At Laurel School, the fulfillment of our mission: “To inspire each girl to fulfill her promise and to better the world” requires that we respect and fully honor each member of our community.

Our mission, along with our values—“Committed to building a just and inclusive world, Laurel girls are courageous, creative, ethical and compassionate.”—guide our efforts to become an Anti-Racist school.

We know our school community is enriched by the wide variety of experiences and perspectives of all constituencies—students, faculty, parents/guardians and staff.
A K-12 school for girls with a coed Pre-Primary, Laurel School is proud to be an inclusive and equitable school community. We are committed to creating a school community in which every student, regardless of race, faith, socio-economic status, culture, national origin, or sexual orientation feels safe, valued and respected. Additionally, our commitment to attracting a diverse faculty and staff means we actively seek faculty and staff members without regard to these identifiers.

DEIB at Laurel serves as a resource to the community for training, social and cultural programming and inclusive educational approaches. We strive to promote equity and justice.

Anti-Racist Task Force

After the murder of George Floyd in June 2020, the Board of Trustees and Head of School formed an Anti-Racist Task Force. Erica Merritt of the Equius Group will work with our Anti-Racist Task Force during the 2020-21 school year. Members of the task force include:

  • April Hawkins ’83, Chair of the Task Force, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • Lynnette Jackson Crenshaw ’93, Chair of the Board of Trustees
  • Laurence Talley, Chair of the Audit Committee, Parent ’24
  • Eliza Hatch Saada ’84, Chair of the DEI Committee of the Board of Trustees, Parent ‘16
  • Nichelle Dickerson Shaw ’86, Member of the Alumnae Board, Chair of the Alumnae of Color Committee, Parent ’16
  • Ann V. Klotz, Head of School
  • Kimberley Berndt, Director of the Upper School
  • Candace Maiden, Co-Director of DEIB, Faculty, Parent ‘35
  • Lauren Calig, Co-Director of DEIB
  • Bill Rice, Faculty
  • Patricia Harpring, Faculty, Parent ’31, ’34
  • Elen Roberts, Faculty, Parent ’36
  • Ajah Hale ’18, Alumna
  • Ashli Pratt ’18, Alumna
  • Kendal Harris ’21, Diversity Fellows Co-President, Student
  • Ria Raj ’21, Diversity Fellows Co-President, Student

Meet the Co-Directors of DEIB

 

List of 2 items.

  • Lauren Calig

    Lauren Calig, Director of Multicultural Curriculum and Co-Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, holds a graduate certificate in Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusion from the University of Colorado’s Matrix Center and a Master’s Degree in Teaching from the University of Pittsburgh.

    Mrs. Calig has published articles in DiversityIS, Independent School Magazine, Your Child, and WellSchooled and has presented at The White Privilege Conference, National Association of Independent Schools, and the National Coalition of Girls' Schools. She is a facilitator for discussions about diversity, equity, inclusion, parenting and race.
  • Candace Maiden

    Candace Maiden, Learning Enhancement Coordinator for K-Grade 8 and Co-Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, earned a B.A. from The Ohio State University, an M.A. in Counseling at Dallas Baptist University, and a Master in Teaching at Liberty University.

    After three years of teaching at Laurel, Ms. Maiden was the recipient of The Virginia Beidler Neff Award in 2020. Candace is the facilitator for Linked@Laurel, an affinity group for BIPOC students, a member of the Anti-Racist Task Force, the coach for the Seventh and Eighth Grade basketball team, and is the proud mother of a Laurel Preschooler.

Laurel's DEIB Curriculum

List of 4 items.

  • Pre-Primary (Early Learners-Prekindergarten)

    Children have a DEIB Curriculum that is taught monthly by a co-director of DEIB. The following topics are discussed through books and activities in a developmentally appropriate way: human rights, social identity, social justice, race, racism/anti-racism, gender, religion, ableism and socioeconomics. By introducing these topics in Pre-Primary, we normalize conversations about difference and diversity that children will continue to learn more about as they grow.
  • Primary School (Kindergarten-Grade 4)

    In the context of classroom discussions, literature and theme studies teachers, Primary School students continue to examine human rights, social identity, social justice, race, racism/anti-racism, gender, religion, ableism and socioeconomics with their homeroom teachers.
  • Middle School (Grades 5-8)

    Beginning in 2019, we introduced a monthly meeting for each Middle School grade with our DEIB co-directors. Current issues and aspects of identity formation make up the curriculum. Girls learn to define terms like equity and grapple with questions such as: What is fair? Can something be equal and not fair? What is Hate Speech? What should I do if I hear Hate Speech? How can I be an Upstander? During the discussions, girls can ask questions with their peers or anonymously about topics that focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
  • Upper School (Grades 9-12)

    Beginning in the Fall 2020, students Grades 9-12 take a year-long DEIB class called Perspectives throughout each of their four years in Laurel’s Upper School. The Perspectives class looks at diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging with a global lens. It asks girls to recognize how and why they have certain beliefs and then asks them to be open to learn about others who do not. Topics of discussion include but are not limited to identity, intersectionality, implicit bias, race, racism and gentrification.

    Facing History and Ourselves
    Facing History and Ourselves (FHAO) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of civil and human rights abuses and genocide through education. Laurel has been deeply involved in FHAO since 2008. In 2016, we became part of the Northeastern Ohio network of FHAO schools, giving us access to more shared professional opportunities for our faculty. Laurel is a partner school in the Facing History Innovative Schools Network as well as the Northeast Ohio network and the FHAO curriculum is woven into Grades 7-12.

