All-School Calendar
  • January 2019
    • FriJan25 Middle School CTP-4 (ERB) Meeting 8:15 AM to 9:00 AM
    • SatJan26 Upper School Dance 8:00 PM to 11:00 PMLyman

The 2019 winners of the Scholastic Art & Writing Competition have recently been named by the Cleveland Institute of Art and 14 Laurel students received 16 honors in the visual arts and writing categories. Each year, the Alliance partners with more than 100 visual arts and literary arts organizations across the country to bring the Scholastic Awards to local communities. Open to students in Grades 7-12, applicants can submit in 29 different categories of art and writing.

Students submitted more than 350,000 works of art and writing in this year’s competition. Award-winning work best exemplifies originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Students receiving Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Visions & Voices Nominations are celebrated within their communities through local exhibitions and ceremonies. Congratulations to the following Laurel students who were recognized:


Gold Keys:

  • Celeste Bohan '19, Photography
  • Jordyn Goldstein '20, Painting
  • Linzy Malcolm '20, Photography (pictured, above left)

Silver Keys:

  • Caroline Abbey '19, Photography
  • Victoria Hagen '20, Photography (pictured, above right)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Caroline Abbey '19, Photography
  • Rachel Estafanous '19, Photography
  • Mei Hashimoto '20, Mixed Media
  • Erin Thomas ’22, Painting 


Gold Keys:

  • Melanie Nance '19, Poetry
  • Jacqueline Marshall '21, Poetry

Silver Key:

  • Olivia Savona '19, Critical Essay
  • Nadia Ibrahim '21 (awarded two Silver Keys), Poetry

Honorable Mention:

  • Emi Cummings '20, Personal Essay/Memoir
  • Nadia Ibrahim '21, Flash Fiction
  • Barbara Yang '21, Critical Essay 
Ria Desai '19 was recently featured as an unsung hero in the Chagrin Valley Times for her local volunteer work and bone density research, which she presented at a recent American College of Rheumatology conference. In the article Ria explains that when a serious car accident sidelined her tennis season, she "Started working more with an organization called The Up Side of Downs that offers Buddy Up Tennis clinics to children with Down Syndrome in Northeast Ohio. She also increased her hours volunteering with Inner City Tennis Clinics, a summer camp for Cleveland children that incorporates tennis, literacy, wellness, poetry and fitness." 
In addition, Ria launched a STEM-based research project utilizing her Dream. Dare. Do. (D3) period time that looked at the relationship between physical exertion and bone density in girls. She states that, "It came from my mom always telling me to drink milk because of bone issues and a lack of calcium. And then, though I wasn’t playing at the time, I was still an athlete, so I combined those two ideas and developed the project." Ria is now working on turning the project into a manuscript and hopes that it gets accepted into a journal and paper. She also hopes to expand the study to include more ages as well as boys. Click here to read the full story.
On October 10, several members of the Laurel community, including 12 alumnae, spent the afternoon with students in Grades K-8 leading activities focused on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The goal was to empower and spark entrepreneurial spirit in the students. Activities were designed by VentureLab and incorporated using the girls' resourcefulness, problem-solving skills and curiosity. Many of the activities focused on idea generation, creating a business model, design thinking and pitching. The Sun Press and Sun Messenger included a recap of this fun and engaging afternoon on their front pages.
Primary School teachers Shannon Lukz and Emily Felderman were both featured, along with several Grade Four students, in a recent Girls in STEM segment that aired on WKYC Channel 3. Shannon and Emily have been instrumental in designing and leading a month-long immersion learning unit at Laurel's Butler Campus called "Power & Purpose," which focuses heavily on science, math and the many components of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) learning. Throughout the unit students surveyed the land and created topography maps, tested the water quality of Griswald Creek, and learned all about the mechanics of a bike, which they used as their main mode of transportation for the month. WKYC visited Butler on the final day of the unit to capture the work of the students, who designed and built the "Adventure Rivulet Bridge," which is now in use at Butler. Click here to watch the full story.

Maggie Hilkert '19 was featured in Currents Magazine highlighting her love for finance, which she discovered through her participation in Laurel's Capstone Experience. In her Sophomore year, Maggie traveled to San Francisco and after meeting a Laurel alumna who is a venture capitalist, stated that, "She had the coolest job I ever saw. I loved talking to her. I was fascinated with her job and that helped me narrow that aspect of my project." As Maggie progressed with her Capstone Experience, she "interviewed venture capitalists around the country, shadowed Cleveland-area business owners, interned at an equity research firm, and decided to start an Investment Committee at Laurel." The article goes on to say that, "Earlier this month, Maggie moderated a panel of women in finance as part of Laurel's Day of the Girl celebration which, this year, had a theme of financial literacy." 

Click here to read the full story.

The Cleveland Jewish News has named Jami Morris '21 as its Player of the Week. Jami earned the honors after finishing in a tie for first place at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II state girls golf tournament October 12-13 at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Gray Course in Columbus. She shot a 73-74 for a total of 147, plus-7, tying for lowest score. In the article, Jami said she wasn’t surprised she performed so well in the tournament. "I think I worked extremely hard this past summer. I feel that all paid off and I hope to continue next year, and the year after, and hopefully in college. Except on the first day, I didn’t even think I was playing in the state tournament. Walking off the 18th green, I thought, 'I’m happy with how I played, I could have played better, but there’s always next year.'" 

Laurel golf coach Marti Hardy said she was impressed with Morris’s performance, but she wasn’t surprised. "I’ve watched her all along work hard to get where she has. I think the harder thing is, when you play at states, you’re not necessarily playing with the players that are scoring what you’ve been scoring the last day or so. It’s an unknown, they’re out there somewhere on the course playing. Maybe it’s a good thing that you don’t know, but I watched Jami just keep it all together really well and not doubt herself. I saw her hit two phenomenal shots that two golf pros who were near me said, 'she’s the real deal, she really knows how to play this game,' and it’s true."

Click here to read the full story.



Congratulations to these seven members of Laurel's class of 2019 who have received Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise, based on their Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test scores. More than 1.6 million juniors took the PSAT in 2017. Catherine Amaddio, Grace Cousens, Ria Desai, Meredith Hilkert, Cameron Kaye, Simran Surtani, and Daania Tahir all scored in the top 50,000 of those participants.

