Alumnae Calendar

The Cleveland Jewish News recently spoke with Leighann DeLorenzo Laurel's Upper School theater director, who began teaching a Testimony Theater course this semester after visiting Israel in January 2016. In Testimony Theater, survivors of the Holocaust are paired with young people, and the survivors tell their stories. The students then write the stories in a theatrical framework and perform an original theater piece based off the story. On May 4 the 12 students enrolled in Testimony Theater performed the stories of three survivors for a full house. Leighann was quoted in the story saying, “As we move forward as a community, it’s also about extending that lens forward into the now, into the present, whether that has to do with the current refugee crisis, civil rights, equal rights, any other movement where we’re really talking about people that are marginalized." She said having her students learn the stories of these survivors was an important part of their education. “We can really use these painful stories of yesterday that are also incredibly inspiring and really they can be transformative for our students today and turn them into the upstanders they should be and inspire them in their education at Laurel." Click here to read the full article. 

Playhouse Square announced its Dazzle Awards nominees on April 28 and we are excited to share that Nora Hyman '17 received a John and Patricia Chapman Best Actress nomination for her role as 'Audrey' in Laurel's production of Little Shop of Horrors! The Playhouse Square website states that "The Dazzle Awards aim to inspire and honor excellence in high school musical theater, and to recognize the importance of musical theater and arts education within the Northeast Ohio community. A panel of adjudicators attend one production at each participating school, provide educational feedback on the official evaluation form and determine nominees and awards for participating schools. This regional program culminates at the Connor Palace with the Dazzle Awards, modeled after the Tony Awards®, to recognize outstanding musical theater productions and students. The winners in the Best Actor and Best Actress category will have the opportunity to participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City." The Dazzle Award winners will be announced on May 20, 2017. The grand prize winners in The John and Patricia Chapman Best Actor and Best Actress categories will go on to represent Northeast Ohio at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as “The Jimmys,” in New York City, presented by The Broadway League.   

Laurel School's Annella Fernandez '17 is being recognized by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Cleveland (NAMI GC) for her efforts to raise awareness of mental illness among her peer group. Annella will receive the Mental Health Teen Award on May 5 during the NAMI GC Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony. The Awards Ceremony will honor outstanding achievement in promoting and providing mental health services for individuals, families and organizations in the year 2016. Naturally drawn to the study of psychology, Annella has spent time shadowing a pediatric psychologist. In 2016 she wrote What I Learned and What You Need to Know: A Brief Introduction to Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents, a collection of vignettes about the patient cases she shadowed along with factual information about the mental health diagnoses. Congratulations to Annella!

Laurel Headmistress Ann V. Klotz recently lent her voice for NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) Member Voices, a new podcast series about the individuals who make up the independent school community. Each Podcast features a discussion with a different staff member at an NAIS-member school about his or her role, challenges, successes, inspiration sources and more. Ms. Klotz was one of the first to launch in the series, which has been very well received within the independent school community. Click here to listen to Ann’s podcast on leadership, empowering girls and the ways in which the Center for Research on Girls fuels our practice at Laurel. 

Laurel School alum Marne Levine '88 was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article highlighting her role as chief operating officer for Instagram. Ms. Levine, a former White House official, arrived in the Silicon Valley in 2015 and "has been helping Instagram mature into a full-fledged business." The article quotes Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder and chief executive, who calls Ms. Levine "'an efficiency guru' who has helped the app avoid some of the pitfalls of rapid growth."

Prior to joining Instagram, Ms. Levine served as vice president of global public policy for Facebook, where she "grew the policy team, which manages Facebook’s relationship with governments and responds to privacy laws and regulation, from fewer than a dozen people to more than a hundred." The article goes on to state that "once Ms. Levine moved over to Instagram at the beginning of 2015, she dove in with the creation of a formal budget, giving the company a comprehensive view of its spending for the first time. She also pushed to expand the Instagram partnerships team, which manages the app’s relationship with public figures, publishers and others to ensure that they continued to flock to Instagram. She helped hire influential figures such as Eva Chen, former editor of Lucky magazine, to oversee its fashion ties, and Lauren Wirtzer-Seawood, who led Beyonce’s digital strategy, to run music partnerships."

The article details Ms. Levine's path to success at Instagram. Click here to read the full story. 

