Sandy Spring Friends School Boarding - #YouAreWelcomeHere


Through our supportive, welcoming environment at Sandy Spring Friends School, students are inspired to become responsible, global citizens who go on tomake a positive impact on their communities. When you feel welcomed and relevant, you can achieve great success.


Home countries of SSFS International Students

International Students make up 27% of the SSFS Upper School student body.

Japan Mexico Nigeria Russia South Korea Tajikistan Ukraine

Vietnam Spain Republic of Congo Thailand Afghanistan Equatorial Guinea Gabon

Belgium Serbia Iran Jamaica India

Our students are from...

Bhutan Canada China Croatia El Salvador Ghana Italy

At Sandy Spring Friends School, we welcome students from around the globe and throughout the United States. We celebrate and promote diversity across our beautiful 140-acre campus. The size of our school community is intentionally small to keep things safe, welcoming, and supportive. Our goal is to ensure international students get the assistance they need, from guidance with immigration documentation, making travel arrangements, academic scheduling, to getting settled into their new surroundings. We have a variety of support systems that help students achieve social, emotional, and academic success, regardless of their level of English proficiency.

Students Helping Students Student Ambassadors are a small group of students dedicated to serving as liaisons between the greater Sandy Spring Friends School community and new and prospective students, by providing a welcoming environment. They become cultural bridge-builders, working as a team to help students adjust and integrate into the community, and seeking to strengthen the connection between current students and SSFS alumni. Participants of the Ambassadors Program have a desire to learn and develop personally while working with a diverse group of students. They have the opportunity to teach others about their countries, cultures, and current events through interactive presentations. Ambassadors are enthusiastic, responsible and committed to the school’s mission.

Getting Involved, Staying Connected Because our students are expected to contribute to the community by getting involved with the school community through activities such as sports, clubs, arts, community service, and student government, there are numerous opportunities to be social. This school requirement prevents students from feeling lonely. At Sandy Spring Friends School, dining together is an important tradition that keeps our community connected. In consideration of our culturally diverse student body, we offer hot food, a deli station, and a fully stocked salad bar so that students can make the choice that works best for them.

Weekends for Fun

Weekends are generally spent having fun with friends, catching up on homework, volunteering in the community, engaging in school-sponsored activities and trips, and sometimes, just relaxing.

Every weekend, there are three or more school-sponsored activities or trips. Most often, one of these activities will be a shopping and movie trip. Weekend activities may also include cultural events, volunteer experiences, outdoor (or indoor) adventures, sports games, and on-campus activities.

Host Family Comfort Sandy Spring Friends School offers host family living opportunities for international students while they are students at SSFS to provide an immersion experience into American home life. This enables international students to be a part of a family while they study abroad and creates cross- cultural connections between American and international families. Students in the SSFS Host Family Program live, eat, work, and spend free time with the American family and are considered a respected and valued member of the home. This immersive, American experience dramatically improves their English-speaking skills, and provides international students an enjoyable family experience that is different from their own.

SSFS host families are well known in our community and care for international students as they would care for their own children.

“I was nervous when I first came to live withmy host family but when I got to knowhownice theywere, I was so happy to be living with them!” - Evelyn S., SSFS international student fromBeijing

Mentors for Success Through our proven mentorship program, our boarding students get focused, individual attention that empowers them to achieve success academically, and in other areas of life. Boarding students are paired with a mentor from our staff who oversees their academic, community, social, and behavioral well being at SSFS. Mentors serve as a liaison with their student’s support team, including parents, teachers, and academic advisor, resulting in effective communication, academic success, and greater support. On-Campus, On-the-Go Resources Our boarding students benefit from the adult guidance offered during their time outside of the classroom by Campus Residents who manage and oversee student trips and activities, open gym, and study hall. Our campus residents bring a variety of interests, passions and unique experiences to our boarding community and are a consistent and reliable resource for students. Additional support is provided by Resident Assistants, carefully chosen student leaders who act as student representatives for the residential students.