Early childhood education is just as rewarding for educators as it is for students. This was the theme in a recent Cleveland Jewish News article that featured interview excerpts from Laurel Prekindergarten teacher Kathryn Marshall. In the story Kathryn states that, "Children keep me in the moment and help me rediscover the joy of being in the moment. I get to have the same awe with children right there with them." She goes on to explain that she is "Always trying to find new, innovative ways to teach children. The sense of joy and wonder of living in the moment also translates into my life." Click here to read the full story, including the sage advice Kathryn would give her younger self.
Jami Morris '21, who competed in the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals in Augusta earlier this year, recently conducted a Q&A with Cleveland Magazine where she talked golf, fashion, the perfect miniature golf hole design and her hobbies off the golf course. Her story was featured in the magazine's Private School Special Section. When asked what her favorite golf attire is she replied "I have these crazy bright pink shorts. If I had 20 pairs, I would wear them every day. They brighten my game and encourage me to be the best golfer I can be." She also touched on equality in her interview, stating that "Women should be able to play with the men, on the same courses and with the same yardages. That would be a big step up for women's golf, and we will rise to the challenge." 

Click here to read her full interview.  

Jackson to work together with Ann V. Klotz and Board members to maintain the Laurel School Mission

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH – (August 22, 2018) Laurel School is pleased to announce Lynnette Jackson ’93 as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. Jackson, a Relationship Manager and Vice President at Key Private Bank, has been on the Board since 2012, most recently serving as Vice Chair. Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, Jackson held the role of Laurel Alumnae Board President from 2009-2012.

“It is both an honor and a privilege to serve in this role as Board Chair,” said Lynnette Jackson. “It is an opportunity to give back to my alma mater who, through academic rigor, enriching experiences and leadership opportunities, has inspired me and my family to dream, dare and do. As Laurel embarks on its 125th Birthday, the work of this Board will certainly shape the next 25-50 years of the school.”

In her Relationship Manager role at Key Private Bank, Jackson delivers integrated strategies and forward-thinking, objective advice to her clients. These skills will continue to serve her well in her new role as Board Chair where Jackson will work closely with Laurel Headmistress Ann V. Klotz and other Board members to continue to set and maintain a vision and strategy for the school. Together, they will ensure sound financial management, appropriate stewardship of resources, and accountability towards goals.

“I am so pleased to be working hand-in-hand with Lynnette and the entire Board of Trustees to continue living Laurel’s mission and building on our long-term vision,” said Ann V. Klotz, Laurel Headmistress. “The Board has been instrumental in the development of our Strategic Roadmap and it is an exciting time for us as we embark on our next goal. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.”

Other updates to the Board include Kristine Swails Bryan ’80, who has been named Vice Chair. Bryan is an Equity Research Consultant with Private Harbour Investment Management, LLC, and has been a member of the Board since 2015, most recently serving as Chair of the Investment Committee. Megan Lum Mehalko ’83, Chaundra King Monday ’95, and Suzanne Schulze Taylor ’81, have all been newly elected to the Board with three-year terms commencing June 2018.


Founded in 1896, Laurel School is a nationally recognized school for girls in Kindergarten through Grade 12, with a coeducational Pre-Primary School. Its mission is “to inspire each girl to fulfill her promise and to better the world.”




  • January 2019
    • FriJan25 Middle School CTP-4 (ERB) Meeting 8:15 AM to 9:00 AM
    • SatJan26 Upper School Dance 8:00 PM to 11:00 PMLyman
    • MonJan28 Parenting Your Adolescent Daughter (for MS Parents) 7:00 PMLyman
    • TueJan29 Middle School CTP-4 (ERBs)
    • WedJan30 Middle School CTP-4 (ERBs)
    • ThuJan31 Middle School CTP-4 (ERBs)
  • February 2019
    • SatFeb02 Groundhog Day
    • TueFeb05 Chinese New Year
    • WedFeb06 Global School Play Day
    • ThuFeb07 Upper School Parent/Advisor Conferences 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM
    • FriFeb08 Onee Bergfeld Lowe '82 Chapel 10:20 AMLyman


Strategy I: Girls and Learning
The highest standards of academic excellence will continue to inform our delivery of an innovative and purposeful education for girls. 

Strategy II: Learning Environment
Laurel’s innovative and purposeful curriculum for Pre-Primary through Grade Twelve will come to life by reimagining space and facilities on both the Lyman and Butler Campuses to help girls learn best.

Strategy III: Sustainability
Laurel will be intentional and strategic about both environmental and financial sustainability. We will foster fiscal stewardship and transparency.

For more information on the strategies -- including specific goals -- please click here for the complete Strategic Roadmap

Quarterly Updates


Girls and Learning [LCRG, Curriculum, Faculty and Staff]

Goal 1: Laurel's Center for Research on Girls
  • The October LCRG Community Forum topic was Civil Discourse: When Disagreement Cultivates Understanding. Led by Dr. Lisa Damour, Executive Director of LCRG; Sarah Wilson, Director of LCRG; and Dr. Tori Cordiano, Director of LCRG Research, attendees learned about: the six key building blocks of constructive dialogue; how Laurel School emphasizes these building blocks in its curricula and what adults can do at home to promote respectful, productive discussions of charged topics.
Goal 2: Innovative, comprehensive, progressive curriculum
  • Art peer review. In October, to finish Laurel’s peer review in STEAM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics were completed over the last 18 months), we welcomed six arts educators from outside of Cleveland to evaluate and provide feedback on our arts programming.
  • Finance 101: Spending, Saving & Startups. In October, in honor of International Day of the Girl Child, we created an afternoon of learning for Laurel’s Primary and Middle School girls led by 21 female role models. These role models were Laurel alumnae, parents and friends of Laurel who currently work in various areas of finance or who are entrepreneurs. The day was designed to educate girls about financial matters and starting their own businesses. In the evening, girls in Grades 7-12 and their parents were invited to see three Upper School girls moderate a panel of female Laurel community members and financial experts who answered the girls' questions about entrepreneurship, spending, saving and investments. View Sun Press coverage of the event here.
Goal 3: Dynamic, engaged faculty and staff
  • Faculty & Staff Presentations
    • In October, Laurel hosted the National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS) Education Girls Symposium. Head of School Ann V. Klotz was the moderator for an interview with Dr. Beverly Tatum, author and President Emerita of Spellman College; and Executive Director of Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls Dr. Lisa Damour was the keynote speaker at the symposium.
      • Many Laurel faculty members presented at the symposium, including:
        • Lauren Calig who presented “Mirrors and Windows: Civility Conversations-Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice for Our Youngest Learners.”
        • Brian Carpenter and Mimi Thompson '17, Laurel alum and current Case Western Reserve University student, co-presented “Perspectives Project: Computing for the Social Good”
        • Rich Kawolics and Julia Lynn ‘19 presented “A New Model for Student Research--How Six Teenaged Girls and a Middle-Aged Teacher Unraveled Decades of Gender Bias in Interscholastic Speech and Debate”
        • Bill Rice, in partnership with faculty from Beaumont School and Hathaway Brown School, as well as with a student representative from each school presented “Many Voices: It Happens Here, Too. Education and Action to End Human Trafficking.”
        • Dr. Matthew Kennedy presented “Increasing Student Engagement in the Classroom through Mathematical Modeling.”
    • Dr. Kennedy also presented “Improving Student's Reasoning and Sense Making Skills in Mathematics” at the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics 68th Annual Conference in Akron and “Investigating Enzyme function Using a Biological Modeling Instruction Approach” and the STEMteachersCLE conference at Elyria High School.
    • Ray Rossman also presented at the STEMteachersCLE workshop hosted by Elyria High School in October. His session was called “A Modeling Approach to Energy - Building a Bridge from Physics into Chemistry”.
    • In early November, Taylor Kaar, Dr. Jessie Sun and Sarah Wilson presented about Dream. Dare. Do. (D3) courses at the ISACS National Conference. The presentation was called "Leveraging Resources and Research for Purpose-Driven Programs."
    • Also in November, Dan McGee presented a webinar for the Association of Technology Leaders at Independent Schools (ATLIS) on "Enlisting Parents as Allies for Change."
  • Primary School Faculty Video. In order to showcase the outstanding Primary School faculty members, we created a video to communicate what about Laurel inspires the teachers who work with the youngest girls at Laurel. Click here to watch the video.