Northeast Ohio Parent published an article in April highlighting "Ways Kids in Northeast Ohio are Learning to Help the Environment." The story highlights various local organizations that are working to preserve our environment with the support of kids. Laurel's Outdoor Pre-Primary School, which educates students age 3-5 outside year-round regardless of the weather, is detailed in the article. The piece focuses on how students develop an immense respect for living things, learn about habitats and ecosystems, and develop a stewardship and understanding of environmental responsibility through composting and recycling.

Audrey Elszasz, Outdoor Pre-Primary teacher and Outdoor Education Specialist at Laurel, is quoted in the story saying “above all, they learn to understand the human impact on the Earth and discover how we can interact with nature and do no harm. These students develop such a love for the planet and learn to think about how to always do right by it.”

Laurel parent Rebecca Coley says her daughter’s experiences with the program include “hiking to base camp and traversing down challenging terrain, being independent and excited to put on her gear and get muddy, catching salamanders with her bare hands, and investigating animal tracks.”

 

Laurel School was pleased to host Frank Bruni, New York Times Op-Ed columnist and author, on April 6. Mr. Bruni spoke to Laurel parents, faculty, staff, trustees and local alumnae on the college admissions mania and how where you go to college does not define you. The talk, based on his best-selling book, Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, was a lively one attended by more than 250 people. 

Your Teen Magazine had a chance to speak with Mr. Bruni prior to his talk at Laurel and the resulting Q&A, titled How to Pick a College And Other Great Advice from Author Frank Bruni, which highlights the bias of early decision, recent changes in financial aid, open-mindedness and more. In this Q&A, Mr. Bruni states that "Education is about so very much more than the onramp to college or than college itself. It’s an ongoing, all-encompassing, lifelong thing."  

Currents also highlighted the talk in their May 18 issue in an article titled, "Frank Bruni Works to Dispel Myths About College Admissions Process."

Laurel Eighth Grader Isabella (Izzy) A. '21 competed in the 2017 Ohio K-12 Chinese Speech and Essay Contest on April 8, 2017 at Cleveland State University. This annual competition is held for elementary, middle and high school students from Ohio. During the competition, students compete by either composing an essay or giving a speech in Chinese on a selected topic. The contestants are judged by experienced Chinese language teachers, and prizes are awarded during a ceremony at the end of the contests. Izzy competed among 22 students in the intermediate level for Grades 6-8 and placed second in her category! Congratulations to Izzy on this well-earned honor.  

 

A recent EdSurge article titled "What Would Happen if Learning in School Became More Like Working at a Startup?" highlights the abundance of startup and entrepreneurial programs springing up in and around K-12 schools across the country. The article states that "Successful students, like startups, are those who are resilient, constantly absorbing new information and challenging their assumptions. What’s more, an entrepreneurial culture, carefully scaffolded, can help schools transform and unlock learning in ways that more traditional coursework cannot."

Laurel physics teacher Taylor Kaar, who also serves as Director of Entrepreneurship, is included in the story, which highlights both the Capstone Experience and the Veale Venture Challenge, two entrepreneurship programs offered to Laurel Upper School students. Taylor is quoted saying, “At Laurel School, we know that being an entrepreneur is a mindset, one that requires resiliency, problem solving, and passion. These are skills and traits that we feel are universally desirable today, and we know that the skills a girl learns at Laurel School’s entrepreneurship offerings will be transferable to any field.”

Covering four years, the entrepreneurship category of the Capstone Program asks high school students to lead and drive their own learning. The Veale Venture Challenge, through a series of steps—including the development of a business plan and a presentation to investors—aims to help students start a business while they are still in the school.

Laurel students Grace Murphy '17 and Henley Schulz '18 recently earned National Silver Medals in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Grace and Henley have been identified by panels of creative professionals as the most talented young artists and writers in the nation. This year's contest attracted more than 330,000 works of art and writing. Of these, only the top one percent were recognized at the national level.

Grace received a National Silver Medal for her earrings, titled Squiral. Henley was awarded a National Silver Medal in the Photography category for her color photograph titled Surrounded. Congratulations to Grace and Henley for their incredible achievements! 

