All-School Calendar
  • October 2017
    • MonOct23 MS Swimming Begins
    • MonOct23 MS Swimming Parent Meeting 6:30 PMLower University School
    • TueOct24 LSPA Picture Retake Day Lyman: Multipurpose Room
    • TueOct24 Grades 3 & 4 Theatre Workshop 5:30 PM

Laurel's varsity golf team recently closed out an incredible season! After placing second in the Northeast Sectional Golf Tournament the team qualified to compete in States, which took place October 13 and 14 at Ohio State University's Scarlet and Gray Golf Course in Columbus. 

The team, coached by Upper School Spanish Teacher and Director of Service Learning Marti Hardy, went on to break their District record of 352 strokes when on day one of States the team shot a 339. The final result was a fourth place finish. Jami Morris '21 was honored as Second Team All Ohio, Taylor Thierry '21, shot a hole-on-one on the Par 3 17th hole, Grace Durdle '19 and Haley Thierry '21 both had their personal best scores and we watched Sophia Levinson '18 play her last hole as a Laurel Senior. Congratulations to the golf team on a fantastic season! 

The Cleveland Jewish News recently spoke with Laurel's Associate Head of School, Kathryn Purcell, to discuss the benefits of a private high school. At Laurel, there is a number of benefits. I think the environment allows the girls to be serious students, to be themselves and to connect with one another in a way that doesn’t add any social pressures or any expectations in how they are supposed to behave." She goes on to state that Laurel is "a smaller environment, and with that, we’re able to grow relationships with each girl so she knows (the school) has her back. In general, at private schools, teachers are of high caliber and they are incredibly dedicated to their students. It’s a community-driven experience." Kathryn also highlights in the piece that Laurel is seeing more students take an active role in the decision process. "They know if they want an academically rigorous environment." Click here to read the full story.


In her latest New York Times column, Lisa Damour, Ph.D., Director of Laurel's Center for Research on Girls, tackles adolescent curiosity and how they will satisfy it online. She states that, "Young people have always been curious about sex, and when our teenagers have questions, the internet is usually their first stop, for worse and for better. Adolescents can and do find highly explicit sexual material online, and an emerging body of research tells a worrisome story about the place of pornography in young people's lives." Dr. Damour goes on to state that "teenagers also turn to the internet for information about relationships and sexual health."

In this digital age there is no shortage of topics to tackle with adolescents - from dating violence to how all consuming relationships can become with a smartphone in hand. The column hones in on how parents can address these topics by talking with teenagers about pornography and by directing them to dependable online information. Lisa provides several useful resources for parents and their teens, and offers a variety of approaches to take when broaching the topic. Click here to read the column in its entirety.

Hope Murphy, Director of Studies for K-8 at Laurel, recently spoke with Cleveland Magazine for an article on the "four C's", critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, and how each of these play a vital role in Laurel's curriculum and how students learn from a young age.

The story highlights how, using an interdisciplinary approach, Laurel School encourages the Four C’s by taking one theme and extending it across subjects. Hope is quoted saying "As early as age 5, students recognize the power of their own voice and of adults and older students to listen to them. They learn the importance of bigger questions and the broader community." In the article, she goes on to talk about how social emotional development is a key focus for early learners. Kindergarten teacher Nicole Franks and First Grade teacher Laura Marabito are also quoted in the story, highlighting examples of how the four C's play out in the classroom.

"Kindergartners at the Shaker Heights girls’ school learn about animals in the rainforest and think critically about the question: “How does where the animals live affect how they live?”  

They research the subject in a science lab and then go on a field trip to visit animals at the RainForest at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. In class, kindergartners use their artistic skills to build a habitat that represents the rainforest environment.  

“Both the art teacher and the science teacher help draw out the girls’ understanding of an animal they have researched,” says Laurel kindergarten teacher Nicole Franks. “They supplement what students are learning in their homeroom about regions of the world through reading literature or nonfiction about the region in language arts and social studies."

Click here to read the full article.



Missy Rose, Director of College Guidance at Laurel, was recently included in a Cleveland Jewish News story focused on the various benefits of taking a gap semester or year prior to college. In the article Missy is quoted saying, "While academically, (the student) may be ready for college but socially, they might not be ready. Another reason can be that they feel burned out from working hard in high school and they just can’t imagine getting back into that with only a two-month break. They might want to use their brain in a different way." Missy also notes in the piece that these options are an ideal way to further personal development. Click here for the full story.
Congratulations to our ninth grade golfer who won the Regional Drive, Chip and Putt competition (Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) at Muirfield Golf Club on Saturday, September 16. She will go to the Master's Tournament in Augusta, Georgia in April to play in the National Tournament. She plays number one for Laurel’s varsity golf team and has led our team to the lowest 9 hole, 18 hole and tournament scores in the history of golf at Laurel School. 

Lisa Damour, Ph.D., Director of Laurel's Center for Research on Girls, recently co-authored a piece in the New York Times - Well - Health guide titled "How to Be a Modern Parent." 

