Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

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.

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.

An Inclusive and Equitable School Community

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, sexual orientation, or gender identity, 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.

The Path Forward

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.
With the assistance and support of the Laurel community—including trustees, leadership, staff, faculty, parents, students and alumnae—we now have a blueprint that will put us on a path to become an Anti-Racist School.

Grounded in growth and understanding, Anti-Racism at Laurel means identifying and eliminating practices, structures and policies that do not promote racial equity. This is The Path Forward.

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Meet the Co-Directors of DEIB

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  • 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.
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  • Candace Maiden

    Candace Maiden, Dean of Upper School Students 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, a Master in Teaching at Liberty University, and a graduate certificate in Diversity and Equity in the Workplace from University of South Florida Muma College of Business.
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Laurel's DEIB Curriculum

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  • 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
    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 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.
DEIB Student Groups

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  • 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--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 differences 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.
  • Asian Culture Society--Upper School

    The Asian Culture Society educates the school community about the diversity of customs, foods and daily life across the continent. Members try different cuisines, watch movies and shows from and about Asian countries, and promote cultural awareness.
DEIB Groups and Professional Development for Faculty/Staff

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  • 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.
  • DEIB Working for Equity

    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 inequities.
  • 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.
Affinity Groups for the Adult Community

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  • 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.
  • Black/African American Families

    This group is for parents of Laurel students who identify as Black and/or African-American. The purpose is to support Black/African American parents by creating a network with individuals with shared cultural identity, to hold space to discuss relevant topics as it relates to DEIB in the Laurel community and to encourage engagement in the Laurel community.
  • 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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  • On Gender

    Laurel School is proud of our long-standing tradition of raising up the voices of girls and women and educating our students to fulfill their promise and better the world. Within this environment, designed for the education of girls, we value and respect the safety of all members of our community, no matter their gender identity, and expect all our constituents to respect the school’s history, values and mission. Should a current Laurel student begin to question their gender identity and/or identify as other than female, we will continue to support that student as a member of the Laurel School community and work with their families to determine if Laurel continues to be the right setting for that student.
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Affinity Widget Test for BB

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  • Photo of Lauren Calig

    Lauren Calig 

    Director of Multi-Cultural Curriculum; Co-Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
  • Photo of Candace Maiden

    Candace Maiden 

    Co-Director of DEIB and Dean of Students
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