  • May 2017
    • FriMay26 After School at Laurel Classes End
    • FriMay26 MS Green and White Day
    • FriMay26 US May Term
    • FriMay26 LSPA Volunteer Thank You Morning 8:15 AM to 9:30 AM
    • FriMay26 CCIS Grade 8 Promotion Dance 8:00 PM to 10:15 PM
    • SatMay27 MS Homework-Free Weekend
    • SatMay27 Ramadan Begins
    • MonMay29 Dream Week
    • MonMay29 Memorial Day: NO CLASSES - BUILDING CLOSED
    • TueMay30 US May Term
    • WedMay31 After School Supervised Play and MS Den End
    • WedMay31 US May Term
    • WedMay31 Primary Gator Day 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
  • June 2017
    • ThuJun01 US May Term
    • ThuJun01 Pre-Primary Early Dismissal (Last Day of Classes) 11:30 AM

The History of Laurel School

History of Laurel School | photo of front of building

The Early Years

In 1896, Jennie Prentiss established a school for young girls in her Cleveland home. After several years of increasing enrollment and changes in location to accommodate that growth, the school acquired its name - first Laurel Institute, then later Laurel School - because of the ancient Greek symbol of a wreath of laurel leaves, which signified intellectual achievement.

The arrival of Sarah E. Lyman as Headmistress, just after the turn of the 20th century, initiated a new phase in the development of Laurel School. The student body continued to expand under the leadership of Sarah Lyman, and she oversaw the construction of a large brick building on Euclid Avenue.

In the late 1920s as her students' families moved to the eastern suburbs, she secured property in Shaker Heights and built the impressive Tudor-style building that is Laurel’s current Lyman Campus.

During her leadership the “Alma Mater” and “Grace” were written, and the alumnae Christmas Luncheon was born, a tradition that still stands today. She left as her legacy a secure, established, thriving and academically rigorous school for girls that possessed a national reputation for excellence.

Taking the helm in 1931, Miss Edna F. Lake instituted the community service requirement and guided Laurel during the Great Depression and World War II. The Carol Service, Senior Speech and Senior Play were established under her leadership, becoming beloved traditions.

Changing With the Times (1960s-1990s)

Daniel O. S. Jennings became Laurel’s first and only Headmaster and served for 15 years, during a period of tremendous social upheaval. He encouraged racial diversity, saw the end of the school’s boarding program and oversaw the construction of the Margaret A. Ireland Primary Building and the first science wing. Also during his headship, the Laurel School Parents Association (LSPA) was born.

Under his tenure, and that of his successor, Barbara Barnes, the school contemplated coeducation but after much thoughtful discussion, the Board of Trustees reaffirmed Laurel’s dedication to educating girls and young women. It was during Barbara Barnes' tenure that Laurel became the first girls’ day school in the country to establish a faculty chair for teaching excellence.

Leah Rhys became Headmistress in 1984, joining an institution that was thriving. She brought national attention to the school with a five-year joint research study conducted by Carol Gilligan and other Harvard University researchers. The Laurel/Harvard Study of girls’ learning styles resulted in the 1992 publication of Meeting at the Crossroads.

Peter Hutton was named Acting Head of School for a two-year term (1990-1992), during which he tackled a variety of projects. Hutton oversaw the construction of a new Primary wing, supervised discussions surrounding the Middle School renovation and reorganized administration.

Laurel Into the 21st Century (1990s-Today)

Helen Rowland Marter, became the ninth Head of School in 1992 and immediately oversaw the installation of the school’s computer network and technology labs. During her tenure, the school celebrated its Centennial with a year-long schedule of activities and published Educating the Independent Mind, a history of the school.

Marter was instrumental in expanding the school - both in enrollment and in physical size. Under her leadership, Laurel grew with three additions to the Lyman Campus as well as a purchase of 140 acres of land spanning Russell and Chester townships in Geauga County. This “Fairmount Campus” (now known as the Butler Campus in honor of a transformational gift from John and Alice Lehmann Butler '49 of Dubuque, Iowa) is located 20 minutes east of the Lyman Campus.

In July 2004, Laurel welcomed its tenth Head of School, Ann V. Klotz, who joined Laurel from The Chapin School in New York City. Committed to balance among academics, arts and athletics, she has focused increased attention on the social and emotional lives of girls. Initiatives include development of the Laurel School mission -- “to inspire each girl to fulfill her promise and to better the world” -- which fuels all Laurel does; establishment of Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, and participation as a founding member of the Online School for Girls. Under her energetic leadership, several new buildings have been added to the Butler Campus: the Conway Pavilion, the Magic Tree House, the 16,000-square-foot Butler Center for Fitness & Wellness and the yurt.

An All-Girls’ Independent College Preparatory School for Grades K-12 and Coed Pre-Primary
Lyman Campus Butler Campus
216.464.1441


Laurel's Mission Statement:


To inspire each girl to
fulfill her promise and
to better the world. 

 

All-School Open House

October 2017
exact date and time coming soon
Lyman Campus


"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

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