    Facing History curricula, pedagogy and scope and sequence lives in several classes in the Upper School: English 12: Human Spaces, From Harlem to Hip Hop, Genocide, South Africa, and Political Protest and the Quest for Human Rights. Laurel’s Upper School FHAO Student Leaders work with students from other FHAO schools from all over Greater Cleveland to engage in Facing History curricula. Laurel’s FHAO student leaders will also be working with the Diversity Fellows (see  below) to implement programming at Laurel that braids FHAO work with DEIB initiatives.


    An audit of the entire curriculum continues, Preschool-Grade 12, for opportunities to elevate Black and Brown narratives.

DEIB Student Groups

List of 10 items.

  • Linked@Laurel--Primary and Middle Schools

    Established in 2013, Linked@Laurel, an affinity group that promotes cultural awareness for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color) at Laurel, provides a supportive and welcoming space in which girls spend time with other girls and teachers who share their racial identity. Students may discuss and explore books and share stories about their experiences, hobbies, families and cultures. Research suggests such groups are essential for young children in strengthening racial identity when they are in the minority of a school population. Participating in Linked@Laurel is a choice each girl makes for herself with input from her family.
  • Diversity Fellows Book Club--Middle School

    The Upper School Diversity Fellows select books over the course of the year to read and discuss with interested Middle School students.
  • Common Ground Discussions--Upper School

    These conversations, facilitated by our Diversity Fellows (see below), use LCRG civil discourse parameters to discuss current events. Topics are generated by the students themselves and participation is voluntary.
  • Diversity Fellows--Upper School

    This leadership opportunity is open to rising Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Grade students. The application process involves completing an online document and an interview. True to the definition of diversity, “A range of different things, a variety,” our Diversity Fellows represent the many voices, ideas and faces of Laurel School. Students who apply to be Diversity Fellows come from our entire community; participation is open not only to conservative or liberal, religious or nonreligious. All voices can find a place in this important work. As Diversity Fellows, students actively engage in the work of equity, social justice and inclusion; develop leadership skills; and apply those skills both within and outside of the Laurel community.
  • Prism--Upper School

    This group’s mission is to provide acceptance of LGBT+ and respect for difference in identity, orientation and presentation and to raise awareness and support for LGBT+ issues.
  • Black Student Union (BSU)--Upper School

    The BSU’s mission is to promote discussion and dialogue between all students at Laurel. We hope to create a safe space for all BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color) and to discuss nationwide current events, historical events, and any contemporary issues within our school regarding the Black community.
  • ACLU Laurel Chapter--Upper School

    The Laurel Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union’s mission is to aid in maintaining and extending constitutional and other fundamental rights, liberties, privileges, and immunities, and to take all legitimate action in furtherance of that object without political partisanship.
  • Poverty In Perspective--Upper School

    Poverty In Perspective is a group whose mission is to educate girls on poverty globally and domestically, as well as to take initiative in helping solve this worldwide epidemic.
  • Girls for the Globe--Upper School

    This group’s mission is to create a community of environmental and climate change awareness through meaningful environmental projects and activities.
  • MIX--Upper School

    The mission of MIX is to provide opportunities for students to gather together with other students who identify as: multi or mixed-culture, race, religion, third culture, first generation American, adopted, in between identities, just feel like the boxes society uses to define have never fit comfortably.

DEIB Groups and Professional Development for Faculty/Staff

List of 4 items.

  • BIPOC Affinity Group

    The BIPOC Affinity Group is designed to provide opportunities for BIPOC faculty/staff to connect with their colleagues who share aspects of their racial identity. This group is especially important in situations in which aspects of their identity are in the minority or are marginalized.
  • White Ally Group

    This group educates to empower and equip individuals to work for equity and justice through self and social transformation. Sessions and conversations heavily focus on how to challenge and dismantle individual and systemic white privilege.
  • Restorative Justice

    Restorative Justice has long been a framework to support challenging and nuanced conversations in a school community around race or other social justice issues. One goal of Restorative Justice is to train faculty to give students language and space to repair the community when damage has been done. Working with Social Worker and Restorative Justice trainer Amanda Polster, faculty and staff are being trained in Restorative Justice as part of Laurel’s community healing process.
  • Anti-Racist Professional Development

    As a community we are working to become an Anti-Racist school. To complete this work, Laurel has partnered with Erica Merritt, Founder of Equius Group. Erica started her work with Laurel’s faculty and staff in August of 2020 focusing on Macroaggressions and Microaggressions. In the coming months, she will work with Laurel’s Anti-Racist Task Force, faculty, staff and students in order for Laurel to become and Anti-Racist institution.

Affinity Groups for the Adult Community

List of 5 items.

  • About

    Laurel offers a number of affinity groups for parents and guardians in the Laurel community. Each group is opt-in and has a Laurel faculty/staff member who is the school contact person.

    Following are the groups offered for the 2020-2021 school year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, groups will meet in a virtual space via Zoom. For current Laurel parents, please log into MyLaurel for meeting dates and to register.
  • Families Formed Through Adoption

    Facilitated by Dr. Lisa Damour, this is a long-running meeting group at Laurel where parents who have adopted children convene to share experiences and chat about childhood development.
  • Intersections: A Schoolwide Parent Discussion Group for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Topics

    Discussions in this group will allow us to have a better understanding of each other as individuals and learn how we come together with our own identities and commonalities.
  • Laurel Financial Aid Group

    An affinity group for families whose daughters are attending Laurel School with financial assistance awarded by the school. We know there are benefits to providing space for families to talk candidly with one another about independent school culture. The group’s goal is to ensure every Laurel girl experiences Laurel to its fullest, with as few barriers as possible.
  • Laurel Men’s Group: Discussion Group for Men in the Laurel Community

    Join other men in the Laurel community—dads, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles, much older brothers, faculty, staff—for a monthly discussion group. The goal of the group is to create a safe space for men in the Laurel community to learn from each other through open and honest dialogue.
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