Learning Environment [Master Plan for Lyman, Master Plan for Butler, Optimize Space]

  • A key plot of land adjacent to the Butler Campus was purchased, adding 11.95 acres in a critical location allowing better easements for future development.
  • Faculty design sessions with architects are being held to develop a framework for optimal learning spaces in the planning for new spaces.

Sustainability [Capital Campaign, Data-Driven, Alternative Revenue]

  • The parent directory was launched online this year, providing an eco-friendly and real-time accurate resource for parents.


Girls and Learning [LCRG, Curriculum, Faculty and Staff]

Goal 1: Laurel's Center for Research on Girls
  • Late Starts Added to the 2018-19 Academic Calendar, K-12. Research shows that teenagers need more sleep than they are getting and student surveys of sleep patterns indicate that Laurel students would benefit from more sleep. As children grow their sleep patterns shift and teenagers tend to stay up later and sleep later in the morning. While the rest of society operates on an earlier schedule, we plan to pilot two late-start days for Kindergarten-Grade 12 during the 2018-19 school year. The faculty will benefit from using the time for before-school meetings. These two late-start days will take place on Thursday, November 8 and Thursday, April 11.
Goal 2: Innovative, comprehensive, progressive curriculum
  • Adventure Girls Highlighted in Quartz at Work. In May a reporter from Quartz at Work, a global business news organization owned by The Atlantic, visited Laurel's Butler Campus to observe students in Grades Three through Seven who are part of the Adventure Girls program as they participated in their long-awaited overnight, representing the culmination of a year of adventures together. The program aims to create stress-inducing situations and equip young girls with the tools to get through them. Girls get started young so that they’ll be prepared to handle the pressures of high school, college, and life beyond. Adventure Girl leaders Shannon Lukz and Chuck Allen are both highlighted in the story, as is Dr. Lisa Damour, Executive Director of Laurel's Center for Research on Girls, who highlights the research initiative Laurel has embarked on in the last eight years to examine the relationship girls have with stress and how to build resilience. The program works hard to get parents and teachers on the same page to work toward the same goal—fostering language and behaviors that teach these girls how to handle adversity. Click here to read the full story.
Goal 3: Dynamic, engaged faculty and staff
  • Faculty Presentations at National Conferences. Over the last quarter several members of Laurel’s faculty presented at national conferences. In June, Rich Kawolics presented Speaking Like a Girl: The Role of Gender in Argumentation and Analytical Speech at the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Conference. Also in June, Ann V. Klotz, Bella Patel, Shannon Lukz and Chuck Allen all presented at the National Coalition of Girls Schools Conference in Washington, D.C. Ms. Klotz presented Aligning Vision and Reality: The Campus Master Plan alongside two architects and Harpeth Hall School’s Director of Advancement; Mrs. Patel presented on Laurel’s signature Primary School program Gators Go Global; and Mrs. Lukz and Mr. Allen presented Adventure Girls: Creating Resilient Leaders Who Are Physically and Emotionally Fit, Fearless and Fun! Closer to home in Northeast Ohio, Licia Kovach presented during a workshop at the CSU STEM Education Conference: Communicating Design Work through Engineering Drawings and Dr. Matthew Kennedy presented at the International Twitter Math Camp Conference held at St. Ignatius High School. Dr. Kennedy’s presentation was titled: Using vertical non-permanent surfaces in the mathematics classroom to promote student engagement, discourse, and debate.
  • Faculty Summer Grants. Ten Hazel P. Hostetler 1911 grants (engaging 15 Laurel faculty members) were given to complete new and innovative curricular work over the summer in an array of diverse topics. In the Sciences, faculty developed curricular programming for Physics First, computer science, cross-curricular space exploration and interdisciplinary mathematics modeling. In the Humanities, curricular work focused on social justice, the natural world in history, how literature reflects cultural transitions, and how authors write of the way individuals are incarcerated in our society. Finally, an interdisciplinary team in the Middle School will work with students on Genius Hour projects, providing a way for students to focus emerging passions.
  • 2017-2018 Faculty awards. At the end of the 2017-18 school year, the annual faculty awards were given as follows:
    • The Virginia Beidler Neff ’29 Award: Edward and Virginia Beidler Neff ’29 established this award to recognize teachers within their first three years of teaching at Laurel who demonstrate excellence and potential in the classroom. Awarded to:
      • Laura Marabito, Primary School, First Grade
      • Kate Webb, Middle School Social Studies
    • The Mary French Conway ’46 Endowment for Teaching Excellence:The Conway ’46 Award is to recognize excellence in teaching, both in the classroom and in a demonstration of commitment to the School through participation in non-classroom activities with students. Awarded to:
      • Leighann DeLorenzo, Upper School Drama and Speech, Director of Theater Productions
      • Kim Green, Primary School, Third Grade
    • Class of 1964 Innovative Teaching Award: The new Innovative Teaching Award, funded by the Class of 1964 in honor of its 50th Reunion, recognizes teachers who utilize innovation and creativity in the classroom. Awarded to:
      • Emily Felderman, Primary School Visual Arts
      • Shannon Lukz, Primary School, Fourth Grade, Director of North Star Collaborative
    • The Hostetler Chair:The first endowed chair established at a girls’ school in the country and made possible by a transformative gift from Hazel Prior Hostetler 1911, the Hostetler Chair recognizes master teachers who generally have taught for at least ten years and who have demonstrated excellence in teaching in the classroom as well as an unusual ability to communicate with students. Awarded to:
      • Renee Psiakis, Upper School Visual Art
  • Recruitment and Staffing. During the 2017-18 school year, Laurel engaged in national searches to fill open positions for the 2018-19 school year. We are excited to announce our new faculty and staff members for the 2018-19 school year. They come to us from across the United States as well as from Northeast Ohio. Click here to read their bios.
  • Plain Dealer 2018 Top Workplaces. In June, Laurel was once again named to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Top Workplaces (150-499 employees category).

