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About

Sustainability

To better the world, the Laurel School community is committed to promoting sustainable environmental practices through education and action. We believe being responsible in our use of the earth’s resources is the right thing to do. It is right for our students, our community, our global reach and our well-being.

Areas of Focus

List of 8 items.

  • Curriculum

    • As a school, we place importance on instructional programming about environmental sustainability. We possess a practical real-world curriculum that helps students of all ages explore and understand sustainable practices.
    • In our Early Childhood School, girls and boys participate in Eco!Wonder. This program allows children to explore and respect the natural world. Preschool and Prekindergarten end their year with an Eco!Wonder Celebration at the Butler Campus.
    • Kindergarten-Grade 2 girls spend Learning at Butler (LAB) days exploring nature and learning about the value of our environment. In Second Grade, students end the year focusing on water conservation during their Great Lakes study.
    • Third, Fourth, and Fifth Graders, who are housed at our Butler Campus, are daily engaged in work that supports sustainability as they take advantage of the place-based curriculum to explore connections between themselves and the natural world, understand their power as responsible stewards of outdoor spaces, and design possible solutions to the challenges posed by human dependence on limited natural resources. 
    • Sixth Graders in the Middle School explore themes of climate change and worldwide sustainability in their English and Social Studies classes through both fictional and nonfictional texts and are called on to consider sustainable building materials as part of their immersive Space Week experience, where they focus on designing a colony on Mars. Eighth Graders study Environmental Science during the full second semester and extend their lab skills into the field through water testing at the Butler and Lyman Campuses.
    • The Upper School offers AP Environmental Science as well as a variety of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) opportunities for girls, including scientific research work and science fair participation. Extracurricularly, girls can participate in LEAF, a club that works to educate the Laurel community on issues surrounding climate change, environmental justice and sustainable living. 
    • Our Environmental Justice program, which focuses on the intersection between environmental issues and social justice, teaches Upper School girls at Laurel and neighboring schools to seek sustainable solutions to real-world issues. 
    • For more detailed information, please refer to our divisional curriculum pages.
  • Recycling

    • We are committed to lowering our waste-landfill ratio. Our current recycling system reduces the amount of waste we send to the landfill by an average of 60%. We conduct all-school recycling challenges each year to help develop good habits and remind ourselves of its importance. We currently divert paper, paperboard, aluminum, glass, plastics and markers out of our landfill waste stream.
  • Composting

    • Laurel School is dedicated to food waste recycling and is conducting a composting program at both Lyman and Butler campuses. All lunch scraps are sent to Laurel's Butler composting facility which turns our waste into usable soil. Created in the 2023-2024 school year, Laurel School's in-house composting practices will divert pounds of waste from the landfill and create a sustainable learning platform for students.
    • Our Early Childhood Division composts snack waste in compost containers on the playground. The students are able to see the process and learn about decomposition first hand. Best of all, they are able to use the soil made from their waste in gardening projects.
  • Green Building

    • We proudly build “green”!
      • Our Butler Center for Fitness and Wellness is Certified Silver from the U. S. Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
      • The Third Floor of our Lyman Campus building was renovated with energy efficiency and green resources as tenets. It hosts motion-sensor lighting for energy savings, a reusable water bottle filling station and sustainable furnishings.
    • Our Lyman Campus building is close to 100 years old; at times, this can be a challenge when it comes to sustainability! However, in our Dream. Dare. Do. mentality, we are retrofitting our building to be as energy efficient as possible. Many of our spaces now possess motion-sensor lighting fixtures, energy-efficient windows, Energy Star appliances, LED lighting, and sustainable furnishings.
    • Thanks to our participation in two national “Green Cup Energy Challenges” our students, faculty and staff are well versed in energy saving actions such as efficient computer use, “unplugging” and turning off lights when leaving a room. When repairs are necessary, we make sustainable choices whenever possible.
  • Caring for our Building and Grounds

    We use safe, nontoxic and biodegradable cleaning products throughout our building and we use non-toxic lawn/garden products on our grounds to ensure our community members’ health and safety as well as the health of our local natural environment.
  • Paper

    • Being a school, paper is systemically a resource we use in large amounts. To help lower our impact on tree resources, we buy our paper from suppliers that practice sustainable growing and harvesting forestry services.
  • Food

    • AVI Foodsystems has been pioneering sustainable initiatives since our founding in 1960. We’ve always looked at ways to conserve and reduce unnecessary waste. In fact, that’s a philosophy that John Payiavlas, AVI’s founder and Chairman of The Board, was raised with and has practiced in his own business endeavors. Today, with more than 9,000 team members, we still integrate environmentally conscious practices in every facet of our operations. Each day we bring new ideas, concepts and know-how to our green goals.
    • At Our Dining Units
      • Converted from single-serve condiments to a bulk-serve program to save packaging and waste.
      • Shifted to pull-down napkin dispensers to reduce landfill waste.
      • Use recycled plates/containers, napkins and cups (hot and cold) when possible.
      • Removed tray liners at most of our locations.
      • Conserving energy by limiting preheating time for equipment, reducing lighting, utilizing exhaust fans only when necessary and more.
      • Reducing food waste with new production records and a stronger emphasis on batch cooking.
  • Green Parking Lot

    • In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we have dedicated one of our parking lots as a carpooling lot. Faculty, staff and student drivers who come to Laurel with more than one person in her/his car have a reserved space in this lot. It is our goal to reduce the numbers of cars being driven to Laurel each day.
Federal law requires all schools to inspect their buildings for asbestos-containing materials and to have a management plan in place for those materials found. In addition, we are also required to notify you in writing (once a year) that Laurel School has such a plan in place.
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