On Wednesday, October 11 Laurel School hosted its first ever STEAM Inspiration event for Kindergarten through Grade Eight. More than 25 alumnae and parents all working within STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) visited the school to lead sessions that incorporated principles of STEAM as it related to their profession. The Chagrin Valley Times visited Laurel for the event and wrote a story featuring several highlights of this special event.
Bella Patel, Associate Director of the Primary School, said to the girls that "The 25 women volunteers are here to inspire you and show you the possibility of STEAM choices." Headmistress Ann V. Klotz was also included in the story, stating that "Women enter [into STEAM] but they don't stay, so it's not a pipeline problem. It's further down than we can address in a K-12 girls setting. So we turn our mind to how can we strengthen our women's network, include stories of struggle, opportunities for STEAM projects, and make them feel like they can make a difference."
Monica Shein '98 was one of the alums in attendance. As a nurse anesthetist, she showed Laurel students how to intubate dolls. "It's nice for girls to see women in the field of medicine. They see how women can be in any profession, and it's important for my daughter to see that I'm a mom and also have a career."
Saturday, October 21 marked the last day of Laurel's incredible tennis season where Rachel Buchinsky '20 and Priya Khadilkar '19 advanced to the state semifinals when they beat Hathaway Brown in a tiebreaker. The doubles team then advanced to the state championship game versus the #1 seeded HB team. Laurel came out swinging but ultimately lost. Congratulations to these state runner ups on an incredible tennis season! To read more click here to check out the Cleveland Jewish News's highlight of Rachel as their Player of the Week
Bethany Husni '18 was recently featured as a young entrepreneur on WCPN's The Sound of Ideas. During her interview Bethany discussed her dress company 31:25, which was born out of her desire to wear modest yet confidence-boosting clothing. Through Laurel School's Protégé Program, Bethany was able to turn her passion for sewing and fashion into a small business, selling custom clothing to family, friends and beyond. Through the Protégé Program Bethany also conducted an internship with Blush Boutique, which now carries her clothing. Click here to listen to the full interview.
Laurel School's seventh annual Sarah Lyman Day of Service, which took place on October 7, was recently highlighted on Cleveland.com. The article focused on the nearly 100 Laurel alumnae from across the country that participated in close to 300 hours of community service in Cleveland and seven other cities including Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Washington, D.C., New York City and Seattle.
Here in Cleveland, 20 Laurel alumnae and current students spent the morning at Ronald McDonald House cooking breakfasts for residents and planting tulip bulbs in the Tulip Sculpture Garden.
The day of service was named appropriately enough for Sarah E. Lyman, Laurel's headmistress from 1904-31. Click here to read the full story.
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. Click here to read more in Cleveland.com.
Congratulations to the golf team on a fantastic season!
ClevelandMagazine recently conducted a Q&A with Jessie Sun, STEAM Program Leader at Laurel School, focused on art and how it plays a vital role as part of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics). In the piece Jessie comments that at Laurel many girls saw themselves more as artists and didn't see themselves with a STEM future. But art and science really go hand in hand. Jessie states that, "A lot of art we see right now is driven because of science. We use art images to describe and simplify complicated schematic designs." Click here to read more.
Sarah Wilson, Director of Upper School and Laurel's Center for Research on Girls, was recently included in a Cleveland Magazine story focused on digital literacy and how schools are teaching it as a way for kids to become critical thinkers, collaborators and responsibly engaged.
In the article, Sarah discusses how Laurel "requires a four-year life skills guidance course that includes lessons on digital citizenship. Along with learning how to know whether digital sources are trustworthy, the school teaches what it means to be your best self online." She goes in to state that "We have a mantra. You’re a Laurel girl in and out of school and on the internet. You hear girls in social settings repeating that and reminding each other."
The article goes on to state that "As an all-girls school, various Laurel courses teach students about sexism and the unrealistic expectations the media places on women’s body images. For example, humanities teachers discuss how sexism and power dynamics are portrayed in the arts, history and literature."
Sarah is quoted again saying some students will "develop a passion for gender equity and carry that torch to do something influential on their college campuses and with their careers."
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."
You need only step into the north wing to sense the bustling energy of budding scientists, artists, writers and thinkers diving deep into their learning. The Middle School experience at Laurel is inspired by the work of our Center for Research on Girls on how girls learn best. Experiential learning balances time-honored traditions, and strategies are tailored to each girl as she finds and develops her voice.
