Equity & Inclusion
At Laurel School, inspiring each girl to fulfill her promise and to better the world requires that we respect and honor the whole-self of each member of our community. We are committed to being a diverse school community that is enriched by the wide variety of experiences and perspectives of all constituencies — students, faculty, parents/guardians and staff.
An all girls’ school, K-12, with a coed Pre-Primary, Laurel School is proud to be an inclusive and equitable school community that welcomes students without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, handicap or disability or sexual orientation. Additionally, we actively seek faculty and staff without regard to these identifiers or gender.
Equity and Inclusion 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. We are Laurel. And we are a community. And our mission says it all: to inspire each member of our community to fulfill their promise and to better the world.
Common Ground is a community conversation. Laurel girls share mealtime conversations about topics that they feel are important and critical for discussion. United by a common question, all Common Ground conversations have the same goal: to create spaces where meaningful connections are made and purposeful actions begin. Our hope at Laurel is to have students who do not think alike or agree on a subject, participate in Common Ground so that the discussions will enable us to look at many different perspectives. Conversations are meant to be a dialogue, not a debate. In dialogue, mutual understanding is the goal. We strive to understand each other, even across different points of view.
Diversity Fellows are rising Juniors or Seniors who are selected through an application and interview process. These students are committed to diversity work and are trained on facilitating and leading discussions and programming. As a Diversity Fellow, students are given opportunities to develop leadership skills and to make a difference in their community. The Fellows plan and coordinate the Onee Bergfeld Diversity Chapel. This annual assembly gives the Fellows a platform to share and reflect on their experiences with their peers and invite their community to participate in diversity-centered activities. Other responsibilities include the planning of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The day consists of presentations from community leaders and current Laurel students followed by service projects. Students attend the annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference (in the 2017-18 school year, it was held in Nashville, Tennessee).
Linked@Laurel Affinity Group for Students of Color
Now in its fifth year, Linked@Laurel, an affinity group that promotes cultural awareness for students 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 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.
Multicultural Curriculum K-12
At Laurel School, inspiring each girl to fulfill her promise and to better the world requires that we respect and honor the whole-self of each member of our community. We are committed to being a diverse school community that is enriched by the wide variety of experiences and perspectives of all constituencies—students, faculty, parents/guardians and staff. Laurel School’s commitment to a multicultural curriculum is present in every aspect of the School’s life. In Laurel’s classrooms, multicultural teaching incorporates the histories, texts, values, beliefs, and perspectives of people from different cultural backgrounds. By understanding in Kindergarten that the world is global and includes all people, girls learn from the beginning of their time at Laurel School to respect and embrace multiculturalism.
American Sign Language (ASL) Club
The ASL Club strives to learn about this language and increase its vocabulary in order to reach one’s individual goal for the year. In ASL club, members learn from an online class that helps with manual pronunciations of words and builds a strong vocabulary in this language. Club members value practicing with other members as to be immersed in ASL and work on reading what other people are saying. The combination of live practice and the website makes it easier for club members to learn and increase effectivity.This is a club for both people who are interested in starting ASL (beginners) or someone who already knows ASL (intermediate) but wants more practice or wants to be more advanced. This club will be at a comfortable pace or a pace self set.
Asian Culture Society
This club educates students about Asian culture and introduce people to different customs, foods, and activities native to Asia. During meetings, the club tries different types of Asian cuisine, watch foreign movies and TV shows, and learn about Asian culture in different Asian countries.
Black Student Union (BSU)
BSU is a club that promotes discussion and dialogue between ALL students at Laurel. We hope to create a safe space for all Persons of Color (POC) and to discuss nationwide current events, historical events, and any contemporary issues within our school regarding the black community. The club aims to meet 6-8 times per year.