Learning Environment [Master Plan for Lyman, Master Plan for Butler, Optimize Space]

Summer Work on Lyman Campus. The summer is full of opportunity to make important maintenance and updates to campus facilities. Following are some of the projects completed from June-August:

  • The Collaboratory for Design Thinking features new hallway carpeting, new furnishings and equipment, plus the installation of a large whiteboard wall, and the nearby restroom was upgraded.
  • Thanks to generous donations from the parents of the Class of 2018, the Crile Library was refreshed with paint and new carpeting. Bookshelves and furnishings have been rearranged to open up and highlight the beautiful two-story space and to optimize the space for student collaboration.
  • We renovated our guest restroom at the Primary School entrance.
  • We refreshed the Multipurpose Room kitchenette.
  • New carpet and paint near the Dance Studio will make a more inviting space for little feet.
  • The Wood Shop on the lower level of the Main Building, used for the STEAM Guitar Class, is now larger, and a new hard-piped dust collection system has been installed to improve shop safety.
  • New concrete steps near the back parking lot will ease travel going to and from the back fields.
  • New playground resurfacing is underway.

Sustainability [Capital Campaign, Data-Driven, Alternative Revenue]

  • Campaign Feasibility Study. After a thorough RFP process, Gonser Gerber LLP, a national consulting firm based in the Chicago area, was selected as counsel for a feasibility study, to evaluate the priorities, funding sources and timing for a capital campaign.
  • Online Student Directory. Aligned with our commitment to environmental sustainability, Laurel families now have access to a dynamic, always up-to-date resource for staying in touch with other Laurel families. The 2018-19 school year will be the first year a family directory will not be printed; instead families will access Laurel student contact information via their computer or mobile device.


Girls and Learning [LCRG, Curriculum, Faculty and Staff]

Goal 1: Laurel's Center for Research on Girls
  • Additional Professional Development on growth mindset. On Monday, April 2 all Middle and Upper School Faculty met for the second phase of our growth mindset professional development sequence for a self-study. Faculty then partnered with a colleague to plan for and schedule a peer observation with a focus on growth mindset aspects of their classroom culture and formative feedback practices.
  • Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls Speaker Series. On May 14 we presented “Speaking Truth to Power: A Conversation With Jodi Kantor”. Ms. Kantor specializes in long-form, deeply reported stories. In 2017, she and Megan Twohey broke the story of Harvey Weinstein's decades of alleged abuse towards women. Their reporting set off a worldwide reckoning that encouraged victims to speak, brought to account men who wielded power in a wide range of fields, and shifted attitudes and policies around the globe. This reporting just earned Ms. Kantor and Ms. Twohey, along with Ronan Farrow of the The New Yorker, a Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award. Ms. Kantor spent time with Laurel’s Upper School girls and then with Laurel parents, alumnae, trustees, faculty and staff during an evening presentation.
  • Speech & Debate Article Published. Congratulations to Julia Lynn '19 and Speech & Debate Director Rich Kawolics, co-authors of the recently published "Competing Standards: A Critical Look at Gender and Success in Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking." Julia conducted research on gender perceptions and impacts in argumentation and persuasive speaking as part of her Capstone Experience work. Additionally, 12 Laurel students contributed to her research. Read the full article in this month's issue of The Rostrum, the Journal of Speech and Debate.
Goal 2: Innovative, comprehensive, progressive curriculum
  • Grade 4 Power. Purpose. Passion. In May, the Fourth Grade Class ventured to the Butler Campus for a two-week, full-day immersion program. The main focus of this curriculum is to explore science, math and stewardship and to continue to build resilience and practice strategies in response to challenging situations. Based on ten years of research from LCRG, we know that to cultivate strong and resilient girls, they must play, think creatively, tinker, foster good relationships and develop a growth mindset. Real world STEM/STEAM activities draw girls to the STEM fields as adults and create rich, engaging, and enduring learning. The activities and adventures of the two weeks provided opportunities for girls to work through challenging problems and stressful situations with the support of adult mentors and their supportive peers. Girls learned skills and gained confidence by using tools appropriate to the various tasks and included challenge-by-choice activities including the high- and low-elements of the ropes course, navigating the Butler Campus, and facing new situations. Concluding with a demonstration for parents, this program will launch girls into Middle School, secure in the knowledge that each one is a capable scientist, mathematician, leader and problem solver.
  • Curricular Braid, K-8.Curriculum planning for Grades K-8 is complete. Each Grade has will incorporate specific strands of the braid--civic engagement, global studies, entrepreneurship and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics). Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, the following list shows each grade’s focus:
    • Kindergarten: Global Studies and STEAM
      • Girls will focus on STEAM through collaboration with the Sixth Grade during their Tinkering Week, a design-thinking challenge and the Kindergarten study of Kenya.
    • First Grade: Civic Engagement and Global Studies
      • The theme highlighting families and neighborhoods will engage girls in an exploration of concepts related to civic engagement.
    • Second Grade: Civic Engagement and Global Studies
      • The extensive study of Native Americans including research on tribes across the continental US and a week-long experiential adventure at the Butler Campus will help students develop new perspectives on the lives of the first inhabitants.
    • Third Grade: Entrepreneurship and STEAM
      • Exploration of the Shakers and their inventions will introduce girls to STEAM disciplines as they recreate numerous innovations.
    • Fourth Grade: Civic Engagement and STEAM
      • Expanding a two-week pilot, a month-long learning experience at the Butler Campus will engage girls in scientific field research, application of mathematical knowledge for service and construction projects creating a junior version of Ninja Warrior elements.
    • Fifth Grade: Civic Engagement and Entrepreneurship
      • Looking west to the city of Cleveland and its innovative and sustainable businesses and looking east to the Butler Campus, Fifth Graders apply what they learn from site visits to design their own businesses, incorporating basic economics and city planning.
    • Sixth Grade: Global Studies and STEAM
      • Connecting patterns of exploration and colonization discussed in social studies, Sixth Graders will consider the issues related to travel to Mars and what might be required for settlement on that planet.
    • Seventh Grade: Global Studies and STEAM
      • With the insight provided by a paleontologist, girls will gain a sense of purpose for the Archaeological Dig site. An environmentalist will provide opportunities for students to learn to read the landscape and demonstrate appreciation through writing and drawing.
    • Eighth Grade: Civic Engagement and Entrepreneurship
      • Anticipating the adoption of Physics First in the Upper School, the science curriculum will focus on chemistry and environmental studies. Following established curricula on environmental science and drawing on concepts the history of the United States, students will explore the intersection of both in an experiential learning adventure at the Butler Campus.
Goal 3: Dynamic, engaged faculty and staff
  • Faculty Presentations. Trey Wilson, Director of Strategic Partnerships, and Bella Patel, Associate Director of the Primary School and Director of Global Programming, presented Developing Purpose: Laurel School’s Capstone Experience at the Global Education Benchmark Group Annual Conference in April. Also in April, Dan McGee, Director of Technology and Library Services, and Sarah McKeown, Instructional Designer, presented Our Technology Plan: A Journey and a Destination at the Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

Learning Environment [Master Plan for Lyman, Master Plan for Butler, Optimize Space]

  • While we continue work on the Lyman and Butler Master Plans, project plans for summer work are underway for various areas of the school.