The piece states that “Modern parents have the entire internet at their disposal and don’t follow any single authority. It’s hard to know whom or what to trust. Here, we’ll talk about how to help your child grow up to be a person you really like without losing yourself in the process.” The article touches on many different aspects of parenting starting with how to promote good sleeping habits from the start to fighting food battles with toddlers. The piece go on to touch on a variety of social issues such as bullying, gender and academic pressure and provides guidance and as to how to handle sometimes difficult parenting challenges.


Kana Cummings '18 has been named a Semifinalist in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. She is included in a pool of approximately 16,000 talented high school Seniors that will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be awarded in the spring. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 420 business organizations and higher education institutions that share the goals of honoring the nation's scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

National Merit Scholarship Program Finalists will be notified of this designation in February. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Congratulations to Kana on this wonderful achievement! recently highlighted the news from Laurel School announcing a $10,000 grant awarded by the Veale Foundation, a forum, of which Laurel has been a member for five years, that instills an entrepreneurial mindset in high school students through experiential learning.

The money will be used to fund Laurel's entrepreneurship activities and programs throughout this school year. Those include the school's Capstone Experience, which cultivates purpose, relationships and leadership, and its Veale Venture Challenge which, through a series of steps, aims to help students start a business while they are still in school.

To read more click here.

Laurel School graduates Nora O'Malley '05 and Phoebe Connell '04 were recently featured on and in The Plain Dealer where they discuss their newly launched Aida snack line. When the snacks they made for their groundbreaking East Village wine-tap bar, Lois, turned into an object of desire among other food pros in the neighborhood, the two decided to move the snacks "from their cheese boards to online sales, the shelves at Eataly, Manhattan's fine foods court, and now to Cleveland at The Grocery, a little Ohio City spot specializing in local food. Along the way, The New York Times gave them a nod in print, calling their snacks addictive."

"It became a cult thing," Nora recalls in the story. "They'd say things like, 'I'll trade you some of my house-smoked salt for some of your currant crisps."

The article also discusses where the concept for these snacks came from. Phoebe states that "the sourdough cracker recipe is a direct steal from the bread made regularly by her father, Tim Connell, still a history instructor at Laurel. While she once was embarrassed to show up at school with homemade bread, she now 'misses it incredibly'. The crackers, 'a riff on that bread', have their own cheese-like flavor from a five-day fermentation."

Read the full story and more about their success here


  • October 2017
    • MonOct23 MS Swimming Begins
    • MonOct23 MS Swimming Parent Meeting 6:30 PMLower University School
    • TueOct24 LSPA Picture Retake Day Lyman: Multipurpose Room
    • TueOct24 Grades 3 & 4 Theatre Workshop 5:30 PM
    • WedOct25 US Basketball Parent Meeting 6:00 PMLyman
    • FriOct27 NO CLASSES for Pre-Primary & Primary (Parent Conferences)
    • FriOct27 US Basketball Begins
    • SatOct28 ISEE Testing for Prospective Students
    • TueOct31 Halloween
    • TueOct31 Primary Halloween Parade 2:00 PM
  • November 2017
    • WedNov01 Alumnae/Senior Class Dinner 6:30 PM
    • ThuNov02 US Swimming Parent Meeting 6:00 PMLyman

Illustrious Past. Innovative Future.

A Strategic Roadmap for Laurel School 2017-2022

This roadmap articulates our goals and creates a framework for a dynamic process that allows us to be both intentional and responsive as we chart Laurel’s direction forward.

To view our comprehensive Strategic Roadmap brochure, click the square icon in the lower right corner in the box above.

To inspire each girl to fulfill her promise and to better the world.

Committed to building a just and inclusive world, Laurel girls are courageous, creative, ethical and compassionate.


Strategic Roadmap Highlights


At Laurel, innovation is our tradition. Since 1896, Laurel has given girls their voices, inspired them to discover their passions and spurred them to pursue ambitious goals with vigor. In an increasingly complex world that requires critical thinking, resilience, collaborative problem solving and cultural competence, the education we design empowers girls to thrive. Our all-girls’ identity remains relevant because we expect our graduates to be daring leaders, undaunted in a world where gender equity is not yet a given. Laurel girls, held to the highest personal and academic standards, develop and refine their talents, gaining confidence, skills and relationships that sustain them for the rest of their lives.


Laurel School will deliver a powerful education built on the application of skills, the interdependence of concepts and the importance of self-advocacy. As always, Laurel girls learn to lead and to claim their voices.

The founders of Laurel wanted to give girls a competitive advantage in every aspect of their education. Foundational elements included:

leadership • problem solving • critical thinking • articulate speech •
eloquent writing • civic engagement

Now, to continue to equip Laurel girls with unparallelled opportunities, our contemporary approach also emphasizes:

resilience • creativity • entrepreneurship • collaboration •
flexibility • cultural competence

Our curricular tradition is research-based. Ten years ago, we began to develop original research and now Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls (LCRG) is a nationally-recognized resource for independent schools. LCRG conducts, disseminates and puts into practice research that connects exceptional academic outcomes with social and emotional well-being. The value of LCRG is central to each Laurel girl’s experience.

