All-School Calendar
  • May 2017
    • MonMay22 Dare Week
    • MonMay22 Gator Golf - Laurel Athletic Booster Golf Outing Mayfield Country Club
    • MonMay22 Grade 7 Archaeology Dig Butler
    • MonMay22 US May Term

The Cleveland Jewish News recently spoke with Leighann DeLorenzo Laurel's Upper School theater director, who began teaching a Testimony Theater course this semester after visiting Israel in January 2016. In Testimony Theater, survivors of the Holocaust are paired with young people, and the survivors tell their stories. The students then write the stories in a theatrical framework and perform an original theater piece based off the story. On May 4 the 12 students enrolled in Testimony Theater performed the stories of three survivors for a full house. Leighann was quoted in the story saying, “As we move forward as a community, it’s also about extending that lens forward into the now, into the present, whether that has to do with the current refugee crisis, civil rights, equal rights, any other movement where we’re really talking about people that are marginalized." She said having her students learn the stories of these survivors was an important part of their education. “We can really use these painful stories of yesterday that are also incredibly inspiring and really they can be transformative for our students today and turn them into the upstanders they should be and inspire them in their education at Laurel." Click here to read the full article. 

Playhouse Square announced its Dazzle Awards nominees on April 28 and we are excited to share that Nora Hyman '17 received a John and Patricia Chapman Best Actress nomination for her role as 'Audrey' in Laurel's production of Little Shop of Horrors! The Playhouse Square website states that "The Dazzle Awards aim to inspire and honor excellence in high school musical theater, and to recognize the importance of musical theater and arts education within the Northeast Ohio community. A panel of adjudicators attend one production at each participating school, provide educational feedback on the official evaluation form and determine nominees and awards for participating schools. This regional program culminates at the Connor Palace with the Dazzle Awards, modeled after the Tony Awards®, to recognize outstanding musical theater productions and students. The winners in the Best Actor and Best Actress category will have the opportunity to participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City." The Dazzle Award winners will be announced on May 20, 2017. The grand prize winners in The John and Patricia Chapman Best Actor and Best Actress categories will go on to represent Northeast Ohio at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as “The Jimmys,” in New York City, presented by The Broadway League.   

Laurel School's Annella Fernandez '17 is being recognized by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Cleveland (NAMI GC) for her efforts to raise awareness of mental illness among her peer group. Annella will receive the Mental Health Teen Award on May 5 during the NAMI GC Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony. The Awards Ceremony will honor outstanding achievement in promoting and providing mental health services for individuals, families and organizations in the year 2016. Naturally drawn to the study of psychology, Annella has spent time shadowing a pediatric psychologist. In 2016 she wrote What I Learned and What You Need to Know: A Brief Introduction to Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents, a collection of vignettes about the patient cases she shadowed along with factual information about the mental health diagnoses. Congratulations to Annella!

Laurel Headmistress Ann V. Klotz recently lent her voice for NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) Member Voices, a new podcast series about the individuals who make up the independent school community. Each Podcast features a discussion with a different staff member at an NAIS-member school about his or her role, challenges, successes, inspiration sources and more. Ms. Klotz was one of the first to launch in the series, which has been very well received within the independent school community. Click here to listen to Ann’s podcast on leadership, empowering girls and the ways in which the Center for Research on Girls fuels our practice at Laurel. 

Laurel School alum Marne Levine '88 was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article highlighting her role as chief operating officer for Instagram. Ms. Levine, a former White House official, arrived in the Silicon Valley in 2015 and "has been helping Instagram mature into a full-fledged business." The article quotes Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder and chief executive, who calls Ms. Levine "'an efficiency guru' who has helped the app avoid some of the pitfalls of rapid growth."

Prior to joining Instagram, Ms. Levine served as vice president of global public policy for Facebook, where she "grew the policy team, which manages Facebook’s relationship with governments and responds to privacy laws and regulation, from fewer than a dozen people to more than a hundred." The article goes on to state that "once Ms. Levine moved over to Instagram at the beginning of 2015, she dove in with the creation of a formal budget, giving the company a comprehensive view of its spending for the first time. She also pushed to expand the Instagram partnerships team, which manages the app’s relationship with public figures, publishers and others to ensure that they continued to flock to Instagram. She helped hire influential figures such as Eva Chen, former editor of Lucky magazine, to oversee its fashion ties, and Lauren Wirtzer-Seawood, who led Beyonce’s digital strategy, to run music partnerships."

The article details Ms. Levine's path to success at Instagram. Click here to read the full story. 

Northeast Ohio Parent published an article in April highlighting "Ways Kids in Northeast Ohio are Learning to Help the Environment." The story highlights various local organizations that are working to preserve our environment with the support of kids. Laurel's Outdoor Pre-Primary School, which educates students age 3-5 outside year-round regardless of the weather, is detailed in the article. The piece focuses on how students develop an immense respect for living things, learn about habitats and ecosystems, and develop a stewardship and understanding of environmental responsibility through composting and recycling.

