studies

Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano
See Latin American Studies assignment here

AP Psychology

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
See AP Psychology assignment here


There is no required summer work for math. The Upper School Mathematics Department recommends the following free and interactive websites for students to review and practice the math skills they learned this year.

  • Khan Academy: (also available on iPad app) - Video tutorials and practice problems for all levels of mathematics. Students can also personalize learning via the dashboard.
  • CK-12: (also available on iPad app) - Written and video tutorials as well as practice problems for all levels of mathematics (note: Analysis is the non-trigonometry material in Precalculus)
  • Code Combat: Online game introducing programming for students taking Introduction to Computer Science
  • Brilliant: More challenging problems for students who would like to extend their skills

Global Languages


2019-2020 AP Environmental Science students should read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen this summer. It is available for free here
Students may also read the Young Reader’s edition, or listen to it as an audiobook.

Arts and Ideas

The Arts & Ideas students will be expected to read "Free Play: Childhood's End." Some questions to help guide your reading are linked here, as well, but the questions will not be officially assigned until the first week of school.


Coming soon