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Tandem Friends School Interchange Reports

The text of recently published Interchange reports are below, with the most recently received at the top and older reports below. To jump to a particular report, simply click the year listed below.

  Spring 2017 Report  

Spring 2017 Interchange Report

Tandem Friends School selects
Jane Whitney Thompson as next Head of School

The Tandem Friends School Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Whitney Thompson as the next Head of School. After conducting a national search, it was clear that Whitney had the right combination of experience, fit, and leadership style needed for the role. Evangeline Calland, Chair of the Board of Trustees said, “this is a tremendous appointment for Tandem Friends School. Whitney Thompson has the vision for Quaker education, true administrative acumen, and intellectual depth to successfully lead Tandem Friends School into its next 50 years.”

Thompson has twenty years of experience as a teacher and administrator at Brooklyn Friends School, where she served as the Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty, overseeing complex administrative matters for a school with five divisions and more than 200 faculty members. Whitney has extensive leadership experience in the areas of independent school accreditation and self study, serving on accreditation visiting teams both within the Friends Council on Education, the international membership organization of Quaker schools, and the New York State Association of Independent Schools. Whitney also directed BYM’s Teen Adventure Program for seven years, a Quaker summer wilderness program, where small groups of teens spend three weeks together with two leaders challenging themselves with strenuous wilderness activities such as backpacking and canoeing and engaging in service projects to advance their leadership and teamwork skills.

Whitney earned an undergraduate degree from Oberlin College in African American Studies and a master’s degree in Adolescent Education from Bank Street College of Education. She is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in Educational Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Tandem Friends is a wonderful school in which students are challenged to excel academically without sacrificing their authentic voice,” said Thompson. “During my visits to Tandem, it repeatedly struck me that students are free to be their true selves. What a fantastic thing to provide adolescents as they transition into young adulthood - a school where they are known, respected, and encouraged to grow! I am incredibly proud to become a part of this unique school community.”

Tandem Friends School is a coeducational day school with 225 students in grades 5-12. Rooted in Quaker values, Tandem offers an exceptional college-preparatory curriculum in which intellectual, ethical, artistic, and athletic ideals are pursued. Students thrive on independent, imaginative thought, are fully engaged in learning, and seek the best from themselves and their community. Tandem School was founded by John Howard and Duncan Alling in 1970 and became Tandem Friends School in 1995.

2015 Annual Report

No report received.

2014 Annual Report

On June 14, 2014 Sandy Spring Friends School held its 52nd graduation. Seniors and their families, friends, teachers and supporters gathered outdoors under blue skies in front of the old Ashton Meeting House, which now resides at the center of our campus, for Meeting for Worship and graduation ceremonies.

Sandy Spring Friends School operates under the care of both the Baltimore Yearly Meeting and Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting. It is a Pre-K through 12th grade college preparatory independent school with a 5- and 7-day boarding option in the Upper School.

This year, Sandy Spring Friends School enrolled 535 students, approximately 10% of whom are Quakers. We value diversity: over 40% of us are students of color. We seek economic diversity through a generous financial aid program, which has been supported for decades by the Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting. We consider it a priority to enroll Quaker kids and enroll Quaker faculty.

We are stewards of our environment where we generate 30% of our electricity from a 4-acre ground mounted solar array.

While we place great value in our traditions, we also feel the responsibility to discern how Way Opens for educating our children in the 21st Century. A Sandy Spring Friends School education is global, technology-enabled and experiential. Students can take Mandarin, participate in model UN, star in musicals, make robots, compete on the pitch, travel abroad, volunteer, become interns. The list goes on and on.

One thing Sandy Spring students do is learn to sit quietly in Meeting for Worship, which is part of the weekly schedule for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Our community recognizes the importance of listening to each other, respecting differences, resolving conflicts peacefully, placing truth over winning arguments.

We are excited about the future.

Tom Gibian

Sandy Spring Friends School

"Let Your Life Speak"

2013 Annual Report

As Sandy Spring Friends School begins our fifty-second year, we continue to seek ways to fulfill our mission as a Quaker school and community, guided by the Testimonies and seeking to recognize that of God in each student. As an independent, religiously-affiliated school, SSFS lives in a creative tension among the realities of being a tuition-driven (i.e. market-driven) institution, a spiritual community grounded in the Friends testimonies, and a student/parent population that comes to SSFS from many faith traditions. SSFS is an outstanding school with a vibrant, dynamic community, challenged by national economic pressures on the cost of education, a lackluster economy, a competitive independent school landscape, and an ongoing desire to keep a Friends education affordable for students from all socio-economic segments of our greater community.