Audrey Elszasz, Outdoor Pre-Primary teacher and Outdoor Education Specialist at Laurel, is quoted in the story saying “above all, they learn to understand the human impact on the Earth and discover how we can interact with nature and do no harm. These students develop such a love for the planet and learn to think about how to always do right by it.”

Laurel parent Rebecca Coley says her daughter’s experiences with the program include “hiking to base camp and traversing down challenging terrain, being independent and excited to put on her gear and get muddy, catching salamanders with her bare hands, and investigating animal tracks.”


Laurel School was pleased to host Frank Bruni, New York Times Op-Ed columnist and author, on April 6. Mr. Bruni spoke to Laurel parents, faculty, staff, trustees and local alumnae on the college admissions mania and how where you go to college does not define you. The talk, based on his best-selling book, Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, was a lively one attended by more than 250 people. 

Your Teen Magazine had a chance to speak with Mr. Bruni prior to his talk at Laurel and the resulting Q&A, titled How to Pick a College And Other Great Advice from Author Frank Bruni, which highlights the bias of early decision, recent changes in financial aid, open-mindedness and more. In this Q&A, Mr. Bruni states that "Education is about so very much more than the onramp to college or than college itself. It’s an ongoing, all-encompassing, lifelong thing."  

Laurel Eighth Grader Isabella (Izzy) A. '21 competed in the 2017 Ohio K-12 Chinese Speech and Essay Contest on April 8, 2017 at Cleveland State University. This annual competition is held for elementary, middle and high school students from Ohio. During the competition, students compete by either composing an essay or giving a speech in Chinese on a selected topic. The contestants are judged by experienced Chinese language teachers, and prizes are awarded during a ceremony at the end of the contests. Izzy competed among 22 students in the intermediate level for Grades 6-8 and placed second in her category! Congratulations to Izzy on this well-earned honor.  


A recent EdSurge article titled "What Would Happen if Learning in School Became More Like Working at a Startup?" highlights the abundance of startup and entrepreneurial programs springing up in and around K-12 schools across the country. The article states that "Successful students, like startups, are those who are resilient, constantly absorbing new information and challenging their assumptions. What’s more, an entrepreneurial culture, carefully scaffolded, can help schools transform and unlock learning in ways that more traditional coursework cannot."

Laurel physics teacher Taylor Kaar, who also serves as Director of Entrepreneurship, is included in the story, which highlights both the Capstone Experience and the Veale Venture Challenge, two entrepreneurship programs offered to Laurel Upper School students. Taylor is quoted saying, “At Laurel School, we know that being an entrepreneur is a mindset, one that requires resiliency, problem solving, and passion. These are skills and traits that we feel are universally desirable today, and we know that the skills a girl learns at Laurel School’s entrepreneurship offerings will be transferable to any field.”

Covering four years, the entrepreneurship category of the Capstone Program asks high school students to lead and drive their own learning. The Veale Venture Challenge, through a series of steps—including the development of a business plan and a presentation to investors—aims to help students start a business while they are still in the school.

Laurel students Grace Murphy '17 and Henley Schulz '18 recently earned National Silver Medals in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Grace and Henley have been identified by panels of creative professionals as the most talented young artists and writers in the nation. This year's contest attracted more than 330,000 works of art and writing. Of these, only the top one percent were recognized at the national level.

Grace received a National Silver Medal for her earrings, titled Squiral. Henley was awarded a National Silver Medal in the Photography category for her color photograph titled Surrounded. Congratulations to Grace and Henley for their incredible achievements! 

  • May 2017
    • MonMay22 Dare Week
    • MonMay22 Gator Golf - Laurel Athletic Booster Golf Outing Mayfield Country Club
    • MonMay22 Grade 7 Archaeology Dig Butler
    • MonMay22 US May Term
    • TueMay23 Grade 7 Archaeology Dig Butler
    • TueMay23 US May Term
    • WedMay24 Grade 7 Archaeology Dig Butler
    • WedMay24 US May Term
    • WedMay24 Grade 9 Picnic for Class of 2021 and Families 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
    • ThuMay25 Grade 7 Archaeology Dig Butler
    • ThuMay25 US May Term
    • ThuMay25 Renaissance Faire Reception 5:30 PMLyman
    • ThuMay25 Grade 6 Shakespeare Play: "A Midsummer Night's Dream" 7:00 PMLyman
    • FriMay26 After School at Laurel Classes End

Capstone Experience

Mission of Capstone

Laurel School’s Capstone Experience, by design, will cultivate purpose, relationships and leadership using one of four lenses— Civic Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Global Studies, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics). Capstone Candidates will explore issues through guided research, intellectual discussion, relevant internships and purposeful travel. Using expert guidance from mentors and support from cohort peers, each Capstone Candidate will create a Research Focus based on her individual interests and agency. This innovative program provides committed, interested students with opportunities to approach real-world issues with interdisciplinary, experiential and community-based strategies while building mentor and peer relationships. In developing a sense of purpose, meaningful mentor and peer relationships, and skills of leadership, Capstone prepares a Laurel girl “to fulfill her promise and to better the world.”