As our research shows, girls thrive when they are engaged in purposeful learning, inspired by great teaching and surrounded by a community invested in their success. Social and emotional well-being, purpose and personalized learning fuel our program and lead to great outcomes on standardized measures of achievement. Our curriculum balances technology-rich liberal arts rigor with large-scale opportunities to dive deeply into compelling initiatives. Two inspiring campuses—Lyman and Butler—will be reimagined to honor our illustrious past and drive our innovative future.

Strategy I: Girls and Learning

The highest standards of academic excellence will continue to inform our delivery of an innovative and purposeful education for girls.


  1. Place our nationally-recognized Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls (LCRG) at the heart of the Laurel experience for girls (Kindergarten - Grade Twelve), parents and faculty. What girls learn from LCRG programming will serve as a foundation for life beyond Laurel.

    • Design and sequence curricular units, beginning in Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, to increase impact of LCRG at Laurel.
    • Map and communicate existing LCRG programming to make visible the value added of LCRG at every grade level.
  2. Design and implement an innovative, comprehensive, progressive curriculum (academic, co-curricular and social-emotional) that will develop competencies to propel graduates into competitive colleges, evolving careers and a borderless world.

    • Weave the four themes of civic engagement, entrepreneurship, global studies and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) throughout the Kindergarten - Grade Twelve academic program.
    • Create and implement a schedule that promotes deep academic engagement, integration of disciplines, and development of individualized, self-directed learning at both campuses and in Northeast Ohio.
    • Make the Butler Campus central to experiential learning and environmental stewardship for every Laurel student. Time at Butler will challenge girls to apply concepts and to construct meaning through hands-on experiences that invite reflection, observation and application of skills—both with and without technology.
    • Cultivate empathy and respect for multiple points of view to build cultural competence.
    • Engage alumnae, parents and external partners to enhance the Laurel educational experience.
  3. Leverage leadership and invest in a dynamic, engaged and innovative faculty and staff.

    • Align compensation, benefits and professional development budgets to be comparable to a benchmarked cohort of independent schools.
    • Attract, retain, develop and sustain a talented and diverse faculty, whose pedagogy is shaped both by LCRG, as well as by lifelong curiosity about the evolving educational landscape.

Strategy II: Learning Environment

Laurel’s innovative and purposeful curriculum for Pre-Primary through Grade Twelve will come to life by reimagining space and facilities on both the Lyman and Butler Campuses to help girls learn best.


  1. Review and update existing Facilities Master Plan for Lyman Campus.
  2. Create a Facilities Master Plan for the Butler Campus.
  3. Optimize space on both campuses and prioritize needs for renovation, property acquisition and new construction to support our dynamic program.

Strategy III: Sustainability

Laurel will be intentional and strategic about both environmental and financial sustainability. We will foster fiscal stewardship and transparency.


  1. Complete a needs assessment that will lead to a compelling new capital campaign led by the Board of Trustees.
  2. Refine and develop systems that use data more intentionally to design strategy around enrollment, fundraising and staffing.
  3. Increase revenue in areas other than tuition.

Measuring Success: For the past several months, committees have actively designed and started to implement initiatives to meet the goals of the roadmap. Over the next five years, we will be deliberate about measuring our progress and communicating key milestones and accomplishments.


Download a printable pdf of the Strategic Roadmap brochure (6.4 MB).

Have feedback on the Strategic Roadmap? Send and email to

An All-Girls’ Independent College Preparatory School for Grades K-12 and Coed Pre-Primary
Lyman Campus Butler Campus

Laurel's Mission Statement:

To inspire each girl to
fulfill her promise and
to better the world. 


Pre-Primary and Primary
Open House

Saturday, January 6, 2018
9:00-11:00 a.m.
Lyman and Butler Campuses

More information and RSVP here


"Laurel transforms students into strong women through an exemplary education and an atmosphere built on growth." Caitlin Cronin '16

"During my time at Laurel, I developed the mental aspect of my tennis game -- staying focused and staying in every match. The support that I've gotten from my team and my coaches has really helped me to do that." Danielle Buchinsky '15

"Laurel encourages its girls to try things they think they can do, things they don't think they can do, and even things they never thought about doing." Jazlynn Baker '16

"Laurel is a place where almost every girl can find a home. The community here is extremely accepting and diverse, and every student has her own ideas and opinions that are valued by everyone."Rebecca Brichacek '16

"Confident, independent, open-minded, fearless. That's what comes to mind when I think of what Laurel has given to my daughters." Laurel Parent


“The greatest gift Laurel gave me was the gift of lifelong friendships with classmates, teachers and parents of classmates. We have a special bond based on our shared experiences.” 
Betsy Sweeney Backes ‘78

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