Sustainability [Capital Campaign, Data-Driven, Alternative Revenue]

  • External Vendor for Check Payments. Under the guidance of Laurel’s Procurement to Payment Partnership (PPP), the Business Office reviewed several third party vendors to handle Laurel’s accounts payable check processing. The shift to offsite check processing streamlines human resources within the Business Office as well as saves money on paper check processing, mailing fulfillment and postage.
  • BOT Presentation to Faculty and Staff. Carey Jaros ‘96, Chair of the Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee, presented about the financial health of the school to faculty and staff.


Girls and Learning [LCRG, Curriculum, Faculty and Staff]

Goal 1: Laurel's Center for Research on Girls
  • LCRG on-demand courses launched via One Schoolhouse. LCRG’s biennial symposium attracted hundreds of educators and advocates for girls to Lyman Circle every other fall for a weekend of professional development. Laurel is excited to announce that the symposium officially has a new iteration. Laurel has teamed up with One Schoolhouse--a partner in innovation to independent schools that creates online courses for students and adult learners--in order to bring the LCRG Symposium to educators globally, on demand. The new model allows educators to participate in LCRG professional development from wherever they are, and on their own time. There are six LCRG courses currently available for purchase via One Schoolhouse--Girls in STEM: Tinkering; Self-Care: Body Image; Purpose & Resilience; Girls’ Relationships; Self-Advocacy & Consent; and Stereotype Threat. (Also noted in Strategy III: Sustainability.)
Goal 2: Innovative, comprehensive, progressive curriculum
  • Science and Math Peer Reviews. Faculty are actively working to redesign the sequence of courses in Middle and Upper School science. Additionally, we are responding to the recommendations offered in both the science and mathematics peer review final reports.
  • Grades K-8 curriculum committee work. This committee continues to meet to develop braid-themed curriculum using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to design innovative thematic curriculum around global studies, civic engagement, entrepreneurship and STEAM.
  • Student Investment Committee. As a result of the first meeting of the Head’s Council on Financial Literacy, an Upper School student-led Investment Committee has been funded by former trustee, Lauren Rich Fine. Maggie Hilkert, a Junior in the Entrepreneurship cohort of the Capstone Experience, proposed the idea of this committee and will begin to recruit student participants in February. Kristine Bryan ‘80, an alumna and member of Laurel’s Board of Trustees, will advise the group.
  • LaureLive 2018 Upper School course. This year’s LaureLive 2018 semester course, led by The Elevation Group, began in January and was reformatted as a Dream. Dare. Do. (D3) offering--allowing more time and focus for this year’s event-production class. Twenty-three Upper School students are participating in this year’s class and are eagerly anticipating helping to execute the event itself.
Goal 3: Dynamic, engaged faculty and staff
  • Laurel Faculty Conference Presentations. In early February, Ann V. Klotz spoke on a panel at an event titled “The Girls’ School Advantage--An Evening of Expertise in Girls’ Education”. The event took place in Atlanta, GA and was hosted by the National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS) and the Atlanta Girls’ School. Sarah Wilson, Director of the Upper School and of Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls, was in Anaheim, CA in early December to present at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC). Her presentation was titled “Approaches to Building a Skills-based Equity & Inclusion Curriculum.”
  • Faculty/Staff Professional Development. In January Kathryn H. Purcell, Laurel’s Associate Head of School, attended the Academic Leaders Retreat for Independent School Educators in Austin, Texas. The conference was put on by The Independent Curriculum Group and One Schoolhouse and focused on the topics of managing and leading change and on the art and practice of personalized learning. Six faculty members had the opportunity to attend the Greg Bramford workshop presented by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) in February. The workshop was called “Real-World Learning in Independent Schools” and shared principles of effective real-world learning that can be applied to participants’ specific contexts, with a focus on program development, schedule, calendar and assessment. Also in February, Laurel’s Division Directors and Coordinators of Equity & Inclusion attended the ISACS Academy for Division Heads which included a featured session called “American Promise: Identity and Diversity in the 21st Century.”
  • Faculty Recruiting Software. Laurel began using an applicant-tracking system in early 2018. The system allows hiring managers the ability to source and screen candidates more quickly. It is integrated with and, giving us access to select niche and diverse job boards otherwise untapped. The software has a centralized location for resumes and syncs with our employee onboarding and payroll software which makes the hiring process more efficient for Laurel’s HR personnel, as well as demonstrates Laurel’s commitment to technology to our candidates and new hires.

Learning Environment [Master Plan for Lyman, Master Plan for Butler, Optimize Space]

  • Master plans for both Lyman and Butler Campuses. The master plans for both campuses have been completed and and presented to the Board of Trustees. Priority setting is now in process.

Sustainability [Capital Campaign, Data-Driven, Alternative Revenue]