The Four Capstone Categories

Civic Engagement
Through an interdisciplinary, experiential and community-based approach, Candidates in the Civic Engagement program will explore what it means to be an engaged citizen working to improve her community, her state, her nation and her world.

Through an interdisciplinary, experiential and community-based approach, Candidates in the Entrepreneurship category will experience the start of a new business initiative, the building and execution of an idea from the ground up and the risk of failure.

Global Studies
Through an interdisciplinary, experiential and community-based approach, Candidates in the Global Studies category will explore global issues by identifying and analyzing a multitude of perspectives, including one’s own and those of others.

Through an interdisciplinary, experiential and communitybased approach, Candidates in the STEAM category will explore many intersections of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in order to understand and to apply multi-disciplinary strategies to an endeavor.

Capstone Requirements Timeline

Ninth Grade

  • January of Ninth Grade: Complete the Capstone application.
  • February/March of Ninth Grade: Selections of Capstone Candidates announced
  • March of Ninth Grade: Each cohort begins to meet bi-weekly for student-led discussions.
  • MayTerm of Ninth Grade: Cohort activities focusing on leadership skill development and peer bonding at Laurel’s Butler Campus and in Cleveland.

Tenth Grade

  • First Semester of Tenth Grade: Bi-weekly, student-led discussions in each cohort; planning for March cohort trips.
  • December of Tenth Grade: Students may exit or enter the program depending on what is best for individual students.
  • Second Semester of Tenth Grade: Bi-weekly, student-led discussions in each cohort; planning for March cohort trips. 
  • March of Tenth Grade: Student-planned cohort trips: Civic Engagement to Washington, D.C.; Entrepreneurship to San Francisco; Global Studies to New York City; STEAM to Chicago.
  • April of Tenth Grade: Using the lens of her Capstone category, each Candidate designs a Research Focus and is assigned a Capstone mentor.
  • MayTerm of Tenth Grade: Relevant Protégé Internship Project for each Candidate.

Eleventh Grade

  • Eleventh Grade Year: Each Candidate, guided by her mentor, works on her Research Focus; bi-weekly cohort meetings continue and serve as peer-review sessions for progress of each Research Focus.
  • Winter of Eleventh Grade: Each cohort works with a younger grade in the Middle or Primary Schools at Laurel in order to share knowledge and experience gained in Capstone. 
  • MayTerm of Eleventh Grade: Relevant Protégé Internship Project for each Candidate.
  • Summer of Eleventh Grade: Each Candidate works to complete a draft of her completed Research Focus (a paper or project).

Twelfth Grade

  • Fall of Twelfth Grade: No work on Capstone as the focus is on the college process—though a student’s Capstone Experience certainly could serve to highlight college applications.
  • January through March of Twelfth Grade: Candidates complete final draft of their Research Focus.
  • April and May of Twelfth Grade: Candidates make oral defense of Research Focus to mentor and Capstone committee.
  • Graduation: Capstone Candidates receive special designation at graduation, becoming Capstone Scholars.

Capstone Glossary

Capstone Candidate: a participant in Capstone
Capstone Scholar: a designation for completing Capstone received at graduation
Cohort: a small group of grade-level students in a particular Capstone category
Research Focus: a research-based paper or equivalent project designed by each Candidate with guidance from her mentor

Common Questions About Capstone

Click a question to reveal its answer.

What is the goal of Laurel School’s Capstone Experience?

While knowledge, research, and a level of expertise in one of the categories certainly will happen for a student, the goal of Laurel School’s Capstone Experience is to provide a greater sense of purpose as well as to develop skills of leadership, collaboration and relationship—qualities Laurel believes will serve a student for a lifetime in any endeavor.

Will it cost anything?

Yes. To participate in Capstone, a student’s family will pay $500 per year, which includes all components of the experience, including the trips.

Will financial aid be available?

Yes, for families who are eligible for financial aid from Laurel School.

Will it be graded?

No. A student will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis; grades will not be assigned.

Will all Upper School students be able to participate in Capstone?

No. Each cohort will accept a limited number of students.

Does a student need to have previously developed interests or experience in a Capstone category to be a good applicant?

No. While some students may have relevant prior experiences or interests, Capstone wants students who are curious and passionate about collaboratively exploring topics in experiential and interdisciplinary ways.

Will a student’s academic record be the only component of the admissions process?

No. The Capstone application process strives to identify students who want to develop leadership skills, relationship and collaboration skills, and some level of knowledge and expertise in a particular lens.

Will Capstone prevent a student from taking particular classes or from participating in sports or extracurricular activities?

No. Capstone will be scheduled to avoid as many academic and athletic/extracurricular commitments as possible.

Will Capstone prevent a student from participating in Laurel School’s Passport trips?

No. Many trip offerings certainly would serve the objectives of the Capstone program. While the Capstone cohort trips in the Tenth Grade will be covered by cost of the Capstone Experience, Passport trips offered through Laurel will not be covered by the $500 per year Capstone price.

Further questions about Laurel’s Capstone Experience?

Contact Trey Wilson, Director of Strategic Partnerships or 216-455-3019

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. 


All-School Open House

October 2017
exact date and time coming soon
Lyman Campus

"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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