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Academics & Arts
Middle School (Grades 6-8)

Electives, Initiatives & Leadership


List of 3 items.

  • Immersion Weeks

    In the fall, winter, and spring, immersion experiences punctuate the Middle School curriculum with integrated, interdisciplinary, hands-on learning. Daily class schedules are reimagined for at least three days at a stretch, and students extend learning from multiple subjects as they run simulations, design and iterate new prototypes, or solve real-world problems with the skills and talents they have developed in discrete courses. The results are memorable and wondrous demonstrations of learning-by-doing plus presenting reflections and research findings through writing and working to make a difference.

    Examples include the Greek Olympics and Space Week (Sixth Grade), Cleveland Week and Engineering Week (Seventh Grade), and Nation Creation 1.0 and 2.0 (Eighth Grade).
  • Better the World

    Better the World is diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in action in the Middle School. Each grade, as well as each student, develops and conducts four or more projects that help early adolescents to meet Laurel’s mission–“to inspire each girl to fulfill her promise and better the world.” Better the World Projects are developed to help students recognize that their area of influence is all around them, and the time to learn-by-doing is now.

    Through a combination of research, expert interviews, reflection on aspects of one’s own identity, formal writing, fundraising efforts, networking with organizations, presentation skill development, and/or training in various fields, students acquire and apply new capacities to Better the World.
  • Elective Program

    Electives are one of the ways students at Laurel create unique learning paths. Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Graders are eligible to enroll in one elective per trimester. These ungraded courses are designed to inspire passions and build skills as well as, in some cases, to provide time for academic teams to prepare for competitions. Electives do not generally require homework, but some competitive teams (like Robotics and Speech & Debate) have practices outside of school hours.


Electives are one of the ways girls at Laurel can create unique learning paths in the Middle School. These ungraded courses are designed to inspire passions and build skills as well as, in some cases, to provide time for academic teams to prepare for competitions.

Following is a sample of the electives that have been offered in recent years:

List of 12 items.

  • Science Fair

    Do you love science and engineering? Join us to dive deep into the STEM topics you find most interesting and develop those passions and ideas into projects that you can present at the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair and beyond! Develop your critical questioning, experimental design and problem-solving skills, and build your abilities to work independently, present work to peers and adults, and boost your confidence!
  • Introduction to Chinese

    Welcome to the enchanting realm of Mandarin Chinese! Prepare to embark on an exhilarating journey into the world of ancient traditions, mystical characters, and mind-blowing language skills. Interested in taking Chinese in the Upper School? Or just interested in learning introductory elements of a new language? This elective is for you!
  • Creative Writing

    The Power of the Pen team will practice at lunch time and is for students who live to write! Creative writers in Seventh and Eighth Grades will use this time to brainstorm, pen, and edit creative pieces that will ready them for two or three Saturday Power of the Pen competitions. 

    (Seventh and Eighth Graders, only)
  • Amazing Makers

    Do you enjoy designing, inventing, and problem-solving with friends? Would you like to use a 3-D printer, laser cutter, prototyping materials or hand tools to bring your ideas to life? Would you be interested in making your own chocolate candy molds? Head to the Collaboratory to make amazing doodads and discoveries.
  • Laurel Leaves: Memory Makers

    Capture the essence of the yearly Middle School experience through captivating photographs, heartfelt quotations, and stylish layouts. Contribute to the full school yearbook, Laurel Leaves, end of year slideshows, and the Middle School Instagram account with your perspective on our community. From exhilarating sports events to the dazzling performances, class bonding, immersion experiences to Green & White competitions, let no cherished moment go unnoticed!
  • Junior Model UN

    Are you passionate about world issues? In this elective, you will learn how to use your voice to solve global challenges for the greater good at virtual interscholastic competition(s) for virtual Middle School Junior Model UN teams at John Carroll University this winter and spring. We will work with Upper School Model UN team members to learn more about how conferences run as well as to learn different skills like research and public speaking. Your enrollment is required for the first two trimesters.
  • Cardio Drumming

    Feel the beat! Cardio Drumming combines cardio exercise and drumming to the rhythm of your favorite tunes. It's a fun, fast-paced way to get your heart rate up, improve your rhythm, and move your body to music. Come experience something new and fun!
  • Imaginators Improv

    Step into a world of spontaneous laughter and limitless imagination. Unleash your quick wit, hone your comedic timing, and explore hilarious scenes on the spot. Join us for uproarious games, epic characters, and unforgettable performances. Get ready to improvise, dazzle, and bring the house down!
  • Robotics FIRST LEGO League Team

    FIRST® LEGO® League focuses on solving real-world problems such as food safety, recycling, energy, and more using STEM concepts, plus a big dose of fun. Teams design, build, and program a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot, then compete on a themed table-top playing field. Go, Science Sisters!
  • Money Matters

    In this financial literacy and entrepreneurship elective, you will learn how the world of money works! You’ll explore how to make money, how to save money, and how to spend money (wisely!). We’ll play simulation games that let you practice investing in the stock market. And if you have a great idea for a business, we’ll explore that, too!
  • Speech and Debate

    This course provides instruction and practice in the art of public speaking. Sharpen your communication and logic skills and learn how to build an effective argument by practicing speech and debate events. The various events cater to a variety of different interests—researching, writing, acting, and more! Enrollment in this elective is required of all Middle School Speech & Debate team members; team members will be expected to participate in at least one after-school practice per week in season (October through March). 
  • Yoga and Mindfulness

    Explore the age-old practice that helps connect the body and mind. Build flexibility, balance and strength, both mentally and physically. Learn lifelong strategies to decrease stress and increase focus while twisting and turning upside down.

Clubs and Co-Curriculars

List of 4 items.

  • Clubs in the Middle School

    • Board Games & Puzzles Club
    • Book Club
    • Coding Club
    • Doodling Club
    • Entrepreneurship Club
    • Honor Code Council*
    • Minecraft Club
    • Robotics Club
    • Rock Band
    • Sewing and Knitting Club
    • Ski Club
    • Student Government*
    • Voices Matter
    *indicates elected position
  • 6th Grade Co-Curriculars

    • Basketball
    • Field Hockey
    • Lacrosse
    • Mathematics Competitions
    • Grades 6-12 Musical
  • 7th and 8th Grade Co-Curriculars

    • Athletics (9 Teams)
    • CCIS Leadership Training
    • CCIS Socials
    • Mathematics Competitions
    • Grades 6-12 Musical
    • NEO Science and Engineering Fair
    • Power of the Pen
  • Technology and Computer Science

    • Digital Citizenship and Technology
    • Skills
    • Engineering and Design Challenges
    • Programming
    • Research Skills
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