The School and its Board of Trustees finalized a new strategic plan in the spring of 2012. This plan focuses on four broad goals. These strategic areas illuminate our work at all levels of the School:

Advance our educational program to meet 21st century needs and skills
Maintain and strengthen our Quaker identity and values
Promote and support excellent teaching
Adopt a sustainable business model supported by a culture of philanthropy.

Much work at the School has gone into understanding and articulating our strengths and appeal to prospective families. Parents in the Washington, DC area have many quality choices for educating their children, and yet we continue to believe that SSFS provides a unique and special environment for children. We offer an academic and supportive environment in which students can explore, create, grow, and discover the ways that they will make a difference in the world. Our boarding program, and its ability to draw students from around the globe, provides all students a unique preparation for a world that is increasingly multicultural and requires a global understanding. We believe that a Friends education is needed to meet the world’s challenges, today more than ever. The challenge for us is to concisely communicate the richness and nuance of a SSFS education, amid an information stream that threatens to overwhelm parents seeking the right educational environment for their child.

Our graduates enter work and higher education environments that are increasingly facilitated by communications technology of all kinds. Wireless devices, smart phones, internet-based resources, and tablet computers are rapidly becoming the tools of colleges, universities, professional practices, and work environments. SSFS seeks to provide students not only practical skills with these technologies, but also a moral compass to use these technologies creatively, ethically, as change agents, and in harmony with their world. To this end, SSFS has become a “wireless” campus and developed a pilot program for classroom use of iPads for the 2012-2013 school year, and is expanding that effort for 2013-2014.

The School has reached a point where its original classroom building, Moore Hall, no longer meets the educational needs of the Upper School (high school). Conversations are underway to design an upper school facility that will support the academic needs of the School for the foreseeable future. The School and its Board are committed to developing facilities that meet a very high standard for energy use and other environmental impacts while remaining within the School’s financial means. More broadly, the School seeks to create a facility that affirms and reflects the full spectrum of the School’s values and culture.

The School seeks renewable and sustainable practices in a number of ways. Fall of 2012 brought completion of a solar photovoltaic facility that meets a substantial percentage of the School’s electricity needs in a sustainable, zero-emissions way. The School has expanded its farm program, with approximately two acres now under organic cultivation by a professional farmer. We are nearing the end of the second season of local food production for our dining hall and delivering surplus produce to local markets. The School has received formal recognition from Montgomery County for its waste reduction and composting programs, and we have systematically increased the efficiency of HVAC and lighting systems across campus.

Meeting for Worship continues to be an anchor for students and staff at all grade levels. Students participate in meeting at least once per week and often twice per week. Moments of silence continue to be a common SSFS practice for starting meetings and classes. Quaker history and the Friends testimonies are part of our curriculum, both formally and informally, within the context of a multi-faith community. Most any student on campus would be able to describe the Quaker SPICES (Service, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Stewardship). The School’s Motto, “Let your lives speak,” expresses a persistent and pervasive theme of a Sandy Spring education - helping students find their voice as agents for social justice and global peace. Students express their understanding of what it means to them to be a part of a Quaker school in a video produced during the 2012-2013 academic year and available online at

The School and Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting have renewed their commitment to a mutually supportive relationship grounded in shared goals and spirit-led inquiry. The School benefits greatly from its connection to SSMM and from the efforts of Board members appointed by SSMM and BYM. These efforts are aided by interconnections among faculty members and families that are members of the Meeting, and Head of School Tom Gibian who grew up in Sandy Spring and remains an active Friend. Relationships are a journey, not an end, and so the common journey of our cluster of Friends organizations continues to mature.

As your representatives from the Yearly Meeting to the Sandy Spring Friends School Board we are well aware of our responsibilities to the Yearly Meeting and the wider Quaker community. We will continue in our efforts to assist the school and its leadership as it strives to accomplish our highest Quaker ideals.

Louis Harrington (Sandy Spring),
Jeanne-Marie Duval Pierrelouis (Sandy Spring),
and Cynthia Terrell (Bethesda), BYM Board Representatives

2012 Annual Report

No report received.

2011 Annual Report

No report received.

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