  • LCRG on-demand courses launched via One Schoolhouse. LCRG’s biennial symposium attracted hundreds of educators and advocates for girls to Lyman Circle every other fall for a weekend of professional development. Laurel is excited to announce that the symposium officially has a new iteration. Laurel has teamed up with One Schoolhouse--a partner in innovation to independent schools that creates online courses for students and adult learners--in order to bring the LCRG Symposium to educators globally, on demand. The new model allows educators to participate in LCRG professional development from wherever they are, and on their own time. There are six LCRG courses currently available for purchase via One Schoolhouse--Girls in STEM: Tinkering; Self-Care: Body Image; Purpose & Resilience; Girls’ Relationships; Self-Advocacy & Consent; and Stereotype Threat. (Also noted in Strategy I: Girls & Learning.)
  • Board of Trustees retreat to prepare for Capital Campaign. On January 20, members of Laurel’s Board of Trustees and the Development Team gathered for a retreat to prepare for the upcoming Capital Campaign. A faculty member from The Fund Raising School at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy led the discussion on best practices for preparing for a Campaign.
  • Feasibility study in progress. Laurel has requested RFPs from several national consulting firms.
  • Procurement to Payment Partnership (PPP) initiative established. A sub-committee of the School’s Leadership Team has been appointed to the PPP. The group reviews Laurel’s procurement to payment process to see how we can streamline the process to be more efficient, save money and introduce better internal controls. The PPP initiative has three major objectives: Re-design Laurel’s procurement to payment process; establish a procurement function; and establish the Laurel Procurement Council (LPC).
  • Laurel Named a Fair Trade School. As part of a national initiative by Fair Trade Campaigns to engage K – Grade 12 students in issues of global poverty, we are proud to announce Laurel’s official designation as a Fair Trade School. Fair Trade is an economic system that ensures consumers the products they buy were grown, harvested, crafted and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment. Fair Trade Campaigns officially recognizes schools in the U.S. committed to educating students about the issues of Fair Trade and sourcing Fair Trade products like coffee, tea and bananas in the cafeteria, offices and at events. Started by Margaret O’Neill '19, Laurel Fair Trade hopes to educate the Laurel Community about the various social injustices many underdeveloped countries face on a daily basis. Helping to learn and support Fair Trade will shine a light on the need for a safer, more just work environment leading to a more sustainable way of life. We hope to use funds that we earn towards investing in organizations and or individuals who aspire to better themselves and the world. Laurel is the 31st Fair Trade School in the U.S., and the 7th in the state of Ohio to earn this designation.


Girls and Learning [LCRG, Curriculum, Faculty and Staff]

Goal 1: Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls
  • Upper School Student-led Conferences. In November, the Upper School completed their first round of student-led conferences with parents and advisors. Research from LCRG shows us that student-led conferences benefit students by encouraging girl to reflect on their study habits, on their learning in individual courses and more holistically. As she prepares for and leads her conference, a girl leverages two significant learning skills: metacognition and transference. To prepare for conferences, during meetings with their advisors, girls analyze their teacher comments to better understand how their progress in a given subject relates to their overall progress and success as a learner. Girls recognize patterns and habits in their learning, transferring what makes them successful in one area to other areas. And, of course, the student-led advisory conference is another place in which a Laurel girl can claim her voice and speak authentically and authoritatively about her experience; self-advocacy is a critical competence for young women.
  • Middle School Professional Development. Last year, a new study was published that used data from LCRG’s 21st Century Athenas research. The study is called: “Having It All? A qualitative examination of affluent adolescent girls’ perceptions of stress and their quests for success.” The results of this study and an action plan for Upper School parents were shared during the parent college meetings in the spring of 2017. This fall, LCRG professional development for Middle School faculty focusing on this study and its application at Laurel occurred since expectations for girls and parents often solidify in the Middle School years. The Upper School faculty will also receive additional professional development on this topic during the 2017-18 school year.
Goal 2: Innovative, comprehensive, progressive curriculum
  • Standardized Test Prep Enhancements for Upper School. In order to further our girls’ competitive advantage in the college admissions process, new formalized standardized test prep programming has been implemented through the Eleventh Grade Lifeskills/College Guidance classes. This 13-session program was born out of a partnership with The Whole Kid in order to meet each individual’s students specific needs. Each girl will practice standardized test prep strategies for both the ACT and SAT, and will receive feedback on her performance after practice tests.
  • Upper School Dream. Dare. Do. (D3) Periods Deployed. Upper School students have now enjoyed seven Dream. Dare. Do. (D3) days, which offer a full afternoon for students to explore interests and pursue emerging passions. Some Upper School girls are using this time to complete Protégé Internships, lead service initiatives with a growing list of local partner organizations, design projects for the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair through our STEM Research program, and work on Capstone research projects while others are engaged in teacher-led experiences. This programming has fulfilled its aim--to allow students more time to engage their passions through blocks of time that do not conflict with other commitments--in keeping with LCRG research that demonstrates the power of purpose in multiple measures of students' well-being. Additionally, students have optimized the time to create meaningful leadership opportunities and student-designed initiatives. For example, one of next semester's offerings will be working on a student-run political publication designed to offer a variety of perspectives and engender open dialogue about current issues. The students currently participating in the Upper School at Butler challenge curriculum will be offering leadership training to other D3 groups as they have honed their own leadership and challenge-course skills over the past three months.
  • Middle School Dream. Dare. Do. (D3) Periods Deployed. On D3 days In Middle School, girls also engage in interdisciplinary, experiential, and community-based learning aligned with the school’s curricular philosophy. Each grade level team designs experiences that expand on questions that cross disciplinary boundaries and deepen understanding of topics previously introduced, provide service to the community, or explore topics of interest to girls based on research from LCRG. Thus far, Middle School girls have done group work on a t-shirt project where they covered topics of pricing, distribution/sales and marketing; enjoyed immersion experiences like The Amazing Race and the Greek Olympics; have taken numerous field trips including ones to the Cleveland Metropark Zoo to monitor elephant behavior, to the Cleveland Public Library to learn to use microfiche for research, and to the Lake Metroparks for an ecology-based team-building experience. Finally, the Eighth Graders have spent time on self-directed learning through the iProject--an individually designed exploration of a topic inspired by reading a memoir.
  • STEAM Inspiration Day. In conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl, we created an afternoon of learning for Laurel’s Primary and Middle School girls led by 25 female role models. These role models were Laurel alumnae and parents who currently work in various areas of STEAM. The day was designed to empower our girls and to spark their interest in STEAM fields. The afternoon was a great success and was featured in an article in the Chagrin Valley Times.
  • Gators Go Global. Primary students K-4 “traveled” to Ghana during a special immersion day in November. Areas of exploration included family life, folklore, cooking, Kente cloth, games, climate, mapping, drumming and dancing. Our special guest was a Ghanaian chief who is also a Laurel Grandfather—he taught girls about some of the cultural aspects of life in Ghana as well as philosophical approaches to and reflected on teaching and learning there. This introduction to Ghana and its culture is of particular interest to us because in December we will be participating in an initiative to send bikes to the country, changing the lives of girls by providing access to education.
  • Head’s Council. The first meeting of the 2017-18 Head’s Council took place on November 11. The goal of the 2017-18 Head’s Council is to discover the best ways to integrate financial literacy into our curriculum to strengthen our girls’ knowledge, skills and interest in finance, the economy, investing and entrepreneurship. This Council, comprised of alumnae, parents, faculty and staff, will meet in January and April and will present their recommendations to the Head of School for review in summer 2018.
Goal 3: Dynamic, engaged faculty and staff
  • Laurel Faculty Conference Presentations. Upper School science teacher Brian Carpenter taught a three-week-long course in Modeling Instruction through Ohio State University. He also presented at a Modeling Instruction workshop in Toledo, Ohio on “Confronting and Overcoming Skepticism to Modeling Instruction”. Upper School science teacher Taylor Kaar had an article published in Physics Teacher and then presented at the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) conference. His presentation was called “Vocabulary and Experiences to Teach a Center of Mass Model”. Primary School teacher Mindy Byrnes and Middle School teacher Carrie Ruhrkraut presented “Planning an Effective Outdoor Immersion Week” at the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) conference in Chicago in November. Head of School, Ann V. Klotz, now directs the Women’s Leadership for The Heads Network, a weekend retreat designed to inspire women administrators to consider Headship. The fall seminar, with a national faculty, was hosted by Choate.
  • Faculty/Staff Professional Development. Four teachers attended the Henry Ford Museum's Introduction to Design Thinking workshop and one attended the Museum’s Advanced Design Thinking Collaborative. Three science faculty members took the three-week-long Modeling Instruction course at Ohio State University taught by fell Laurel colleague Brian Carpenter. Faculty members also attended the ISACS annual conference titled “Blazing a Trail to Learning”. Dr. Lisa Damour led a professional development session for all faculty called “Teachable Moments or Missed Opportunities: Shaping Ordinary Classroom Interactions to Build Growth Mindsets”. Rosetta Lee from Seattle Girls School came to Laurel for a daylong professional development workshop in cross-cultural competence for the entire faculty and staff.