ANetwork of Support Working together, the school nurses, counselors, and learning specialists create a supportive network whose goal is to fulfill the need for communication, support, and program development. Specialized Instruction International students take two to three years of language development instruction and support in English and History taught by experienced teachers who are specially trained in teaching English Language Learners. This specialized instruction ensures that students are well prepared to succeed in mainstream (non-ESOL) high school and college courses.

Our international students also take a special course that explores American Culture through a sociology perspective. We believe language and culture are deeply intertwined, and that language is best taught in the context of culture. The goal of the course is to make crossing cultures a positive, productive, and enriching experience, by helping students better understand the nature of the American character, strengthen intercultural awareness, and develop sociocultural analytical skills.

Flexible Academic Coaching The Flex Program incorporates a coaching model in an after-school and evening schedule that is adaptable to the age and needs of the student. This supplemental program is intended to complement the academic supports given students by their teachers and advisors. Each Flex session focus on developing these skills while meeting the students’ short-term academic goals, which may include: • Completing homework • Making up missed work • Corresponding with teachers regarding assess ments/confusion about assignments • Organizing materials • Creating a schedule for work completion, particularly for long-term assignments • Additional skills based on the goals of the individual student

College Preparation The college counseling staff at SSFS is committed to ensuring that every student and family receives the necessary support required to design and implement a successful plan for college or university. We want to enable our students to transition successfully from SSFS into higher education, and to achieve their personal and professional goals. We believe there is a school for every student, and one of our primary tasks is to help them to identify their needs and goals for higher education in order to help make the best possible choice. Where do our graduates go? We prepare our international students for a successful transition to a U.S. university or college if that is their goal. You can find our graduates at top-tier schools like, Brown University, UC-Berkley, Johns Hopkins University, Northeastern University, California State University, and Emory University, to name a few.

100% college

acceptance rate

Who are our Alumni? Our graduates achieve career success as professors, medical professionals, political activists, scientists, business leaders, as well as, established artists, published writers, and professional musicians.

SSFS Guiding Principles: The “SPICES” To help create a stable and nurturing environment for our students, the Sandy Spring Friends School Boarding Program celebrates the following six fundamental, guiding Quaker principles (“The SPICES”) in making decisions about boarding life: SIMPLICITY: We strive to live a life free of gratuitous complications, unnecessary material items, or lavish surroundings. We also honor simplicity in our interactions and experiences with one another. Students who are given respect, responsibilities, and clear expectations in a fair, honest, and supportive environment will learn to respect themselves and others. PEACE: We do not believe in solving conflicts with harsh verbal or physical restraint. While disagreements among people living together are inevitable, conflict can be addressed with compassion, patience, and respect for differences in opinion. Community members believe in one another’s ability to act and live peacefully and provide support for one another in this practice. INTEGRITY: We believe that each person has the capacity to live truthfully, respect other people, and strive toward living a life guided by moral principles. Living together in a dormitory, we expect and encourage these goals of one another. COMMUNITY: We believe in a sense of commitment and responsibility to those with whom we live, work, and learn. Joined by similar ideals and a common environment, we develop an understanding and appreciation of cultural, social, political, and religious diversity in the people and world around us. EQUALITY: We believe that there is goodness within each person; therefore, it is important that we view one another as equally valued members of the community. With a fundamental sense that we are all equally valued, each individual is better able, and expected to contribute unique and individual gifts to the community. STEWARDSHIP: We not only have a responsibility to care and respect one another within the dormitory but also have to give back and create change in our larger communities. The world benefits from committed individuals who act with a sense of service.


Contact Us

Bill Mena Director of Boarding and International Admissions Director of Auxiliary Programs | 301-774-7455 x163

Sandty Spring Friends School 16923 Norwood Rd Sandy Spring, MD 20860 | (301) 774-7455

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