Girls learn by doing. They create and conduct experiments in science, they build and draw models to visualize concepts in math, they memorize and act out scenes from Shakespearean plays, and they investigate and debate constitutional issues. Research about the power of authentic, project-based learning has led us to teach design thinking; in our new Collaboratory for hands-on prototyping girls combine habits of mind from each STEAM discipline: Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math.
We know girls love choice, so programs in the Middle School are individualized. Each girl advances at her own pace in math, some accelerating to Geometry or Algebra II by Eighth Grade. Girls elect Spanish, Chinese or French, speaking in the target language during class and reaching Level III by Upper School. In Seventh Grade, girls ready for more intellectual rigor add Latin, too. Our One-to-One Technology Program supports each girl’s learning, and girls intrigued by programming tinker with computer game design during electives or in their free time.
Laurel girls rise to creative challenges. Many girls represent Laurel in off-campus competitions in science, global issues, math and writing. Girls choreograph and perform dances; they compose and sing songs; they strive on the fields and courts. Girls dream, dare and do every day in Laurel’s Middle School!
We would love to share more of our interdisciplinary program built on Laurel’s longstanding traditions of excellence and innovation. We hope you will visit soon to see for yourself all that Laurel has to offer each girl!
Through a comprehensive, integrated language arts program, Laurel girls become independent, fluent readers and writers. Students read a variety of genres and learn vocabulary, reading strategies and new perspectives. Laurel girls grow from seeing their own experiences reflected in the material they read. Through a context-rich approach in which they learn to identify patterns, they develop language skills for oral and written communication. They learn to communicate effectively and to practice the research process while making connections with other coursework. Students assess their writing through self-evaluation and peer and teacher feedback.
Laurel’s social studies program prepares students to become responsible and productive citizens. Through our integrated, engaging curriculum, girls deepen their understanding of the world and apply their knowledge and skills to make effective personal and public decisions. They learn to think independently, conduct research, write effectively and express themselves orally through dynamic lessons that address students’ learning styles.
Mathematics is integral to functioning efficiently and effectively in today’s society. We value the purposeful use of mathematical resources in decision-making and celebrate the beauty of thoughtful mathematical procedures. Laurel teachers facilitate individual and collaborative investigations in which they require students to construct their own mathematical knowledge. Participation in this journey refines students’ computational, manipulative, problem-solving and criticalthinking skills.
The Laurel School science department seeks to provide every girl with the tools to courageously explore the physical world and to become an ethical, compassionate contributor to it. We believe that hands-on experimentation and teamwork are essential to girls studying science. Our students achieve success in thinking critically, solving problems creatively and articulating their ideas and findings to others. Studies in Fifth and Sixth Grade are thoughtfully integrated with units in other disciplines such as English, math, and social studies while Seventh and Eighth Grade courses serve as introductions to the fields of earth science, chemistry and physics.
Studying languages in Grades K through 8 creates a solid foundation for children to become lifelong language learners. Teaching is done almost entirely in the target language to provide students with an immersion-style experience. Our goal is for students to develop a sense of confidence in their own abilities, to function in the target language and to genuinely enjoy language learning. Exposure to different languages and cultures broadens girls’ worldviews, enhances their sense of empathy and promotes curiosity about the world.
Art is a language of expression and communication. It involves discovering ideas and transforming them into visual form. This process is nurtured through exposure to diverse examples of art (in our own and in other cultures) and through repeated opportunities to work with a variety of art media and techniques. The visual arts involve developing the ability to look analytically, while offering an exploration of varied materials and processes. Working in the visual arts engenders the development of many positive habits of mind, not the least of which are perseverance, taking risks, and willingness to explore options and embrace revision as a part of the process.
In a classroom community, students learn to take risks as they explore their creativity. They engage in exercises that develop basic skills in each art form. As girls move through the performing arts curriculum, they grow from practicing the skills to using the skills in varying forms of self-expression. A cumulative curriculum allows students to build on previously mastered skills and to take each art form to the next level. Emphasis is placed on a creative, engaging process that leads directly to a final product.
The P.E. program is designed to help girls attain a basic understanding about the body and its capabilities and limitations in movement. Through a variety of activities, students explore movement and develop spatial awareness. Girls are encouraged to understand their personal strength and to cooperate with others. As the girls progress through Middle School, basic skills, knowledge of sports, physical activities, fitness and game play are emphasized.
"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