Facing History and Ourselves
The Facing History and Ourselves club is a student organization that is a liaison between Laurel and the larger Facing History and Ourselves organization. The mission of FHAO is to think critically about the past to better understand the present and strive for a better future. At our meetings, club members discuss current and past events and the connections between them as well as think of ways to make the world a better place. Additionally the club hosts and attends FHAO events around the Cleveland area, and work to make FHAO a more visible organization in the Middle and Upper School.
The Feminist Society is an inclusive club where students can discuss issues related to gender with their peers, without fear of judgement. The club meets regularly, and discusses topics related to equality across the gender spectrum. This club aims to broaden people’s beliefs as to what it means to be a feminist, and create a welcoming, productive environment for Laurel students to express their beliefs.
Girl Up Club
Girl Up is a pre-existing organization paired with the United Nations that is dedicated to empowering young females across the globe, while simultaneously providing fundraising for young female refugees without an access to education. The organization has set specific expectations and activities to complete throughout the year in individual clubs. Hundreds of Girl Up clubs are stationed across the country. Laurel’s mission correlates perfectly with Girl Up's goals, to educate and empower young females.
Gay Straight Alliance (GSA)
GSA is a club that is dedicated to raising awareness about LGBT+ issues. The club is a resource to help support LGBT+ members of the Laurel community and help educate the Upper School as a whole.
International Club is for Middle School girls who are interested in global cultures, ideas and lifestyles. In addition, it is a place where girls can share their international experiences or their family's experiences. They learn about what life is like looking through a lens other than their own.
International Food Club
International Food Club explores the cuisine of various cultures around the globe. Featured cuisines are chosen via lottery at the beginning of the school year and the club members learn about the culture of the chosen culture and cook popular dishes from said culture. Materials for the club activities are purchased via a fundraiser. At the end of the school year the club members organize a presentation to share various international foods.
Israeli Culture Club
Israeli Culture Club works to educate students on Israeli culture, current events happening in Israel, and the diversity of culture within Israel. The club welcomes people of all religions, backgrounds, or Middle-East conflict opinions, and values any ideas brought to discussion. The club educates about these ideas by doing fun activities, eating delicious food, and more. The club hopes to spread its love of Israel by engaging Laurel peers.
Laurel Political Review
Laurel’s official domestic, foreign, and social justice magazine, designed to allow Laurel students to express opinions about key political and social issues that they often don’t have time to talk about in depth. Members can express concern about America’s healthcare, criticize or applaud an aspect of US foreign policy, delve into major social divides, or provide summaries of current events. During meetings the club discusses an array of current events, debate political and social divides and write pieces.
Lebanese Culture Club
This club educates others on Lebanese culture, and shares some Lebanese cuisine. Club members discuss the politics, religion, and lifestyle of the Lebanese culture in depth. Videos of popular music and dances performed at traditional Lebanese weddings and events are played. The club organizers plan to bring in a professional Lebanese dancer and have her/him teach some of the traditional dances performed at events.
Laurel School Learning Enhancement
Learn more about how Laurel supports girls with learning differences.
Diversity Center of Northeastern Ohio
A human relations organization dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry and racism through professional development and youth programs and outreach. www.diversitycenterneo.org/index.html
A civil rights/human relations organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defending democratic ideals and protecting civil rights for all. The organization provides programming and professional development opportunities for educators, business personnel and students. cleveland.adl.org
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Museum of Diversity and Tolerance
The mission of the Maltz Museum is to promote and understanding of Jewish history, religion and culture and build bridges of appreciation, tolerance and understanding with those of other religions, races, cultures and ethnic backgrounds, and to serve as an educational resource for Northeast Ohio’s Jewish and general communities. ?www.maltzmuseum.org
A project of the Southern Poverty Law Center with thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for difference in schools. www.tolerance.org
Laurel’s Collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves is an international organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of identity and history in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. In 2014, Laurel became one of over 40 institutions, and the only Cleveland Counsel of Independent Schools (CCIS) school, that make up the Facing History Innovative Schools Network.