Learning Environment [Master Plan for Lyman, Master Plan for Butler, Optimize Space]
  • Butler Campus Master Plan Update. The Butler Campus master planning process with partner Bialosky Cleveland began on August 15. The Master Planning Steering Committee has been engaged with Bialosky throughout the fall and in October, a group of Laurel faculty members, staff, students, parents, alumnae and trustees gathered with Bialosky Cleveland for a design charette to think about future facilities for the Butler Campus.

Sustainability [Capital Campaign, Data-Driven, Alternative Revenue]
  • Strategic Road Map Round Tables. In preparation for Laurel’s upcoming Capital Campaign, we kicked off a series of meetings that will occur across the U.S., and in Cleveland, over the next several months. The first Round Table took place in Chicago and included Chicago-area alumnae to talk with Laurel’s Head of School about the Strategic Roadmap and priorities for Laurel’s future.
  • LaureLive 2018. The Board of Trustees voted to move forward with year three of LaureLive: Music with a Mission, Cleveland’s only family-friendly, multi-day, multi-stage contemporary music festival. The 2018 festival will take place at Laurel’s Butler Campus on June 9-10, 2018.


Girls and Learning [LCRG, Curriculum, Faculty and Staff]

Goal 1: Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls
  • LCRG Leadership Reorganization. Dr. Lisa Damour is now Executive Director of Laurel's Center for Research on Girls (LCRG) with Dr. Tori Cordiano as the Director of LCRG Research. Sarah Wilson has been named Director of LCRG. While the Director of LCRG is a school-wide position, several important initiatives that we will prioritize this year are Upper School-specific:
    • Resilience Curriculum--The Upper School Lifeskills curriculum has been revised and will be delivered through advisory, Lifeskills and guidance courses. This will allow all Upper School students to cultivate the five components of resilience--creativity, growth mindset, purpose, self-care and relationships--as well as to learn how to combat stereotype threat.
    • Speech & Debate Original Research--In September, under the leadership of LCRG and Rich Kawolics, Laurel’s Director of Speech & Debate, we will launch a research study on how girls are heard in argumentative and persuasive speaking. The study will look at Laurel’s data as well as national event data. The work will take place over 2-3 years and we will communicate findings along the way.
    • Upper School Faculty Professional Development--Last year, a new study was published that used data from LCRG’s 21st Century Athenas research. The study is called: “Having It All? A qualitative examination of affluent adolescent girls’ perceptions of stress and their quests for success.” The results of this study, with an action plan for Upper School parents, were disseminated in the spring of 2017. LCRG faculty professional development during the 2017-18 school year will focus on this study and its application at Laurel.
  • Audit of LCRG Research in Existing Curriculum. A complete audit of where LCRG units currently exist in Laurel’s academic programming K-12 has been completed. The findings will be used by LCRG Leadership as they evaluate and implement LCRG findings to ensure that LCRG is central to each girl’s experience at Laurel.
  • LCRG resources are now exclusive to the Laurel parent community. Until recently, LCRG research, data and monographs were accessible to anyone. Now that LCRG is a nationally-recognized resource for independent schools and is a differentiator for Laurel in the competitive Northeast Ohio independent school marketplace, we have made the decision to no longer provide the resources free to the public. We will continue to invite the greater population to the LCRG Community Forums, but the online resources found at will now be password protected. Parents may access them using their Laurel credentials and alumnae wishing to access the resources may contact the Alumnae Relations office for access.
  • LCRG Symposium Evolution. LCRG’s biennial symposium attracted hundreds of educators and advocates for girls to Lyman Circle every other fall for a weekend of professional development. Laurel is excited to announce that the symposium has a new iteration. Now, through a partnership with One Schoolhouse, educators from around the globe can access classes and resources taught by LCRG leadership, Laurel’s Head of School, Ann V. Klotz and Associate Head of School, Kathryn Purcell at any time. It’s our hope that the fees we earn from this endeavor will start a small revenue stream for the school.
Goal 2: Innovative, comprehensive, progressive curriculum
  • Updating Advisory Program. In an effort to update our Middle and Upper School Advisory program and to better align its objectives with LCRG, we are working with independent school consultant Gene Gardino, MSW, a former independent school faculty member and administrator, with more than 20 years experience in girls’ schools. In collaboration with Grade Level Leaders and Class Deans, we are examining the vital role of Advisory in Middle and Upper School. Gene will offer training for faculty that allows them to better implement what we learned from the LCRG study 21st Century Athenas in terms of adult relationships and their correlation to girls’ success.
  • Science Peer Review Results. In early May, Stacy Klein-Gardner (Harpeth Hall, Vanderbilt University), Barbara Fischel (Hockaday School) and Lisa Palmieri (Holy Family Academy, Ellis School) spent two days at Laurel observing science and engineering classes and facilities and meeting with students, faculty and staff. Their subsequent peer review report allowed the Laurel academic community to consider our science programming from an outside perspective. During a June retreat, science faculty and members of the academic leadership team created and assigned action items for the 2017-18 school year in the categories of spaces at Lyman Campus, opportunities and challenges associated with the Butler Campus and the proposed curricular sequence changes in the Upper School. An additional line of discussion revolved around the science department's identity in a STEM/STEAM school.
  • Mathematics Peer Review. Similar to the science peer review, Laurel will engage in a mathematics peer review to begin work in October.
  • Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC). As a member of the MTC, our Associate Head of School, Kathryn Purcell and Director of Studies, Hope Murphy attended MTC’s Site Director retreat in early August at Phillips Academy Andover. They are now working with Laurel’s Leadership Team to determine next steps as we encourage mastery and individualized learning.
  • The Curricular Braid. The Directors of Study are reviewing the current curricular programming K - 12 to identify where the themes of civic engagement, global studies, entrepreneurship and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) exist and where they need to be introduced or broadened. A goal is to be able to articulate to current and prospective families how these curricular themes are woven through the curriculum.
  • LaureLive 2017. Experiential, hands-on learning came to life last semester when 35 Upper School students took part in Protege Internships, Senior Projects and volunteer work for Laurel’s second LaureLive: Music with a Mission. Over 15,000 visitors came to Laurel’s Butler Campus during the two-day music festival on June 10-11. Laurel garnered significant positive media attention around the student involvement and educational components of the music festival--including stories featured on Fox 19 News, The News-Herald & Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Chagrin Valley Times, and more.
Goal 3: Dynamic, engaged faculty and staff
  • Recruitment and Staffing. During the 2016-17 school year, Laurel engaged in national searches to fill open positions for the 2017-18 school year. We also became a founding member of Northeast Ohio Diversity in Education and took part in a recruitment fair to be held annually with the goal of attracting faculty members as diverse as our student body. We are excited to announce our new faculty and staff members for the 2017-18 school year. They come to us from across the United States as well as from Northeast Ohio. Click here to read their bios.
  • Faculty Summer Grants. Ten Hazel P. Hostetler ‘11 grants (engaging 15 Laurel faculty members) were given to complete innovative work over the summer. Their projects covered many areas, including enhancing curricular programming around STEAM, civic engagement, global studies, Facing History and Ourselves, Design Thinking, Early Childhood Education, adventure learning and our new Dream. Dare. Do. Periods (D3).
  • Plain Dealer 2017 Top Workplaces. In June, Laurel was named to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Top Workplaces (150-499 employees category). Additionally, Head of School, Ann V. Klotz, was featured in an article about leadership in the paper’s Top Workplaces Sunday section.

Learning Environment [Master Plan for Lyman, Master Plan for Butler, Optimize Space]
  • Butler Campus Master Plan Update. The Butler Campus master planning process with partner Bialosky Cleveland began on August 15.
  • Lyman Campus Summer Projects. Many updates took place at the Lyman Campus over the summer months, including:
    • Front hall and vestibule updates, including a manifestation of our Strategic Roadmap title “Illustrious Past. Innovative Future.”
    • New bleachers in the Tippit Gymnasium have been installed and will make their official debut at the All-School Convocation on August 29
    • Construction on the new Collaboratory is complete and will welcome students on the first day of the 2017-18 school year
    • New Business and Human Resource Offices in the north wing
    • Updates to Lake Library, including paint and carpeting
    • Primary and Middle School each have new music rooms

Sustainability [Capital Campaign, Data-Driven, Alternative Revenue]
  • A second section of Early Learners is full for the 2017-18 school year, creating an even more robust feeder for Laurel’s Preschool.
  • We partnered with a strategic service firm over the last quarter to gather data about demographics in Northeast Ohio to help inform our Admissions recruitment goals.
  • Our annual parent satisfaction survey was revamped to be more Laurel- and division- specific, with the goal of obtaining more relevant feedback. The survey was issued in June and parent participation was comparable to the last two years. The results are in and will be analyzed during the fall.
  • The High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) was completed by Upper School girls in the spring. The results are forthcoming.


Girls and Learning [LCRG, Curriculum, Faculty and Staff]

  • The new academic schedule will launch with the ‘17-’18 school year. A consultant from Independent School Management analyzed a great deal of data we submitted, examined our school day, and tapped the best research on student learning and well-being to develop developmentally-appropriate, division-specific schedules.

    The new schedule includes a seven-day cycle, with a letter assigned to each day (A through G). Most courses will meet five times within the seven-day cycle, with four of the meetings 55-60 minutes in length and the other meeting 75-80 minutes. This will mean fewer subjects to prepare for each night, fewer transitions from one learning opportunity to the next and shorter lunch periods.

    This will allow for:
    • Teachers and students to dive more deeply into material, engage in regular reflection and align better with Laurel’s Center for Research on Girls (LCRG) data about learning.
    • Courses to meet at different times throughout the seven-day rotation to accommodate each student’s optimal learning time.
    • Increased community time schoolwide.
    • Grades 5-12 to have more meaningful advisory times, tutoring sessions, club meetings and the delivery of a revised Life Skills curriculum--including self-defense, elements of public speaking, sex education, existing college guidance curricula, guest speakers, financial literacy, media literacy, units guided by LCRG, and more!
    • Creation of Dream. Dare. Do. Periods (D3) that will occur roughly once per rotation to provide time for girls to pursue exciting opportunities, which may range from Adventures at Butler for Middle Schoolers, to Protégé Internships for older girls, to class activities, to meetings for Capstone students, to the ability for any student to pursue a passion.

These innovations to Laurel's daily schedule will better align with LCRG research and the needs of our community as we:

  • Established a task force to design and implement Laurel’s new curricular program braid. This braid consists of the themes of civic engagement, STEAM, entrepreneurship and global studies to be woven consistently throughout academic programming in Grades K-12. 

  • Peer review in science, technology and engineering--three experts currently looking at Laurel’s sequence and delivery of these important areas.

  • Laurel is one of the first members of the Mastery Transcript Consortium--a group of 100 impressive schools thinking in collaboration about how to better measure and report what matters for college admissions and future success.

  • Professional development initiatives being implemented through the lens of our Strategic Roadmap goals.

Learning Environment [Master Plan for Lyman, Master Plan for Butler, Optimize Space]

  • The Lyman Campus facilities master plan has been updated by Street Dixon Rick Architects and is under review by the Board of Trustees and other key stakeholders.
  • The Butler Campus master plan vendor was selected after an extensive RFP process. Bialosky Cleveland will begin work later this summer.
  • Other construction updates and projects will continue--the Upper School Learning Commons construction is complete and we are underway with new bleachers in the Tippit Gymnasium.

Sustainability [Capital Campaign, Data-Driven, Alternative Revenue]

  • A new zero-based budgeting process was implemented for the coming year.
  • The Innovation Fund was established to help fund many of our Strategic Roadmap initiatives; over $100K has been raised to date.
  • The school’s data collection processes are being reviewed and refined in order to use information more strategically.

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

Laurel's Mission Statement:

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


Pre-Primary & Primary School
Open House

Saturday, January 12, 2019
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Lyman Campus

More information


"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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